More stunning mosaic art at 5th-century Huqoq synagogue
Since 2012, the Huqoq Excavation Project team has been working on a fifth-century AD synagogue at Huqoq, a village in the Lower Eastern Galilee, Israel, barely three miles away from Magdala (Mary Magdalene means “Mary from Magdala”) and Capernaum (where Jesus performs an exorcism). Excavations have uncovered stunning mosaic floors at the synagogue. The mosaic panels portray a range of topics, some biblical and some not. There is, for example, a depiction of the exploits of the biblical hero Samson, which is, according to the excavation team, the first of its kind found in an ancient synagogue. Other mosaics feature male figures and animals, including elephants. There is no mention of elephants in the Hebrew Bible. Yet at the time, battle elephants were associated with Greek armies, especially after the conquests of Alexander the Great. Researchers conjecture that the elephants might allude to the legendary encounter between the Greek conqueror and the Jewish high priest, a tale preserved in the writings of Flavius Josephus. The most recent discovery in June 2014 depicts a moribund soldier and a bull. The excavation areas have been backfilled for the moment. Further archaeological work will continue again in summer 2015.
The Huqoq Excavation Project website: http://huqoqexcavationproject.org/
Article from Bible History Daily: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/digs-2014/huqoq-2014-update-from-the-field/print/