Mystery Mosaic Discovered in Ancient Galilee Synagogue

elephant mosaic Huqoq

Detail, elephant mosaic, from the Huqoq Exploration Project. Credit: Jim-Haberman/UNC

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Brigham Young University, Trinity University (Texas), University of Toronto, and University of Wyoming believe that they have uncovered the first ancient synagogue mosaic to feature a non-biblical narrative.

In 2012, the team, led by Jodi Magness, Kenan distinguished professor for teaching excellence in early Judaism at Chapel Hill, excavated a mosaic at the 5th-century synagogue at Huqoq, in Israel’s Lower Galilee, which represented Samson tying torches to foxes’ tails, per Judges 15:4. Last year, the scholars found a second mosaic, which depicted Samson shouldering Gaza’s gate (per Judges 16:3).

Read more of my article “Mystery Mosaic Discovered in Ancient Galilee Synagogue” in the Jewish Daily Forward.

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