31 July 2018

A boat from the time of Jesus on display in a cultural center

In 1986 the remains of an ancient boat were discovered on the north-west coast of the Sea of Galilee. According to the carbon 14 test, it would be typical of the time of Jesus.

Archaeology, Culture, and other Religions

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Sea of Galilee: background of stories such as the sedated storm, the miraculous catch of fish and Jesus walking on the waters. There was always a boat there... a tool for the work of fishermen, of the disciples and a witness of the miracles of Jesus.
Surprisingly, a type of boat that we find in several pages of the Gospels was found almost two thousand years later! During a shoal in 1986, the remains of an ancient boat were discovered on the north-west coast of the Sea of Galilee. According to the carbon 14 test, it would be typical of the time of Jesus, and would date back to a period between 100 years BC and the following 100 years. For 10 days, archaeologists and scientists worked meticulously to extract the boat without damaging it, hoping that it wouldn’t rain, which would cause the sea level to rise.

The boat is about eight metres long, two metres wide and one metres deep. Its structure is made mostly of cedar wood and oak. It has been found covered with clay, which facilitate its preservation. Other findings contributed to identifying the period, such as a small oil lamp, a pot and arrowheads.


Yigal Allon Center

"This boat is extremely important for Christians because it was presumably the type of boat Jesus used in the Sea of Galilee. It is a major discovery, because its wood is two thousand years old. A total of 12 types of wood were used, and 12 is a symbolic number, because it represents the tribes of Israel or the number of Jesus' disciples. It is a recurring symbol in several moments in history.”

The boat went through a long preservation process until it was moved to a new exhibition hall in the Yigal Allon Centre. There, visitors can learn about the history of its discovery and watch a video with the witnesses of those who took part in the removal of the boat from where it was found.

Although apparently used for fishing, it may also have carried passengers and other goods. In addition to being a means of daily transport, at that time, the boat could be used to contemplate the beautiful landscape of the Sea of Tiberias and especially to contemplate the call of Jesus Christ: "I will make you fishers of men".