Images of rare biblical mosaics to be revealed in UK for the first time at University lecture.

Posted on 15th January 2018

Images of stunning mosaic panels, uncovered during excavations in Lower Galilee, in Israel, are to be shared for the first time in the UK during a lecture at the University of Chester.

Image from the Huqoq excavation project. Photo credit: Jim Haberman.
Image from the Huqoq excavation project. Photo credit: Jim Haberman.

The panels are part of the Huqoq Excavation Project - an astonishingly rare and hugely significant discovery of a late Roman/ Byzantine synagogue, which has attracted widespread international media attention. Archaeologist Dr Dennis Mizzi, from the University of Malta, will be unveiling photos of the panels, which depict an array of biblical scenes. Among those discovered so far are Noah's ark, and the parting of the Red Sea during the Israelite exodus from Egypt.

The excavations began in 2011 and continue to be surrounded in secrecy. Only a few of the mosaics have been described publicly and only a handful of photographs have been published. As one of the dig supervisors, Dr Dennis Mizzi has received special permission from Professor Jodi Magness from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (the dig director) to give this public lecture and reveal “extensive pictures of all the mosaics we have uncovered.” The images are being shared as a prelude to their presentation in Oxford in May 2018 by Professor Magness. Full details of the dig can be found at: http://huqoq.web.unc.edu/

Dr Mizzi is Senior Lecturer in Hebrew and Ancient Judaism at the University of Malta, and one of the Area Supervisors of the Huqoq Excavation Project. He teaches biblical Hebrew and Aramaic, Dead Sea Scrolls, and Judaism in the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods, with a focus on both texts and archaeology. His full profile can be found at: https://www.um.edu.mt/profile/dennismizzi

Organiser Dr Matthew Collins, who is Senior Lecturer in Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Chester, said: “It’s a genuine honour for the University of Chester to be able to unveil these images publicly for the first time in the UK. We are grateful to Dr Mizzi, and to Professor Magness, for being willing to share them with us and are very much looking forward to what promises to be a fascinating evening.”

The Bible in Stone: Mosaics in the Ancient Synagogue at Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee takes place on Wednesday, January 24, between 7.30pm and 10pm, in the Binks Building (Room CBK011), on the University’s Parkgate Road Campus, and will include a presentation, discussion, and wine reception. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.

Please note that it is a condition of the images being shown at the University that no photographs can be taken during the presentation.

Further information about the discoveries and their significance can be found here: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/07/mosaic-synagogue-huqoq-israel-magness-archaeology/