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'Jesus Boat' presents a rare first century find

By Catholic Online
February 26th, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The "Jesus Boat," a recently-discovered fishing boat dating to the 1st century AD, was found a few miles north of Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee. An ancient boat was pulled from the mud along the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee in 1986, and gives modern man an idea of the sort of boat used during the time of Jesus.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The boat appeared due to a great drought during which the waters of the lake receded and was discovered by fishermen from Kibbutz Ginosar. The men reported that when they found the boat, a double rainbow appeared in the sky.

The subsequent archaeological dig was undertaken by members of the Kibbutz Ginosar, the Antiquities Authority, and many volunteers.

Pulling the vessel, which had been submerged in mud, was a delicate process, lasting 12 days and nights. The boat then had to be submerged in a chemical bath for 7 years before it could be displayed.

The boat has been dated to the 1st century AD based on pottery and nails found in association with the boat, radiocarbon dating, and hull construction techniques. Evidence of repeated repairs indicates the boat was used for several decades, perhaps nearly a century.

The Galilee Boat is apparently the type of boat that was used on the Sea of Galilee for both fishing and transportation across the lake. It is likely that this sort of boat was used by Jesus and his disciples, many of whom were fishermen. Boats played a large role in Jesus life and ministry, as they are mentioned no less than 50 times in the Gospels!

It's intriguing to consider that Jesus may have seen the boat sail by out on the Sea of Galilee, or even used it himself. But regardless of its history, the "Jesus boat" is a fascinating artifact that brings to life many of the Gospel accounts.

The boat is tastefully displayed in the Yigal Allon Museum on the grounds of Kibbutz Ginosar, one of several communal farms in Israel. Founded in 1937, the kibbutz is noted for its out-of-season fruit and vegetables.

The Galilee Boat is attractively displayed with informative signs in English. The boat is made of 12 different types of wood and measures 25.5 feet long, 7.5 feet wide, and 4.1 feet high. It would have had a crew of five (four rowers and a helmsman) and could carry about 15 additional persons. This seems like a lot for such a humble boat, but men were smaller 2,000 years ago, about 5'5" and 140 pounds.

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