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Unique Second Temple-era tools discovered at ancient synagogue


Trove of ancient bronze tools unearthed by Israeli archaeologists in Magdala, near one of Israel’s most ancient synagogues.

Ancient implements dating back to the Second Temple period has been discovered at Magdala, a 2,000-year-old Jewish town in the Galilee region.

The implements – a decorated bronze incense shovel, used for transferring embers from place to place, and a bronze jug – were recently uncovered in archaeological excavations in Magdala, on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel.

The Israel Antiquities Authority is leading archaeological excavations slated for the construction of a guesthouse at Magdala. The land is owned by Arke New Gate.

The site is located near the modern-day Israeli town of Migdal along the western shore of Sea of Galilee. Migdal (its Greek name is Taricheae, meaning “place where fish are salted” – possibly alluding to the main source of income of the city’s inhabitants 2,000 years ago) was a large Jewish settlement in the Early Roman period. It is mentioned in Jewish sources, and at the time of the destruction of the Second Temple it served as Josephus’ main military base in his war against the Romans in the Galilee.

The mahta is thought to have been a sacred implement like the rest of the items that were utilized in the Temple where it was mainly used for transferring embers from place to place. Incense shovels frequently appear in Jewish art as one of the religious articles associated with the Temple, and they have been


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