Magdala: The Rest of the Story

MagdalaPanoIn two previous posts I described and posted images of the beautiful chapel and the first century synagogue at Magdala.  Besides these two structures a number of others have been discovered including an “Elite House” (=mansion) that contains three(!) ritual baths, a mosaic floor, etc.


View looking east at a portion of the foundation walls of an elite residence that is located south of the synagogue. Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download.

In the center of the image is a doorway and below it to the left are hewn steps that lead down into a miqveh (ritual bath).  The thickness of the walls indicates that there was more than one story to the house.  There is a mosaic under the permanent covering—that is still covered for protection.   Because of the ritual baths found in the house, it seems that wealthy/religious Jews that lived there.


View of one of the three ritual baths that are part of an elite house that is located south of the synagogue at Magdala.

Hewn stairs lead down into the water.  The bath still contains water—actually a spring in the area still supplies the bath with water.

Between the synagogue and the mansion an extensive Market Area has been excavated.


View looking east at the market of Magdala.

In the shops, pottery, woven goods, and fresh produce were sold.  In several of the shops there were plastered pools designed to hold fresh fish.  These pools had access to fresh underground water.

In addition, what is being called a “port,” was excavated—although the remains are not too impressive.

Finally, to the northwest is a very large freshwater pool called En Nun.


View looking northwest at the large freshwater pool of En Nun.

This pool collects water from the springs that are located to the west of it.  It was apparently used for irrigation as far back as the Roman (= New Testament) Period.  It is possible that water was used in the fields north of Magdala.  Or, maybe it was used by another city that was located to the north of Magdala (Dalmanutha?? Mark 8:10).




2 responses to “Magdala: The Rest of the Story

  1. Thanks for the photo of En Nun, a pool I have not seen. Wondering if it just means the spring of fish, or could have been named in modern times after Mendel Nun who did so much exploration in the area?

    • According to “” the modern Hebrew name is because of the fish in the area. On the PEF Map, 1880, it is called ‘Ain el-Mudawwerah which means the Spring/Pool of the Round Shape (from amudanan). The sign at the site says that “the foundations of a circular pool are about 40 meters uphill, near the spring’s origin, and are associated with the Roman period”! [I was not able to locate the remnants of this pool]
      Jim Monson included the spring on his Regional Study Map 5 Galilee and Jezreel (v. 3) and has used the Arabic name “Mudawwara” because of the possible toponymic connection to “Dalmanutha” (private communication).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s