Talmudic period synagogue unearthed in northwestern Galilee
A splendid synagogue from the Talmudic period was unearthed recently during excavations at Khirbet Hukuk in the northwestern Galilee on the site where a Jewish community existed between the fourth and sixth centuries C.E.
A strikingly colorful mosaic depicting the biblical story of Samson, along with Hebrew texts, was revealed on the synagogue floor.
The spectacular finding was made under the guidance of Professor Jodi Magness of the University of North Carolina, with the help of Dr. David Amit and Shua Kisilevitz from the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The Jerusalem Talmud links the community of Hukuk to the rabbis of the Mishna and Gemara, and the synagogue there was first mentioned in Rabbi Ishtori Haparchi’s book “Kaftor Vaperah” (literally “Bulb and Flower”), written in 1322, which was the first Hebrew book on the geography of the Land of Israel.
Clues to the synagogue’s existence were also found during past digs at the archeological site itself. It was during this research that ornamental architectural artifacts, typical of the ostentatious synagogues built in the Galilee during the Talmudic period, were found.