Magadan (Dalmanuta)



The town of Magdala is not mentioned in the Bible, but Mary Magdalene is mentioned a total of 12 times in the four gospels. This place may have been her birthplace or her home. A few late manuscripts mention Magdala (Matthew 15:39 KJV), but earlier manuscripts read Magadan. Magdala is located about 4 miles north of Tiberias on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.

No one really knew the location of Mary’s authentic hometown until 2009 when a salvage dig conducted by the Israeli Antiquities Department struck pay dirt. Less than one foot under the topsoil, a first century AD synagogue was discovered, including a decorated stone block that archeologists say was probably used as a table for reading the Torah. The stone may even be a miniature of the Jerusalem Temple with its ornate columns and arches, a seven-branched menorah flanked by vessels for wine and oil, a 12-leaf rosette and chariots of fire.

A local coin found in a side room in the synagogue was dated to the year 29. Matthew says, “Jesus went all through Galilee, teaching in its synagogues, preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God and curing the sicknesses and the ailments of the people.” Wow – did Jesus preach in this very synagogue?

We know that Magdala, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, was a Galilean hub for the fish industry. Indeed, one of its most populous quarters was called Tarichae in Greek, meaning the place of the fish-salters. From here fish were exported to Judea and around the Mediterranean world.