Incense Shovel Found on Kineret Shore

YERUSHALAYIM -
The stone with the menorah symbol which was discovered in the synagogue at Magdala. (Yael Yulowich, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)
The stone with the menorah symbol which was discovered in the synagogue at Magdala. (Yael Yulowich, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

A decorated bronze incense shovel and a bronze jug were recently uncovered in archaeological excavations in Magdala on the western shore of the Kinneret.

According to Dina Avshalom-Gorni, the chief archaeologist of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “The incense shovel that was found is one of 10 others [thought to be] from the period of Bayis Sheini.

“From early research in the world it was thought that the incense shovel was only used for religious purposes…Over the years, … incense shovels were discovered [that are thought to have been used] as tools for daily tasks.

“The incense shovel and jug found in our excavation were exposed lying next to each other on the floor in one of the rooms in the storehouse that is adjacent to the dock of a large Jewish settlement on the shore of the Kineret,” she said.

The incense shovel as it was found in the excavation. (Eyad Bisharat, Israel Antiquities Authority)
The incense shovel as it was found in the excavation. (Eyad Bisharat, Israel Antiquities Authority)

In recent years, the Antiquities Authority has been leading extensive excavations at the site, in partnership with the Anahuac University of Mexico, led by the Mexican Archaeologist Dr. Marcela Zapata-Meza.

The archaeological dig at Magdala, a Jewish settlement believed to date back to Bayis Sheini, uncovered mikvaos, streets, a marketplace, and industrial facilities, as well as a beis knesses whose walls were decorated with colored plaster and which had a mosaic floor.

In the middle of the beis knesses’s main hall a stone was uncovered, widely known as the Magdala Stone, depicting the Bayis Sheini itself, within a carved seven-branched menorah on one of its sides.