In January 1986, two brothers, members of neighboring Kibbutz Ginosar, discovered the wreck of a 2,000 year old ancient fishing boat lying in the mud of the Sea of Galilee. The boat was discovered in an area several hundred meters ‘offshore’ that had become exposed when the lake receded after two years of severe drought.
While the boat has not (yet?) been connected with any specific person or event, the discovery of the wreck of a 2,000 year old fishing boat in the Sea of Galilee can’t help but conjure up associations, which have made it a popular destination for both Christian and Jewish visitors and led some to dub it the Jesus boat: Jesus spent considerable time with fishermen along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, among them Simon Peter, Andrew and the James and John the sons Zebedee. In the Gospel according to John (6:16-24), Jesus shocked some of his disciples, who traveling by boat to Capernaum, when he walked across the water towards them. Flavius Josephus tells of a ‘naval’ battle that took place on the Sea of Galilee between Jewish rebels and Roman legionnaires in 67 C.E. during the Great Revolt.
After initial inspection by archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority, a massive, round the clock salvage operation was launched to recover the boat before the waters of the lake rose and covered it again.
The boat’s recovery became a major conservation achievement as it was freed from the mud, while efforts were simultaneously made to preserve its wood, packed in fiberglass and polyurethane and floated free. After over a decade of conservation work the boat was put on public display.
Today the boat may be viewed at the Beit Yigal Alon Museum and Education Center, where a short film tells the story of its discovery, conservation and original construction.
The museum is accessible.
On Road 90 just south of Kfar Nachum junction