Archeologists discover 2,000 year-old quarry and workshop in lower Galilee

Second significant find in two weeks time; Discovery gives insight to Jewish observance of purity laws; Discovery leads archeologists to believe that the vessels of the water Jesus turned to wine may have been produced in Israel

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Israeli archeologists have made another significant discovery this month, a 2,000 year-old chalkstone quarry and vessel workshop in the lower Galilee dating to the Roman Period.

The Israel Antiquities Authority confirmed the discovery on Thursday, the fourth workshop of this kind in Israel to be discovered.  Archeologists have been digging and researching the area in Reina after finding a similar workshop in the region. Two of the previously discovered quarries near Jerusalem.

The archeologists found thousands of fragments of stone mugs and chalkstone cores, leading them to the believe that Jews in the Galilee, not just near Jerusalem, observed purity laws, the discovery to allow researchers to understand how long Jews in the region observed such laws during the Roman period.

The discovery of the chalkstone quarry was made in a cave close to the ancient city of Cana where Jesus turned water into wine, leading archeologists to consider that the “large stone containers of the type mentioned in the wedding at Cana of Galilee story may have been produced locally in the Galilee.”

As explained by the director of the dig, Dr. Yonatan Adler, “The reason for this curious choice of material seems to have been religious. According to ancient Jewish ritual law, vessels made of pottery are easily made impure and must be broken. Stone, on the other hand, was thought to be a material that can never become ritually impure, and as a result, ancient Jews began to produce some of their everyday tableware from stone…. The finished products were marketed throughout the region here in Galilee, and our finds provide striking evidence that Jews here were scrupulous regarding the purity laws.”

Last week, archeologists in northern Israel reported to possibly have found the Roman city of Julias, the home of Peter, Andrew and Philip. The discovery was made at Beit Habek in the Bethsaida Valley Nature Reserve on the shores of the Sea of Galilee by a group of archeologists from the Institute of Galilean Archeology.

Julias was built on Bethsaida by the King Herod Phillipus, son of King Herod the Great. The city was named after Julias Augusta, the mother of Emperor Tiberius.