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Resurrecting a Byzantine Synagogue at Um el-Kanatir


Megan Sauter
1-800-221-4644 ext. 242


WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 2, 2016)—When everything lies in ruins, what does it take to put it together again? Archaeology is destructive by nature. The excavation process involves systematically removing layers of dirt and debris in order to unearth material remains.

The site of Um el-Kanatir, located in the Golan Heights above the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, is different. Partners Chaim Ben David and Yeshu Dray have digitally mapped and then lifted up the heavy stones at the site in order to restore the Byzantine synagogue that was once there. Chaim Ben David describes this complex restoration process—called anastylosis—in “Um el-Kanatir: Putting Humpty Dumpty Back Together Again” in the July/August 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. The almost complete remains of the synagogue nestled into its picturesque setting are proving to be a high-tech puzzler’s dream.