The Avery Tsoi Kursi Beach Excavation team uncover a sensational find at the site where Jesus performed the miracle of the Gederene demoniac.
On the shores of the Sea of Galilee, at Kursi beach in the Land of the Gederenes, Jesus exorcised a man of a legion of demons over two thousand years ago.Today the Avery-Tsui Kursi Beach Excavation team uncovered a mysterious marble slab, on the floor, at the entrance to a small niche in what appears to be a Public Building. The slab was engraved with seven lines of Hebrew and Aramaic characters, including the words ‘marmaria’, (son/Mr of Mary) and ‘The Merciful’.
We cannot know if the inscription was referring to Jesus, but we do know that it is a highly unusual find for a few reasons:
- The marble slab, imported from Greece, must have been very expensive in antiquity.
- Each letter was carefully engraved NOT in the Latin or Greek style…but in Aramaic in Hebrew script!
- Most dedications or memorials were made in mosaic and then set into the floor. This floor slab was one large continuous piece of marble.
- To find this much Hebrew writing, carved in stone, is very unusual
The excavation was funded by the Avery-Tsui Foundation, and led by Dr. Haim Cohen and Prof. Michal Artzy of the Hatter Laboratory at the Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies at the University of Haifa, and joined by volunteers from all over the world. It was carried out under the auspices of the National Parks Authority and the Israel Antiquities Authority.
In addition to the inscription, the team re-discovered the ancient harbour and fish tank that had previously been identified by Mendel Nun of Kibbutz Ein Gev and Prof. Avnor Raban of the Recanati Institute. Since their discovery, the site remained hidden in thick reeds, brambles and undergrowth. Some exciting pottery finds have come to light, including a sherd of a small lamp bearing the image of a fish on either side as well as an image of a boat, typical of the period.