The number ten discovery was made near the Sea of Galilee in 1985-86 when two brothers discovered something remarkable in the mud. The find was the first of its kind and dated back to between 120 B.C. and 40 A.D. There in the mud was the remnants of a fishing boat some 30 feet in length. A recent drought had the water level well below its normal levels allowing the boat to be seen by man for the first time in 2,000 years.
The boat itself was in remarkable condition considering its age. The boat was 30 feet long and 8 feet wide. It could hold approximately 15 people and was constructed to be propelled by sail power, or by four oarsmen. Because of its age, size, and the location of its discovery some have called this the ‘Jesus Boat’. While there is no evidence which indicates this was in any way a boat used by Jesus, it certainly represents the type of boat used in the time of Jesus and the type of craft depicted numerous times in the bible.
While it is unconfirmed and all but impossible to verify, the brothers reported a double rainbow appeared in the sky over the Sea of Galilee at the time of the discovery. Many believed this was a sign from God somehow celebrating or confirming the discovery of the ancient boat. Regardless of the existence of a double rainbow, the discovery remains very significant for a number of reasons.
While the bible depicted a thriving fishing trade on the Sea of Galilee no ancient boats had ever been discovered. This of course lead minimalist to surmise the stories of the bible were inaccurate, or written at a later date and used incorrect data. The discovery of this boat was significant not only because it was the first boat found, but because it matched up so well with the boats depicted in the bible.
The age of the boat was determined by the type of construction used on the hull as well as seventeen pieces of pottery found in the boat. The pottery matched other pieces found at excavations in Israel making it possible to properly date them. The boat was also subjected to carbon 14 dating. The boat is now on exhibit it a specially constructed exhibit hall at Kibbutz Ginnosar.
In the next article in this series we will look at the number 9 most significant biblical archeological discovery. For centuries critics had pointed to this as a major error in the bible and a prime example of why the bible could not be considered a historical document. The critics were not only proved wrong, but were proved wrong with overwhelming evidence that the bible was indeed accurate.