Jerusalem, Israel (VIAnews) – At the foot of the Sea of Galilee, 76 miles north of Jerusalem, is the Yigal Allon Center, also known as the Man in the Galilee Museum. It was named for one of the founders of the kibbutz (communal settlement) who was Minister of Education and Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister.

In January 1986, two brothers from the kibbutz, sons of a fisherman, happened to find nearby some nails and then some wood by their beach front. A drought had lowered the level of the lake, thus exposing the finds. This led to the discovery of a 7×26 foot long, oak and cedar boat which had been buried in the sediment of the seabed.

Archeologists were called in and became very excited but were nervous that if it were opened to the air, it would dry out. Covering it with polyurethane foam, channels were dug, and it was sailed on the Sea of Galilee to a special resting place where a crane pulled it out of the water and placed it on the shore. For 11 years, its conservation was monitored.

When the museum opened in 2000, it was placed in a room there.

"Jesus boat" at the Yigal Allon Center. Photo by: Barry A. Kaplan
“Jesus boat” at the Yigal Allon Center. Photo by: Barry A. Kaplan

Carbon 14 testing indicated it was 2000 years old, from the first-century BCE-CE. Apparently, the owners of the boat had left it in the water when they abandoned it, but with it were found an oil lamp, a cooking pot and an arrowhead of the Second Temple period—when Jesus was in the Galilee.
So to whom did the boat belong? Boats of this kind could hold up to 15 people and are referred to in the gospel of Mark in the New Testament, thus theories surmise it may have belonged to Jesus and his disciples and has been given the name, “the Jesus Boat.”

This location is the middle of the area where Jesus is known to have preached. Also nearby are: Magdala, home of Mary Magdalene; Tabgha, where the miracle of fishes and loaves took place; the Mount of Beatitudes, where the sermon on the mount was delivered; and Capernaum, said to be the hometown of Jesus and where he taught in the synagogue there on the Sabbath.

It is also possible the boat belonged to fighters of the Migdal battle of Jews against the Romans in 67 CE; or to a fisherman from the Sea of Galilee.

In addition to the boat, the museum houses several other exhibits: one is about the Galilee; one is about people of the Palmach (the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the underground army of the Jewish community during the period of the British Mandate for Palestine. The Palmach was established on 15 May 1941.) Another exhibit shows the Jewish community in the 1st to 4th centuries. Another is on Jewish settlements in the Galilee, and another depicts remembrances of Yigal Allon.

The Yigal Allon Center is part of Kibbutz Ginosar. Kibbutz Ginosar is located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel, north of Tiberias on Highway 90. It was founded in March 1937.