Specializing in the archaeology of Palestine/Ancient Israel and the surrounding areas in the Roman and Byzantine Periods, chronologically from about the time of Jesus up to the Muslim conquest of Palestine in the Seventh Century. Jodi Magness, Ph.D.
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Jodi Magness

University of North Carolina

Jodi Magness holds a senior endowed chair in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism (since 2002).

She is an archaeologist and the First Vice-President of the Archaeological Institute of America. She has published 10 books, including The Archaeology of the Holy Land, and dozens of articles.

Latest Book
Biblical Archaeology of the Holy Land

From 1992-2002, Professor Magness was Associate/Assistant Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology in the Departments of Classics and Art History at Tufts University, Medford, MA.

Professor Magness received her B.A. in Archaeology and History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1977), and her Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania (1989).

From 1990–92, Professor Magness was Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in Syro-Palestinian Archaeology at the Center for Old World Archaeology and Art at Brown University.

Professor Magness specializes in the archaeology of ancient Palestine (modern Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories) in the Roman, Byzantine, and early Islamic periods. Her research interests include Jerusalem, Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient synagogues, Masada, the Roman army in the East, and ancient pottery.

Click here for more than
30,000 references to Jodi Magness.

Elephants may not be in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), but they first appear in the Huqoq Synagogue unique mosaic floors.

Use the following controller for the audio interview using the most updated audio playback directly from JodiMagness.org.

If your browser does not support the updated audio controller above, click on the "Who's Talking" image to the left which will open a new window to take you to the WCHL interview podcast. (Afterwards, check to see that the Version of your browser is the most recent update.

 

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The Huqoq Excavation Project is committed to providing education and research opportunities to graduate students training to become the next generation of archaeologists. These students serve as assistant supervisors in the field and on-site specialists in processing the finds. The fieldwork experience is critical to their professional development as well as to the success of the project.

Grant funding for archaeological projects is extremely limited and generally supports only field work and conservation. Due to the shrinking resources of public universities, it is a struggle to find funds to subsidize the travel expenses of our graduate students who live on tight budgets. With your help, we seek to raise funds to cover the cost of airfare for 3 graduate students. Any monies raised beyond $5,000 will be used to cover the cost of airfare for additional graduate students.

The Huqoq Excavation Project is the archaeological excavation of an ancient village and synagogue in Galilee, Israel. During the past 4 summers, we have discovered intriguing floor mosaics in the synagogue. The results of each season bring us closer to understanding the importance of the site's location and history. The continued success of our project depends upon graduate student participation.

The Huqoq Excavation Project is committed to providing education and research opportunities to graduate students training to become the next generation of archaeologists. These students serve as assistant supervisors in the field and on-site specialists in processing the finds. The fieldwork experience is critical to their professional development as well as to the success of the project.

Grant funding for archaeological projects is extremely limited and generally supports only field work and conservation. Due to the shrinking resources of public universities, it is a struggle to find funds to subsidize the travel expenses of our graduate students who live on tight budgets. With your help, we seek to raise funds to cover the cost of airfare for 3 graduate students. Any monies raised beyond $5,000 will be used to cover the cost of airfare for additional graduate students.

Huqoq is far from Jodi's early interest in archaeology. Her passion for it began at the age of 12, when she decided to become an archaeologist. She began her formal training in archaeology as an undergraduate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and earned a Ph.D. in classical archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania. Jodi has participated on over 20 excavations in Israel and Greece.

Since 2011 she has directed the Huqoq Excavation Project. Jodi knows first-hand the importance of fieldwork to the development of graduate students in archaeology and is committed to providing opportunities for training and research to the next generation of archaeologists. Learn more about the Huqoq Excavation Project by visiting huqoq.org.

 

news

The large number of academic and general interest articles authored by and about Jodi Magness comprise more news in volume and frequency than this website can post. The "30,000 references" link is a start.

The table below lists news articles with special reference to currently active projects

Many archaeologists wait their entire career for one big find. UNC-Chapel Hill's Jodi Magness? Well, let's just say that she's having a spectacular time making discovery after discovery. (FROM WUNC.org)

In 2011, Magness took a team to Israel to identify a dig location. They hoped to find an ancient synagogue. "We didn't actually know that there was a synagogue of this type before we started digging," Magness said. It was a big site and it was overgrown.

"And really by luck we came down right on the eastern wall of the synagogue in that very first sounding that we made." The 5th century synagogue is located in Huqoq, an ancient Jewish village in Israel's Lower Galilee.

Biblical Archaeological Review - Huqoq 2014: Update from the Field
Jodi Magness and Karen Britt   •  07/14/2014 From Biblical Archaeology Society:
Bringing the Ancient World to Life

Jodi Magness and Karen Britt • 07/14/2014 - The Huqoq Excavation Project is excavating a fifth-century C.E. synagogue at Huqoq, an ancient village in Israel's Lower Eastern Galilee located three miles west of Magdala (home of Mary Magdalene) and Capernaum (where Jesus taught in the synagogue). Below, excavation director Jodi Magness and mosaics specialist Karen Britt discuss a new mosaic discovered during the 2014 excavation season.

Mystery Mosaic Discovered in Ancient Galilee Synagogue

Researchers... believe that they have uncovered the first ancient synagogue mosaic to feature a non-biblical narrative.

In 2012, the team, led by Jodi Magness, Kenan distinguished professor for teaching excellence in early Judaism at Chapel Hill, excavated a mosaic at the 5th-century synagogue at Huqoq, in Israel's Lower Galilee, which represented Samson tying torches to foxes' tails, per Judges 15:4. Last year, the scholars found a second mosaic, which depicted Samson shouldering Gaza's gate (per Judges 16:3) (Article: Jewish Daily Forward)

UNC PRESS RELEASE                                              UNC WEBSITE ARTICLE

UNC Press release; click to visit webpageUNC Website report, click to visit webpage

Did the Story Of Noah's Ark Actually Happen?

INSIDE EDITION spoke with Archaeologist Jodi Magness about the possibility of Noah's Ark actually existing.

Inside Edition - Jodi Magness

wncn-tv Jodi Magness

"Archaeologist Jodi Magness and 3D IMAX Movie, 'Jerusalem'"

Jodi Magness interview by WNCNBROADCAST TV INTERVIEW
Archaeologist and UNC Religion Professor, Dr. Jodi Magness, discusses her recent finds and the 3D IMAX Movie, Jerusalem, now playing at Marbles Kids Museum.

Herald Sun
"Chapel Hill's Harrison Ford and Indiana Jones"

Chapel Hill's Harrison Ford and Indiana Jones - Jodi MagnessWhen she was a little girl, Jodi Magness did not dream of growing up to be a movie star. From the time she was in the seventh grade, she says she dreamed of being an archaeologist.

 

Whos talking
"Who's Talking"

Jodi Magness interviewed about her archaeological excavations in Greece and Israel, especially findings at Huqoq, including discovery of stunning mosaics on an ancient synagogue's floor and her important role in the unique National Geographic IMAX film about Jerusalem.
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TO PLAY INTERVIEW

Be certain the volume control to the right of the "speaker" icon in the control bar is moved to the right to turn up the volume.

IF AN AUDIO PLAYER CONTROL BAR DOES NOT APPEAR ABOVE THIS LINE OF TEXT, CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE CURRENT VERSION OF FIREFOX, WHICH PLAYS THIS INTERVIEW FLAWLESSLY.

 "MORE THAN MOSAICS"

Endeavors - University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill - UNC

Samson Mosaic - HuqoqUNC archaeologist Jodi Magness takes on a long-held theory about how Jews and early Christians coexisted.

THE LEDE FROM THE UNC WEBSITE HOMEPAGE OCTOBER 5, 2013

On location photo by Jim Haberman

"JERUSALEM" IMAX
FROM NBC NEWS

"Why Jerusalem still hangs onto ancient archaeological mysteries"

Alan Boyle, Science Editor, NBCNews.com/science
September 20, 2013

NBC News - Jodi Magness - Jerusalem IMAX

"It's a living city, and it's a city that's been inhabited continuously for thousands of years,"Jodi Magness told NBC News. Unless, God forbid, the city is ever completely abandoned, we'll never get a complete picture."
The Jerusalem Temple

"Magness is one of the scientific stars of a new movie titled "Jerusalem." The movie, (which opened the week of September 16), takes advantage of IMAX 3-D technology to produce an ultra-big-screen vision of the city, its history and its people."

 

"JERUSALEM" IMAX FROM GASTON GAZETTE, HALIFAX MEDIA:

Andrea Honaker, Lifestyles Reporter, Gaston Gazette, October 19, 2013 -
September 20, 2013


Gaston Gazette - Jodi Magness Jerusalem

New IMAX film offers unique perspectives on holy city

"Jerusalem is one of the most beloved and holy cities in the world... So, what exactly is it that draws people from all over to Jerusalem? A new film provides a unique perspective on the sacred city's past, present and future. "

The Jerusalem Temple"(The film) follows three young women of three different faiths who live in the city: Farah Ammouri, a Muslim; Nadia Tadros, a Christian; and Revital Zacharie, a Jew. Also featured in the film is archaeologist Dr. Jodi Magness, During a recent phone interview, The Gazette talked to Magness about the film and her involvement in it.

Magness' path to Jerusalem: The city has been a part of her life since she was a teen. At age 16, she moved to Jerusalem, where...

IN THE HUFFINGTON POST - SEPTEMBER 1, 2013
Jodi Magness - Huqoq Synagogue Mosaic - Elephant
"It has absolutely no parallels in any other synagogue at all," Magness told HuffPost.
"And there are no elephants
in the Hebrew Bible."

Ancient Samson Mosaic Uncovered In Israeli Synagogue; Beautiful Art Fascinates Scholars (See PHOTOS CLICK HERE)

Jodi Magness - Huqoq Synagogue Mosaic - ElephantAnother mosaic unearthed by the archaeologists is also fascinating, albeit because of its dearth of Biblical context. With its colorful elephants and humans, the artwork appears to be apocryphal (or unrelated to the Bible) -- an extremely unusual find in a religious building.

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ARCHAEOLOGICAL WORK
Huqoq is an ancient Jewish village near Migdal, the hometown of Mary Magdalene, and close to Capernaum, the center of Jesus' Galilean ministry. In June 2011, Dr. Magness began a new dig at Huqoq, which had never before been excavated.

Click the following links to see information about each season:

2011 Season 2012 Season 2013 Season

APPLY TO WORK ON THE0 2014 HUQOQ EXCAVATIONS...
AN EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME.
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Biblical Archaeology Review - BAR - Scholar's Update: New Mosaics from the Huqoq Synagogue

THE "DIG HUQOQ" PROJECT has great potential for shedding light on the world of Jesus, the beginnings of early Christianity, and the emergence of rabbinic Judaism. If you cannot become an "on-site digger", here's how to get into the excitement.

Huqoq Mosaic - Samson Carrying the Gate

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Click here for coverage of the Huqoq discoveries in the Jewish Press.

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Click here for coverage of the Huqoq discoveries in BiblicalArchaeology.org

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Huqoq News 2012 Season Reveals Spectacular Mosaics

Hebrew or Aramaic inscription in the Huqoq mosaic flanked by female faces

Here's an example of how the mosaic findings are intriguing people around the US and the world. This article includes an interview with Jodi Magness and raises a topic that most lay-people do not consider when the excitement and beauty of the mosaics seem to be an end in and of their own... and as Jodi Magness points out, the find raises even more work to be accomplished and support to be found.

Magness explained that, while it is very exciting, it also will change the way funds must be raised in order to retain scholarship opportunities for students and pay for her colleagues and herself.

“We now need to deal with conservation and preservation of the site, with the ultimate goal of opening the finds to the public either by moving them to a museum or making the site a national park. Either way, we are in need of much additional funding, and any assistance is appreciated.”

Huqoq News 2011 Season Reveals Synagogue

Jodi Magness uncovers the synagogue

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Educational Pleasure

Dr. Magness became a professor for the enjoyment of both teaching and learning. Students apply for her courses and dig volunteer opportunities for the same reasons. Sometimes, however, the pleasure one receives by learning from Dr. Magness is a great secret finally revealed:

On 2/2/2012 10:43 AM, John McGraw wrote: Dr. Magness, Just a brief note to tell you how much I'm enjoying your Teaching Company series.  I'm an orthopaedic surgeon from Knoxville, TN serving in Afghanistan. Between the occasional periods of chaos are long stretches of quiet...and watching your series. Your effort has been therapeutic for me here in a lonely and otherwise dark part of the world.  I hope to hear you lecture in person some day. John J. McGraw, M.D.  Colonel, US Army Reserve, Medical Corp

Click here for information about this Series by Dr. Magness.

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Go Back To "What Others Say Page"

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USA TODAY - JESUS JAMES OSSUARY - DR. JODI MAGNESS INTERVIEWNews of the World - March 19, 2012
To read this USA TODAY PRINT EDITION
in a larger/legible size, click here or on the image below:

USA Today - Jesus James Ossuary - Dr. Jodi Magness quoted