Excavations using innovative technology are yielding an array of fascinating finds that have transformed the ruins of the southern Golan Heights synagogue of Umm el-Qanatir into a high-tech adventure into the past.
A magnificent Torah shrine has been found, along with menorah-carvings flanked by shofars, etrogs and incense pans, all prime Jewish symbols of the Talmudic period (the fourth to the seventh centuries). Beautifully finished stone walls, originally an estimated 36 feet high were lined with rows of fine windows.
Archaeologists use a laser to scan the ruins, which their software translates into precise three-dimensional computer images. Each stone is implanted with a microchip, so that everything about it, including its original placement becomes only a mouse-click away.
The excavators found remains of only a tiny community next to the synagogue. But they believe a monumental arched building (“Umm el-Qanatir means “mother of arches”) at the nearby spring, containing pools, channels and ground chalk, may reveal how they could have afforded this fine synagogue: they were probably processing linen – a prosperous business according to the Talmud.
Thanks to archaeology and reconstruction, the people of Umm el-Qanatir send regards to today’s visitors from their synagogue, homes and industry.
Read more about Umm el-Qanatir at www.yeshuat.com.