Just in time for Hannukah in 2015, news emerged of the remarkable discovery of carved block in Magdala, in northern Israel.
The block was discovered in 2009 during construction of a Christian pilgrimage resort. The controversial religious order the Legionnaries of Christ, who own the land and are planning the resort, unearthed the remains of a first-century synagogue and began formal excavations.
The site initially made news for its ties to the world of the New Testament, as it is presumed by most to be the hometown of Mary Magdalene, the follower of Jesus. Excavations revealed the dwelling places of fisherman and an ancient marketplace, and reports quickly billed the synagogue as a place in which Jesus might have preached. The fact that a coin discovered in a side room was minted in 29 AD—when Jesus was touring ancient Galilee—only added to the religious potential of the site.