Ancient Stone Workshop Uncovered Near Site Where Jesus Turned Water Into Wine

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. John 2:1-2

Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. John 2: 6-7

Israeli archaeologists have uncovered a rare 2,000-year-old stone quarry and workshop located near the ancient Galilean town of Cana, which is recorded in the Christian Gospels as the place where Jesus turned water into wine.JNS

The quarry for producing chalkstone containers dating back to the Roman era is currently being excavated at Reina in Lower Galilee, by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). In this small cave archaeologists have uncovered thousands of chalkstone vessels such as mugs and bowls in varying stages of production.

The IAA director of the excavations, Dr Yonatan Adler, said: ‘In ancient times, most tableware, cooking pots and storage jars were made of pottery. In the first century of the Common Era, however, Jews throughout Judea and Galilee also used tableware and storage vessels made of soft, local chalkstone’.  ChristianToday

Archaeological excavations inside the ancient workshop at Reina in Lower Galilee. (Samuel Magal/IAA)

Cave – Quarry Workshop

What is rare, however, is to find a production center for such vessels. The four locations uncovered to date in Israel — two near Jerusalem, this one in Reina, and a fourth site found recently in its vicinity which is currently under excavation — highlight “the pivotal role of ritual purity observance not only in Jerusalem but in far-off Galilee as well,” said Adler.

The small cave in Reina was uncovered during the construction of a municipal sports center. So far archaeologists have unearthed thousands of pieces of chalkstone that were scooped out from the inside of cups and bowls as they were formed, and other types of production waste, including fragments of stone mugs and bowls in various stages of production, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority. TimesofIsrael

Stone vessels unearthed inside the ancient Galilee workshop. Images Source IAA

Stone Vessels Quarry Workshop

The quarry for producing chalkstone containers dating back to the Roman era is currently being excavated at Reina in Lower Galilee, by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). In this small cave archaeologists have uncovered thousands of chalkstone vessels such as mugs and bowls in varying stages of production.

The IAA director of the excavations, Dr Yonatan Adler, said: ‘In ancient times, most tableware, cooking pots and storage jars were made of pottery. In the first century of the Common Era, however, Jews throughout Judea and Galilee also used tableware and storage vessels made of soft, local chalkstone’.

The choice of chalkstone was apparently a religious one, centered on the idea of Jewish ritual purity. Adler said: ‘According to ancient Jewish ritual law, vessels made of pottery are easily made impure and must be broken. Stone, on the other hand, was thought to be a material which can never become ritually impure, and as a result ancient Jews began to produce some of their everyday tableware from stone.

‘Although chalkstone vessels are well known at many Jewish sites throughout the country, it is extremely unusual to uncover a site where such vessels where actually produced.’

He added: ‘Our excavations are highlighting the pivotal role of ritual purity observance not only in Jerusalem but in far-off Galilee as well’.

The use of stone vessels is noted across historical sources from the era, not least the Gospel of John. In the story of the wedding at Cana, where Christ famously turned water into wine, John writes: ‘Now there were six stone water jars set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing 20 or 20 gallons each’ (John 2:6).  ChristianToday

Video:  Excavations in Galilee Reveal a 2,000 Year-Old Stone Vessel Production Center