By Lea Lofenfeld Winkler
& Ramit Frenkel
Reviewed by Pnina Moed-Kass
Gefen Publishing House 2007
Hard Cover 104 pgs. $24.95, NIS 96
The Old and New Testament references to seas range from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea to the Sea of Galilee. In 1986 two brothers, fishermen members of Kibbutz Ginossar on the shores of the Kinneret, made a discovery that caught the imagination of the entire world, archaeologists and laymen alike, anyone who had ever dreamed of discovering an object that would reveal life as it was in the ancient world.
Moshe and Yuval Lufan unearthed the timber frame of a 2000 year-old fishing boat, the very kind that might have been used by Jesus. Initially an accidental discovery, the brothers, who for years had collected coins and other archaeological objects, immediately understood the implications of the waterlogged wooden frame that slowly revealed itself. Due to years of drought the water level of the Kinneret was then unusually low and had receded dramatically from the shore. Many people were recruited to help uncover and salvage the important discovery, but this book charmingly relates what a homegrown effort it was, motivated by enthusiasm and commitment to what all involved saw as an almost patriotic project. All the stages of the fourteen years of conservation, preservation and investigation are dramatically told in this book. I could quibble with some of the overly emotional descriptions, the quasi-poetic narrative, but when I had finished reading the book and perused the explanatory accompanying photographs, I was impressed by the amount and depth of information painlessly dispensed. The authors detail everything from the trees used for the timbers, cooking utensils that were also found, and delving into the mystery of who built the boat. This is an easy, non-technical read, certainly a great gift and a terrific addition to anyone's bookshelf.