This summer Baylor seniors Amy Welch (University Scholar) and Xander Gardere (Art History) traveled with Dr. Nathan Elkins, Assistant Professor of Art History (Greek and Roman) to participate in the University of North Carolina-led excavations of a Late Roman period synagogue at Huqoq, Israel. Dr. Elkins is a staff member at the excavations, responsible for the identification and publication of the coin finds. Huqoq is located on a hill overlooking the west coast of the Sea of Galilee near Tiberias. The site is very close to Migdal, the hometown of Mary Magdalene, and Capernaum, which lay at the center of Jesus' ministry.
Last year excavations uncovered a mosaic depicting Samson and illustrating a scene from the Book of Judges in which the tails of foxes were tied together with torches. This season two more mosaics were uncovered; one depicts Samson with the city gate of Gaza over his shoulders and the other divided into registers with elders, warriors, and war animals, including a war elephant.
Amy worked in the square that discovered this year's second mosaic and she is pictured in a group photograph in the Huffington Post. Xander worked in the village area of the synagogue.
At the conclusions of the excavations, Amy and Xander visited historically and archaeologically important sites such as Petra, in the Kingdom of Jordan, and Masada and Jerusalem.