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There was a drought in Israel in 1985. The drought, plus the pumping out of water for irrigation lowered the level of the Lake below that for centuries. The timbers of an old boat appeared, and it was excavated. The timbers had survived, sunk in the mud beneath the water for centuries. They were black and waterlogged, but still kept their shape. It is 8.2 meters long and 2.35 meters wide. Its planks butt against each other, as did boats from the Roman era. Mortise and tenon joints hold the planks of cedar and oak together nailed by wooden pegs. But how to raise it? The Israeli government archaeologist, Shelley Wachsmann, pondered.

He gathered a team of volunteers. The boat’s timber was in good shape. Its long immersion saturated it to the consistency of wet cardboard, so it was too soft to move. Yet if it were allowed to dry out its entire cellular structure would collapse. They sprayed polyurethane over the exposed inner portions of the vessel, and let this harden to the boat’s exact shape. Protected by an impromptu ‘dry dock’ of sandbags the volunteers then dug below the boat and fibreglassed it. More polyurethane created a strong, protective cocoon. It is now being restored at Kibbutz Nof Ginnosar.

Its style, and a cooking pot and a lamp found in it, point to an age of about 2,000 years. Radio carbon 14 test to the wood gave its date as 40BC to 40AD. Journalists named it the ‘Jesus boat’ or ‘Peter’s boat’. It came from their period but there is no way to prove any connection between it and Jesus and Peter.