As an archaeologist, I am often asked, “What is the best thing you’ve ever found?” Since 2011, when I began a new excavation project at the ancient Jewish village of Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee, that question has been easy to answer. Our excavations are bringing to light a monumental, Late Roman (fifth-century C.E.) synagogue building paved with stunning mosaics, including rare depictions of Samson and the first historical scene ever discovered decorating an ancient synagogue.a
These discoveries have complicated my life in unexpected ways, some of them good, and some not-so-good. On the good side: The mosaics are truly spectacular and exciting and have attracted much media attention and interest. On the not-so-good side: The excavations have become a much longer-term project than I originally planned, and the cost of uncovering and conserving the mosaics has far exceeded our original budget, so that I must scramble to find new sources of funding each season.