I've often wondered what would happen if a person from our ancient past were transported to the present and brought to visit our museums. Would this person laugh at what we venerate, cherished today but perhaps perfectly banal way back when? Maybe the objects were even dumped as imperfect junk, which is what ironically rescued them from further destructive wear and tear.
This is what I thought about while staring at the famous Galilee Boat, a unique, 1st-century AD vessel recovered from the thick sediment of the Sea of Galilee during a 1986 drought and then painstakingly and ingeniously preserved (over 11 years!) for posterity. Don't get me wrong: it is astounding to think that a waterborne wooden object survived for so long sheathed in earth. And it is amazing to look at something so recognizably functional from 2,000 years ago, when Jesus and Peter wandered the Galilee.
In fact, Christian religious groups frequently visit the boat in its current home – the Yigal Allon Centre in Ginosar, not far from Tiberias – and often refer to it as the Jesus Boat or Peter's Boat, on the off chance that long-ago celebrities might have used it during their wanderings. If nothing else, it is believed to resemble the type of boats referred to in the Gospels as used by Jesus' Disciples.
A short film and then exhibits in the display room chronicle the boat's discovery, exhumation, transfer and conservation, but the 26.9-foot (8.2-meter) boat is of course the star attraction.