Jesus crosses the Sea of Galilee several times from feeding the 5,000 in Mark 6 to the 4,000 in Mark 8, and He finally sails to the district of Dalmanutha:

10And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha. ESV

In 2013 there were news reports of an archaeological find that may be linked to the location, mentioned in the Wikipedia article (though the NBC link there is dead):

Dalmanutha (δαλμανουθα) is the unknown destination of Jesus on the shores of the Sea of Gallilee after he fed the four thousand, as recorded in Mark's gospel, (Mark 8:10). It is sometimes believed to be in the vicinity of Magdala, the alleged home town of Mary Magdalene, since the parallel passage in Matthew's gospel, Matthew 15:39, refers instead to "Magadan", which has been taken to be a variant form of "Magdala".

Ken Dark has reported finding a possible location of Dalmanutha.1 That there was ever a town called Dalmanutha is disputed by biblical scholar Joel L. Watts. He maintains Dalmanutha is a cue to Mark's readers regarding the battle around Magdala during the Jewish Revolt.

Has study of the site since confirmed or refuted the link?

  • I watched a fun documentary that hypothesized that Jesus sailed across the Mediteranean, to Spain, to talk to the tribe of Gad, (Gadarenes), and visited their necropolis. Objections aside, perhaps Jesus' journeys were not exclusive to Israel. I believe it was originally SECRETS OF CHRISTIANITY (DECODING THE ANCIENTS), the Lost Voyage of Jesus ... youtube.com/watch?v=fUw4g_gPqJM Commented May 27, 2015 at 23:17
  • 1
    Relevant tangentially is Simon Gathercole's lecture on the geography of the gospels -- well worth watching. (According to Gathercole in 2016, Dalmanutha is one of the sites not known from extra-biblical sources.)
    – Dɑvïd
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 22:39

2 Answers 2


In the online report of the lectures by Ken Dark to which OP's links refer, there is a comment thread from some very learned participants. I take the liberty of quoting extracts from two of the key participants.

  1. Richard Bauckham (11th June 2013):

    The urban site currently being excavated between modern Migdal and the coast is part of the same city as the area excavated by the Franciscans just a little further south. It is first-century Magdala. So not, I’m afraid, Dalmanutha!

  2. Stefano De Luca, director of the Magdala Project (17th June 2013):

    You are right, Richard. I think too that we are dealing with the same urban center of Magdala/Tarichaea. There are no evidences and there is no reason to consider this north district as Dalmanoutha. The archaeological remains that Prof. Dark had detected, are coherent with the picture of an huge city exactly like Magdala was, according to the results of my excavations, of the nearby excavations...

I am not aware of Ken Dark's reply, although his article has been published as: "Archaeological Evidence for a Previously Unrecognised Roman Town near the Sea of Galilee", Palestine Exploration Quarterly 145/3 (2013), 185–202. The connection to Dalman[o]utha in it is made very tentatively.

  • 1
    Given what @JackDouglas noted about the parallel passage of Mt 15:39 referring to Magdala, it seems strange for these men to dogmatically affirm the site of/around Magdala cannot also be related to Dalmanoutha (whether a different name for the same place, a set of sister cities next to each other grown into one larger city, a neighborhood district within Magdala, possibly even a regional name, thought that seems unlikely, as the larger the area it intends to refer to, the more likely one would find the name attested to elsewhere in literature). Still, interesting info.
    – ScottS
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 18:27

The manuscripts of Mark vary between magdala mageda &c and dalmanoutha. Matthew's vary between Magadan &c, and Magdala &c. There is no agreement. The question should rather be "Is it possible to recover the original from the conflicting evidence?" There is no certainty, but there seems to be no reason why Matthew should have wanted to change what Mark wrote. If so, the two should be considered together. No places Mageda or Dalmanoutha are known. Magdala is mentioned in Talmud Bavli, e.g. Pes. 46a. Mageda can be explained as a corruption of it, dalman as an interchange of letters, the g being changed to n to give a possible last letter. Outha is a plural ending, giving Magdaloutha ("the twin towers"). This, suggested by Dalman, is a plausible original, outha being dropped to give Magdala as Mary of Magdala's town. I suggest, if this is so, that Mark is using a name of Tiberias (on the Sea of Galilee, named after the Roman emperor Tiberius) used by locals with no love of the Romans. Biblewalks.com/ sites/Tiberias (founded 18 AD) says "the gate ... was constructed at this time ... with twin round towers on both sides". The accompanying illustration shows them as a very dominating feature of the entrance.

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