Perfume vials from Christ’s Era Unearthed in Israel.

anointing-the-feet-of-jesus1Archaeologists excavating in the biblical town of Magdala, on the Northwestern shores of Galilee, have unearthed vials of perfumed ointments.  The vials (known as Unguentarium) had been preserved intact at the bottom of a 1st century pool. The contents are been chemically analyzed and perhaps will give us an insight into 1st century perfumes, ointments and cosmetics.

News reports are linking the perfume vials with the New Testament story of the anointing of the feet of Jesus by a woman named as Mary (John 11:2, 12:3).


The name Mary is used 54 times in the New Testament and there are several different Mary’s mentioned; Mary, the mother of Jesus (19 times), Mary Magdalene (13 times), Mary, sister of Martha (11 times), Mary, mother of James (9 times), and Mary, mother of John Mark (1 time).


The anointing of the feet of Jesus as recorded in the gospels may be two accounts of the same event or two reports of separate events. But, what is clear is Mary Magdalene is not to be identified as the Mary in the gospel passages.


There is every possibility that Mary of Magdala may have had perfumed ointments. Perhaps even stored them in similar vials but that’s the extent of the connection to this remarkable discovery.


I have driven by the sparse remains of Magdala many times and just wondered when someone would launch more excavations at the site. I am thrilled that the Italians are at the site, on the job and on the ball (or on the vial).


Read more: 



Italians find Jesus’ foot salve



Photo – G. Caffulli –




Published in: on December 15, 2008 at 6:17 pm  Comments Off on Perfume vials from Christ’s Era Unearthed in Israel.  
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