Seventeen identifiable pieces of ancient pottery—including a complete lamp and cooking pot, as well as fragments of cooking pots, storage jars, a jug and juglets—were recovered from the Galilee boat and from the surrounding area during the excavation. The pottery was not significantly water-worn, so we assume that the pieces were deposited near the places where they were found.

The pottery types recovered are all known from other Galilee excavation sites. Several of the more common types were made at Kefar Hananya, a Galilean pottery manufacturing center of the Roman period, located about 8 ½ miles northwest of the boat site.1

None of the pottery is necessarily related to the hull itself; hence it cannot be used to date the boat. To date the boat, only intrinsic evidence may be used: evidence such as the carbon-14 dates obtained for the wood, and the method of vessel construction. However, the pottery recovered during the excavation is significant for estimating when there was activity in the vicinity of the boat.

The pottery pieces found near the Galilee boat were the same types as pottery recovered in excavations at Capernaum and Migdal (also known as Magdala), two ancient settlements on the coast of the Sea of Galilee; at Meiron, in the Upper Galilee; and at Gamla, in the western Golan.

The pottery at Capernaum, Migdal and Meiron was dated by its association with datable coins and artifacts and by its location in a dated stratum of remains. By these means, six pottery assemblages from these sites, which were similar to the boat pottery, could be assigned to the period from late first century B.C. to about mid-first century A.D., with one Capernaum assemblage continuing a few decades later. A seventh, similar pottery collection, also from Capernaum, could be dated by three coins in its context to the middle decades of the first century A.D. until about the year 70. One of those coins was from 54 A.D. and two others were from 67–68 A.D.—the former minted at Sepphoris in the 14th year of Nero’s reign, and the others from the second year of the Jewish Revolt against Rome. The pottery found at Gamla was all in use before the city was taken by the Romans in 67 A.D., never to be resettled.

By comparing the pottery found near the Galilee boat with these well-dated assemblages from nearby sites, we may conclude that the boat pottery is typical of the period from the late first century B.C. to the decades following the mid-first century A.D., or until about the year 70 A.D. Moreover, later, common Galilean pottery types, first occurring in late first- and early second-century A.D. contexts, are notably absent. The ceramic evidence thus suggests a marked decline or cessation of activity in the vicinity of the boat in the late first century A.D., a conclusion consistent with the Roman victory in 67 A.D. that destroyed the boats of Migdal and left many of its people dead.