Welcome to my travel blog!

Hello.  I am traveling to Israel on January 4th, and will be in Israel working on research projects at the ancient city of Bethsaida, where Jesus performed the miracle of the fish and the loaves, the city where Apostles Simon Peter, Andrew and Philip were from.  I will be assisting the geophysics team in an area of the site where future excavation is planned.  The geophysics (ground penetrating radar and electro-resistivity tomography) looks through the contemporary surface materials into the cultural materials below, and helps direct archaeologists to the best places to excavate.  My role in this part of the research is to collect all of the necessary data to produce accurate maps and diagrams, and then to produce these materials.  Also in Israel we will work in the city of Nazareth for a week on several projects.  One will be at St. Gabriel’s Church of the Annunciation.  There we will be opening up a previous excavation and the archaeologists will be removing an ancient mosaic floor.  Once removed, we will conduct geophysical analysis to determine if the prevailing theory is correct, that there is indeed an older, ruined church (perhaps a synagogue, beneath the known ruined church under the contemporary St. Gabriel s.  Also in Nazareth we will map and perform geophysical analysis in a cave that is located under the Greek Orthodox Bishop’s residence, and another cave that is referred to as Mary’s Cave.  These cave-based projects are exploratory and may lead to substantial future research efforts. On January 12th, the research group flies from Israel to Greece and we will work on an eight day project that involves geophysics and mapping on the island of Rhodes.  Similar to Israel, we will be working with local archaeologists at four sites around the island, using geophysics to look through the contemporary landscape and into the ancient materials below.  The four sites we will work at are all churches, and one hypothesis we will investigate involves the existence of more ancient (perhaps more than one) ruined churches or synagogues beneath the most contemporary ones.  Also, I will be meeting with various representatives from universities in Israel and Greece to begin to lay the groundwork for future student and faculty exchanges, as well as facilitate possible future teaching, research, scholarship, and grant opportunities for Bayer School faculty and students.  I will be meeting with representatives from Emek Yizrael College in Afula, Israel; the Nazareth Academic Institute which is a degree granting College in Nazareth, and which is sponsoring the excavations at St. Gabriel’s Church; I will also be working with researchers from Tel Aviv University, whom I have worked on other project with, and will use this opportunity to further discussions about broader future collaborations.  In Rhodes, we are working with archaeologists from the University of the Aegean in Rhodes, as well as the National Archaeological Institute, based at the University of Athens and the American School of Archaeology in Athens. I will be discussing all varieties of collaboration with the representatives from these institutions.

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