Hello. We made it to Rhodes, Greece on Monday January 12th without incident. We are staying in what is called New Rhodes, as opposed to the Old City of Rhodes. The old city is a Knights Templar Fortress that was occupied from 1309 to 1522. The old city consists of narrow winding streets with many of the buildings now homes or businesses. Below are typical street scenes in the old city.
There are four projects that we are working on in Rhodes. On Tuesday January 13th we started work at the Kahal Shalom Synagogue. First built in 1577, it is the oldest synagogue in Europe. It was destroyed, like many of the historic buildings in Rhodes by allied bombing in World War II. It was rebuilt in 2004 and now serves as a museum. There is no Jewish population remaining in Rhodes. They were rounded up by the Nazis in 1941 and all murdered at the Auschwitz concentration camp. We are working in Kahal Shalom to test the hypothesis that the 1577 synagogue was built on top of a yet older synagogue. Using ground penetrating radar we are looking through the contemporary floor for evidence of ruined buildings under the floor. We set up our work grid on Tuesday January 13 and began to collect data today (January 14th). We selected to complete work at this site first because of the horrible weather we have been having. Torrential rain and wind since our arrival. The weather is just starting to clear and we are hoping for a good enough day to work outside tomorrow. Below is a plan of the synagogue. We are working in the lower center area of the plan. GPR lines were laid out along the lower area of the plan in hopes of finding an indication of a ruined structure beneath the contemporary floor. It is further hoped that that data indicates structures oriented in a different direction the the reconstructed synagogue. Preliminary results from the data collected today seem very promising.
Below Emily and Nichole, both students from the University of Hartford, and who are serving as field assistants for this project, are collecting GPR data in the synagogue. We will finishing collecting data at this site later this week, and will move on tomorrow to work at what is called locally the Ottoman School. More details about that tomorrow.