Beginning at sunset on Friday January 16th, until sunset on Saturday January 17th is shabbat, the Jewish Holy Day. Since we are a project in part sponsored by the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford, we are observing Shabbat, by not working today. Today we will tour various sites on the Island of Rhodes, including the quarry where many of the stones were mined to build the Grand Master Palace and other monumental structures on Rhodes. We are also going to visit the Acropolis of Lindos, from the early Greek period, built in the 4th BC and rebuilt many times by the Byzantines, Knight Templar, and Ottomans to name a few. One claim to fame for Lindos in that the Apostle Paul wrote of arriving there in the first century AD.
Our work day on Friday January 16th was dominated by planning for the GPR assessment at the Ottoman School, as well as the grounds of the Grand Masters Palace. Most of the day was spent in the Grand Masters Palace exploring it depths and tracing the locations where the Byzantine wall can be seen. It can be seen at two locations at the Ottoman School and it can again be seen in the foundation stones of the Grand Masters Palace. In fact it can be seen in many locations at the base of the palace including the base of what was once a tower. We were taken to the depths of the palace by our co-investigators from the Archaeology commission to see part of the Byzantine wall incorporated into the below ground foundation of the palace. It is a very common practice to use parts from previous building to construct overlying buildings. The Knights Templar did just this when they built the Grand Masters Palace. This is where things get interesting with respect to the Byzantine wall. Were parts of this wall from a previous, earlier construction? It is particularly intriguing because there is a theory that the Colossus of Rhodes, a 30 meter tall statue constructed over a 12-year period and erected in 280 BC, stood on the site now occupied by the Grand Masters Palace. Here is some more information about the colossus.
On Sunday January 18 we will begin mapping and GPR work related to the Byzantine wall at the Ottoman School and on the grounds of and within the Grand Masters Palace. Below is the main entry point into the Grand Master palace.
Looking from the Grand Masters Palace across a broad open area, one can see the Ottoman School. We are planning two GPR lines on the grounds of the school to determine if the Byzantine wall can be below the current surface materials. Extensive GPR will also be completed on the open space between the Ottoman School and the palace to determine the exact course of the wall. The photo show the Ottoman School from the Grand Masters Palace.
Extensive mapping will also be completed to trace the elevation changes of the exposed portions of the Byzantine wall. This will allow an elevation model to be created for the exposed course of the wall and this data can be matched to the GPR data to ground truth the GPR plots in terms of depth. It will also allow a model to be created that depicts the hypothesized course of unexposed portions of the wall. This will include portions of the wall that are now part of the foundation for the Grand Masters Palace. Additionally, this data can be used to create a preliminary model related to the hypothesis that the Colossus of Rhodes was on the current site of the Grand Masters Palace. This of course will require much more research, but this preliminary data can serve as the beginnings of developing a research design for this project. Below is a photo of the Byzantine wall as part of the Grand Masters Palace. The Byzantine portion of the wall are the slightly darker, larger building stones next to where the scaffolding begins.