Expanding Our Base of Knowledge to Understand the Grand Master Palace and Other Structures

The visit to the city of Lindos was very productive.  Lindos has several claims to fame.  There is the fact that the Apostle Paul visited Lindos in the first century AD, as well as the large Greek Era Acropolis built on a hill overlooking the city.  Post Greek era constructions by the Knights Templar and then the Ottomans destroyed most of the structures from earlier times, but extensive archaeological excavation and reconstruction of the Acropolis has been ongoing.  Hence, the site presents an interesting mix of structures from various time periods.  Pictured below is the view from the town of Lindos, looking up to the Knights Templar Castle.  What is visible from below are the outer defense walls of the castle.

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Upon entering the castle it becomes abundantly evident that there is a mix of time periods.  Pictured below is evidence of this.  Coming in from the left is a Knights Templar wall.  In the center are columns from the Acropolis from the Greek era and in the background are low stone buildings from the Ottoman period.  This view and the arrangement of the structures from different time periods provided useful information regarding how to visualize the Grand Master Palace and associated structures from different time periods in Rhodes. On the following day (Sunday) we were going to complete extensive mapping and GPR data collection at the Ottoman School and Grand Masters Palace, so being able to visualize how the assemblage of structures from different time periods is very important.  I will discuss that in detail later.

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The Greek Era structures at Lindos provide excellent examples of classic Greek Era structures.  The Acropolis is still being actively excavated and reconstructed.  Pictured below is the temple of Athena.  The outer walls are Knights Templar and other time periods are mixed in with the Greek Era structures.

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On Sunday January 18th we arrived at the Grand Masters Palace at about 8:30 AM.  A GPR grid was set up that covered part of the courtyard outside the defense walls of the palace.  The intent of this grid was to determine if a Byzantine Era wall that can be seen in excavations at the Ottoman School passes under the area, to merge in with the walls of the palace.  In the base of the Knights Templar defense walls at the palace, stones from the Byzantine wall can be seen.  There are also parallel Byzantine walls outside the Knights Templar walls. Understanding the location of these walls in relation to the Knights Templar structures and structures from earlier eras is important to put the construction sequences in context.  A long term objective in the research design is to understand the relationship between the Byzantine era walls, earlier Hellenistic period walls, and the Colossus of Rhodes.  The GPR and mapping data we are collection will add significant information to the base of knowledge regarding the Byzantine walls and the Colossus. Below is a depiction of the GPR data.  This data was collected, sent digitally to GPR Slice, Inc. in California, and this data was then processed and plots were completed.  The plot below is a slice from the GPR plot depicting data at 1.45 meters below the surface.  The red and yellow areas extending from the bottom of the plot toward the top is interpreted to be a buried section of the Byzantine wall.  The less defined area toward the right are areas with other walls that have not yet been defined by age.  The Byzantine wall is trending in the correct direction to merge with the walls incorporated into the Templar walls and those that run parallel to these.  Additional data will be collected at a later date to better define these relationships and to begin to refine the research design to include a locational study for the base of the Colossus.

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Lastly, the data from Kahal Shalom Synagogue was further processed, with startling results.  The plot is presented below.  The parallel red and yellow lines in the plot below are found at 2.12 meters below the current floor of the synagogue.  To find these symmetrical features at this depth is very promising in terms of find an older synagogue beneath the reconstructed Kahal Shalom Synagogue.  If these walls are indeed the walls of a underlying building, and this building was a synagogue, it may be the remains of the oldest Synagogue yet discovered in Europe. Further processing of the data will reveal even more data about this underlying structure.

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I am writing this entry for my travel blog from the courtyard of the ruined Church of the Victory.  This church and the site where it stood, has a rich history of previous structures, with the Church of the Victory destroyed by bombing in World War II.  It is theorized that there is another synagogue under the ruins of the Church of the Victory.  The photo below shows the process of collecting GPR data at the site.  Once the data is processed, I will blog about the results.

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