Work at Kahal Grande and Other Thoughts

The research is winding down for this trip.  We are completing our last full day of field research today (Tuesday January 20th).  Today we are working at Kahal Grande.  It is the third of the synagogue sites we have worked at in the Old City of Rhodes.  We have completed our data collection at Kahal Shalom, and the Church of the Victory, and we will finish today at the Kahal Grande.  The research design today is similar to the other synagogue sites.  It is hypothesized that there is an older synagogue(s) under the most current construction.  The Kahal Grande Synagogue according to records in the Jewish community was constructed in 1480 AD.  It was ruined several times and reconstructed, and was last destroyed by Allied bombing raids in World War II.  Once again we are using GPR to locate the buried building sequences beneath the current floor of the ruined structure.  It is speculated that this floor is from the 19th century synagogue that stood on the site.  I will post a preliminary plot of the data when it becomes available in a day or two.  I just completed an overland survey using a total station that collected data points (location and elevation) in and around the Kahal Grande, so that our GPR grids can be matched up to existing architectural drawings of the site. We also did an overland survey from the Kahal Grande to the Church of the Victory so that we can link those surveys together.  Similar data collection was completed at all the other sites as well.  By collecting these data, we can essentially “tap into” the existing maps and drawings of the sites, which save an enormous amount of time.   Below is a photo of data collection at the Kahal Grande site.


Tomorrow is our end of project meeting with the authorities from the Archaeology Commission.  At that meeting we will present the preliminary data we collected, and make short, medium and long term plans for the future of the project.  The preliminary data is very promising, and discussions have already begun, even before tomorrow’s meeting, about returning next January to continue the research.  Discussions have already begun as well about establishing a field school on Rhodes to continue the project.  This year three students associated with the University of Hartford participated in the project, and my hope is that we can get Duquesne students, and perhaps even faculty involved.  One major accomplishment of this trip has been that our research team has gained the confidence of the Greek officials.  Now that we have achieved that, we can build from there.  Field experiences, like this, are invaluable hands-on learning experiences for students.  Efforts will continue towards this end. To recap these types of efforts, I made a successful connection with the University of Haifa in Israel on this trip for possible student and faculty opportunities associated with the University’s Marine Institute.  I also made good connections in Nazareth Israel for future collaboration, but we of course then run into the possible problems associated with student travel to Israel.  I feel that the connections I am making in Greece have great potential for future collaborations that will benefit our students and faculty.

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