Posts Tagged With: Sea of Galilee

Romans and Roaming Camels

Jan 7 2009
Wake up was at 6:15am. It was awful! I went back to bed. I timed it close and ate my breakfast in the room. I only went downstairs for a glass of water. I dropped my bag off in the lobby and we all waited outside the hotel a while. We found out that something was wrong with our bus. We said bye to Hilla and took some pictures with her. I wish she could have stayed longer so I could have gotten to know her better. I went back to our room one more time to make sure we had everything and then I handed our key in.

We found out that we were going to be delayed in Tiberias for awhile because of the bus situation. Shabat had us walk back in to the hotel and use the 2nd floor bridge to cross over to the area by the water. We sat on the rocks as Shabat talked to use about the Sea of Galilee. After a while Anna took out her banjo and started playing and singing. When I was looking around I noticed a sign that said “Go in Peace” and next to it were our two armed guards. Nice contrast. I wasn’t really paying attention to the other members in our group, but all of a sudden I saw Sarit was bent over with her hands on her face. Then she started crying. Anna screamed for Lior, but he didn’t hear her. I screamed for him as well and he finally looked up. It turns out Sarit got hit in the face with a rock. Staci, Lior, Keren, and Guy took her to the hotel.

Not too long after that Shabat told us the bus was fixed and it was time to leave. Ali and I ran to the bus and threw our stuff in. We also reserved seats. We ran to the 2nd floor to use the restroom before our long ride. It took awhile to load the bus and other people had the same restroom idea. Plus others went to the “restaurant” in the hotel to get some eggs to snack on. I was upset we got up at the crack of dawn only to leave at 11:30am. I could have slept another 3 hours.

I enjoyed looking at Tiberias as we left. It made me wish that we could have had more of an opportunity to walk around.

We drove for a bit and then came to a pit stop. Shabat gave us no warning as to what we were about to see. The sign said Bet Shean National Park. Once we got through the gates I was amazed at what I was seeing. It was like stepping back in time and it reminded me of my trip to Athens. Needless to say I was on cloud 9! I noticed an awesome gift shop, but I had a feeling Shabat wouldn’t let us stop there.

As we followed Shabat all I saw were rows of columns. We finally turned a corner and entered into an intact amphitheater. It honestly took my breath away. It was 10 times better than the one I saw in Athens. How did I not know this place existed? Shabat had us sit in the theater and took out his map. He draped it across Anna’s head and body, which was hilarious. He explained that the Romans had left this place after they had taken over Judea. So it wasn’t Greek, but then again the Romans stole their architecture from the Greeks, so of course it looked extremely similar. Shabat gave us a history lesson and I had to jump in at a point. How could I resist not talking about the ancient civilizations? We then forced Julie to go down to the stage and test the acoustics. They worked!!!

Then we walked around the rest of the ruins, which was mainly bath houses and columns. Then Shabat said we had a couple of minutes to use the restrooms before getting back on the bus. My plan was to use the restroom and shop in the amount of time given. So I ran to the restrooms and was first. Then I went straight into the gift shop. It was so big and there was so much to see. I wound up buying a mini replica of the Dead Sea Scrolls, some pens, and some postcards. While I was paying Shabat walked in to rush us to the bus. We got back on our bus and continued our drive to the Bedouin area.

Then we started Bus 804 Karaoke. It was very entertaining. Dror and Roi sang a lot. Then it switched to funny jokes. Ricky told a great one and Lior did as well. I don’t remember the whole thing, but it had something to do with stepping on bunnies, being ugly, and being chained to someone. Shabat told a sexual joke, which surprised a lot of people. He even had this guy sitting on a toilet picture and you had to use your fingers to make him a butt. Then he talked to us about the Judea Desert and the Dead Sea Scrolls. I took a lot of desert shots as we drove.

We stopped for lunch at Beit Haarava, which is the lowest place in the world. It’s 394 meters below sea level. The two options for lunch didn’t look very good or very clean. They were fast foody. Jen didn’t want to buy anything, but Lior convinced her to buy a falafel. I ate my own food and took a bite of Jen’s when she didn’t want anymore. I had promised my NYC falafel guy that I would try some in Israel and compare. The Israeli guys in NYC have better. I liked watching the strange contrasts as we sat there. There were camels, our big tour bus, and a military vehicle.

We got back on our bus and continued our drive. We had to stop at a military/police checkpoint. We drove through lots of desert before we spotted a group of trees in the distance. The trees were where our Bedouin tents were. I was excited and nervous. We really were in the middle of nowhere.

We got our day packs off the bus and went into the giant tent we were directed towards. It was extremely hard to get into the tent. You had to lift this heavy carpet material off the ground and then scoot in under it. For tall people this was a problem especially with having a bag. I placed my stuff near one of the metal poles.

Then we were given an opportunity to shop at the little Bedouin store. A lot of the girls bought hand knit scarves. Ben bought a shirt/jacket/hoodie thing that officially made him look like Moses. I bought a bag for Gayla. We dropped off our purchases and then went to the camel area.

There weren’t enough camels for everyone. So a little less than half the group could ride into the desert on a camel. The rest would have to be on donkeys. I didn’t want to ride on a donkey so I walked along with a couple of others. I’m glad I didn’t choose a donkey because they were low to the ground so the feet of the people riding them hit a lot of rocks and donkey poop. We got halfway into the desert and it was time to switch. I walked over to the 1st camel and waited for a partner. Ricky joined me. I was in the front of the camel and Ricky was in the back. It was a lot of fun!! Who would have ever thought that I would be riding a camel through the desert as the sun was setting?! The camels had extreme personalities. They made this loud screaming kind of noise and one even tried to eat Jordi’s hair.

After the camels we went to a tent all the way in the back of the village. They made the vegetarians and the meat eaters divide up. I was of course in the veggie group. They gave us this huge elevated tray for our group. It contained rice, bread, water, and vegetable skewers. I stuck to bread, rice, and the water. I had some cookies that I brought for dessert and I gave some to Anna as well.

After that we went into the main tent to listen to some music. It was a lot of fun and very entertaining. It was called a drum circle and pretty much was one big exotic jam session.

After the drum circle we went back to our sleeping tent. The Israelis were in a group talking. They all had dark sunglasses on. We knew something was up. Then they yelled at us to stand in straight lines in rows. They taught us how to salute properly and how to respond to commands/orders. Anyone who laughed or messed up had to do push-up’s. They were showing us what it was like to be in the IDF.

Afterwards we went for a walk in the desert. We sat and laid back in the sand while looking up at the sky. We talked for a while. When we went back to the tents a couple of us hung out at the bonfire outside our tent. I stayed only for a little bit. I preferred to get some sleep.

I waited on a long line for the bathroom area to change and wash. Then I went to bed. There were only a couple of us that chose to go to bed “early.” I slept on the mat and blanket they gave us. I used my coat and scarf for a pillow. Surprisingly, I slept.

Advertisements
Categories: Asia, Food, History, Israel, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Massive Submerged Structure in Sea of Galilee

My boss brought this to my attention and I thought it was worth sharing. I will go back to posting updates from my trips this weekend. Needed a break for a bit.

All rights belong to the Daily News

You can view the original article here

Massive submerged structure in Sea of Galilee stumps Israeli archaeologists

A massive circular structure at the bottom of the Sea of Galilee has puzzled Israeli researchers who have been unable to excavate it. Now archaeologists are trying to raise money to allow them access to the submerged structure, which is made of boulders and stones.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Friday, May 24, 2013, 2:00 PM

Print

File - In this April 14, 2011 file photo, a boat is by the jetty of the Capernaum National Park in the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel.  The monumental structure, made of boulders and stones with a diameter of 70 meters, was found through a sonar scan at the bottom of the Sea of Galilee in 2003. Now, archaeologists are beginning to put together grant proposals and funding requests in a bid to permit them access to the submerged stones.(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue, File)

Bernat Armangue/AP

A boat on the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel. A massive structure, made of boulders and stones with a diameter of 230 feet was found through a sonar scan at the bottom of the Sea of Galilee in 2003.

The massive circular structure appears to be an archaeologist’s dream: a recently discovered antiquity that could reveal secrets of ancient life in the Middle East and is just waiting to be excavated.

It’s thousands of years old — a conical, manmade behemoth weighing hundreds of tons, practically begging to be explored.

The problem is — it’s at the bottom of the biblical Sea of Galilee. For now, at least, Israeli researchers are left stranded on dry land, wondering what finds lurk below.

The monumental structure, made of boulders and stones with a diameter of 230 feet, emerged from a routine sonar scan in 2003. Now archaeologists are trying to raise money to allow them access to the submerged stones.

“It’s very enigmatic, it’s very interesting, but the bottom line is we don’t know when it’s from, we don’t know what it’s connected to, we don’t know its function,” said Dani Nadel, an archaeologist at the University of Haifa who is one of several researchers studying the discovery. “We only know it is there, it is huge and it is unusual.”

Archaeologists said the only way they can properly assess the structure is through an underwater excavation, a painstakingly slow process that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. And if an excavation were to take place, archaeologists said they believed it would be the first in the Sea of Galilee, an ancient lake that boasts historical remnants spanning thousands of years and is the setting of many Bible scenes.

In contrast, Israeli researchers have carried out many excavations in the Mediterranean and Red Seas.

Much of the researchers’ limited knowledge about this structure comes from the sonar scan a decade ago.

Initial dives shortly after that revealed a few details. In an article in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology published earlier this year, Nadel and fellow researchers disclosed it was asymmetrical, made of basalt boulders and that “fish teem around the structure and between its blocks.”

The cone-shaped structure is found at a depth of between three and nine and 40 feet beneath the surface, about 1,600 feet from the sea’s southwestern shore. Its base is buried under sediment.

The authors conclude the structure is man-made, made of stones that originated nearby, and it weighs about 60,000 tons. The authors write it “is indicative of a complex, well-organized society, with planning skills and economic ability.”

The rest is a mystery.

Yitzhak Paz, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority who is involved in the project, said that based on sediment buildup, it is between 2,000 and 12,000 years old, a vast range that tells little about it. Based on other sites and artifacts found in the region, Paz places the site’s origin some time during the 3rd millennium B.C., or about 5,000 years ago, although he admits the timeframe is just a guess.

“The period is hard for us to determine. No scientific work was carried out there, no excavations, no surveys. We have no artifacts from the structure,” Paz said.

Archaeologists were also cautious about guessing the structure’s purpose. They said possibilities include a burial site, a place of worship or even a fish nursery, which were common in the area, but they said they wanted to avoid speculation because they have so little information.

It’s not even clear if the structure was built on shore when the sea stood at a low level, or if it was constructed underwater. Paz reckons it was built on land, an indication of the sea’s low level at the time.

In order to fill in the blanks, archaeologists hope to inspect the site underwater, despite the expense and the complexities.

Nadel noted that working underwater demands not only a skill such as scuba diving, but also labor-intensive excavations that are particularly difficult in the Sea of Galilee, which already has low visibility and where any digging can unleash a cloud of sediment and bury what’s just been uncovered.

Also, divers can remain under water only for a limited amount of time every day and must choose the best season that can provide optimal conditions for excavating.

“Until we do more research, we don’t have much more to add,” Nadel said. “It’s a mystery, and every mystery is interesting.”

Here’s another article. All rights belong to Scotsman.com:

Mystery of giant structure under Sea of Galilee

Sonar of the mysterious object. Picture: compSonar of the mysterious object. Picture: comp

Published on 24/05/2013 08:28

Archaeologists are keen to explore a massive structure which was discovered beneath the biblical Sea of Galilee near Israel, which could reveal the secrets of ancient life in the Middle East.

The mysterious object, said to have a diameter of around 230 metres, is a large circular conical shape and was initially discovered in 2003, but scientists are looking to explore the area on the seabed in what would be an expensive feat.

Constructed from giant boulders, the unknown structure has archaeologists and historians stumped, as the area features several times in various biblical tales.

Estimates have put the age of the structure anywhere between 2000, and 12,000 years old, and is indicative of a highly organised society.

A sonar sweep in 2003 showed the monument, but it is thought that an underwater excavation would be the only way to learn more about it, a process which could prove lengthy and expensive.

Categories: Mish Mash | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.