The Sea of Galilee Boat: A 2000 Year Old Discovery from the Sea of Legends

The Sea of Galilee Boat: A 2000 Year Old Discovery from the Sea of Legends

Paperback

By (author) Shelley Wachsmann

List price $18.95

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  • Publisher: PERSEUS BOOKS
  • Format: Paperback | 448 pages
  • Dimensions: 127mm x 198mm x 30mm | 476g
  • Publication date: 13 July 2000
  • Publication City/Country: Reading, MA
  • ISBN 10: 0738203297
  • ISBN 13: 9780738203294

Product description

This remarkable true story recounts one of the great discoveries of the century: finding a 2000-year-old boat from the Sea of Galilee. Shelley Wachsmann, a respected nautical archaeologist, shares the joy and drama he felt in discovering and excavating the first ancient boat from this biblical location. Through his perceptive eyes, we experience the adventure of a lifetime as he offers his personal account of first setting eyes on and then preserving this unique treasure. Wachsmann is a master storyteller, interweaving his own unforgettable story of this challenging excavation with the writings of the past. Jews and Christians alike will be captivated by his search for the boat's identity. Wachsmann - like a detective - hunts down clues that will reveal the boat's actual history. Since the boat turns out to be a 2000 year old craft, he carefully examines the Gospels for passages that will shed light on this wondrous vessel. This ever-curious author also traces Jewish historical texts to discover that the Sea of Galilee, during the boat's vibrant past, was the setting for one of the most tragic massacres of Jews - the Battle of Migdal. During this sea battle, we learn, Roman soldiers mercilessly slaughtered Jews as they attempted to escape in boats like this one, turning the Sea of Galilee into a sea of crimson. The saga of tenderly extracting this extraordinary boat from the earth, protecting its timbers, and restoring it to health is a compelling tale on its own. Wachsmann impresses us with the dedication and creativity of his makeshift team in improvising answers to the seemingly impossible logistic problems that dog them every step of the way. Still, generosity abounds and actual rainbows appear as scores of volunteers pull together to save this singular monument of the past. Wachsmann punctuates the absorbing details of preserving this artifact with the rich history that surrounds the Sea of Galilee, making this a uniquely enduring and personal work.

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Editorial reviews

A compelling story of the discovery of a 2,000-year-old fishing boat in the Sea of Galilee, told by nautical archaeologist Wachsmann (Biblical Archaeology/Texas A&M Univ.). In January 1986, after a fierce drought had lowered the sea's waters to record levels, two Israeli brothers discovered a boat in the shoreline mud, about a half mile down the northern coast of the Sea of Galilee from Capernaum, where Jesus had his first ministry. As an inspector for Israel's Department of Antiquities, Wachsmann led the excavation team, whose work was soon threatened by an army of sightseers and treasure-hunters, and by the rising waters of the lake. Protected by police and the military, the team worked painstakingly around the clock, and the 25-foot-long boat was filled with polyurethane and removed in a fiberglass cocoon to the nearby Yigal Allon Museum. The boat's mortise-and-tenon joints proved it to be from the Roman period, while coin and pottery finds and carbon-14 testing indicated that it was a typical fishing vessel dating from between 100 B.C. and 67 A.D., the year in which the disastrous Jewish naval battle with the Romans ended boat building in that region. Wachsmann says that scientific research cannot prove whether the boat was a relic from the battle or was the actual one used by Jesus and his disciples. But he notes that even until recent times, similar designs were still common and the "pillow" used for sleep by Jesus (cf. Mark 4:38) would likely have been the sandbag, stored for ballast in a protected place beneath the stern. (A glossary explains technical terms.) Wachsmann writes in an attractive style, at once narrative, personal, and scholarly, with humor and fascinating excursions into ancient myth and history mingling with detailed descriptions and drawings of how boats were built in ancient times. (Kirkus Reviews)