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Boat resurfaces at Sea of Galilea.

Boat resurfaces at Sea of Galilee

In January 1986, a drought in Israel produced an archaeological windfall. The waters of the Sea of Galilee receded, and two brothers from a nearby kibbutz noticed the partial outline of a boat emerging from its muddy banks.

Archaeologists and volunteers, directed by Shelley Wachsmann of the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums in Tel Aviv, worked feverisly for two weeks to excavate the 27-foot-long vessel and preserve it in a makeshift concrete pool. The boat--the only ancient craft found at the Sea of Galilee -- is now in a museum undergoing preservation treatment, Wachsmann says. It dates to between 100 B.C. and A.D. 70.

The boat is of a class described in the Gospels and in the writings of 1st century A.D. Jewish historian Josephus, Wachsmann notes. Its crew of five used four oars to propel the vessel and a wider oar for steering. Total capacity was at least 15 men.

Wachsmann says wear and tear at the craft's joints suggests it spent 10 to 20 years sailing the Sea of Galilee. He adds it may have participated in a bloody battle described by Josephus that took place on the lake in A.D. 67.
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Author:Bower, Bruce
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 21, 1989
Words:204
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