The Norman Transcript

Local news

November 7, 2013

Project leader discusses boat’s excavation

NORMAN — Unsure what would be found buried in the seabed of the Sea of Galilee, Shelley Wachsmann and his excavation team, raced to uncover the past.

Wachsmann discussed the famous excavation of the Sea of Galilee boat in a lecture Wednesday night at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History.

In 1986, the rising Sea of Galilee, possible storms and scientific logistics (how to keep an ancient boat from crumbling in excavator hands) all threatened this 2,000-year-old discovery.

Wachsmann earned three degrees in near Eastern archaeology from the Hebrew University. He served as the inspector of underwater antiquities from 1976 to 1989.

In 1990, Wachsmann became Meadows visiting assistant professor of Biblical archeology in the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University.

Near the ancient site of Migdal, Wachsmann and his team unearthed the Sea of Galilee boat after a drought had left some of the seabed exposed.

Wachsmann said his team did an initial probe excavation to get a better idea of how old the boat was. He said the shell-based construction told them it was a very old ship, possibly from Jesus’ time.

“Because of the rumors circulating that there was gold on the ship, we had to excavate immediately even though we weren’t prepared. It was like a meatball operation from ‘M.A.S.H.,’ the TV show — a meatball excavation,” Wachsmann said.

With the Sea of Galilee rising, the excavation team had to have a dike built around it.

“By the end of the excavation, we were surrounded by water on three sides,” Wachsmann said.

Another problem the team faced while excavating the boat was keeping it wet at all times. Wachsmann said the cellular structure of the wood was no longer wood and didn’t have the strength to support its own weight.

“We couldn’t stand on the wood, so we lowered a hanging platform so we could excavate the inside of the boat by lying down on our stomachs,” Wachsmann said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • City manager calls Moore strong while addressing Chamber

    MOORE — Moore’s City Manager Steve Eddy could have quoted Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Eddy, with help from Mayor Glenn Lewis, reported on Tuesday on the State of the City to the Moore Chamber of ...

    July 23, 2014

  • walmart City leaders say ‘yes’ to Wal-Mart supercenter postponement

    Despite complaints that a postponement request was in the eleventh hour, a zoning change in east Norman was put on hold Tuesday night. The proposal to rezone property at Cedar Lane Road between 24th Avenue Southeast and Highway 77 ...

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Solar cars 7 Solar cars use Norman area during pit stop

    Flat, low to the ground with reflective panels and bright colors, these moving vehicles look more like cartoon spaceships than solar race cars. But these funny looking cars represent exactly what the American Solar Challenge (ASC) ...

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Motorcyclist injured in collision

    A motorcyclist was injured in a collision Tuesday night in Norman....

    July 23, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Monday: · 1:37 a.m. stolen vehicle, 2100 block of West Brooks Street · 6:27 a.m. larceny report, 200 block of Driftwood Drive · 8:58 a.m. harassment or threats report, 1200 ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Linda Marquez, 36, leaving the scene of an accident involving injury, driving a motor vehicle under the influence of ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Leaving the scene of an accident

    A Norman woman was charged Tuesday with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury over the weekend in Moore. Linda Marquez, 36, also faces a misdemeanor charge of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Norman firefighter performs Heimlich maneuver on Moore man after he chokes on food

    What started out as a normal night out for a Moore couple ended with them being thankful a firefighter was in the right place at the right time....

    July 22, 2014

  • 18-year-old killed; 72-year-old man, young boy injured

    Those involved in the wreck Friday near 136th Avenue and South Sooner Road were identified Monday by Oklahoma City police. Logan Rosado-Santoni, 18, was pronounced dead on the scene after the 4:30 p.m. multi-vehicle wreck. Two others were ...

    July 22, 2014

  • New AP program to begin in Norman

    NORMAN — Norman Public Schools Board of Education learned about Advanced Placement Capstone at a regular board meeting Monday....

    July 22, 2014