In 1986, after an extreme drought had reduced the Sea of Galilee's water level to an all-time low, two brothers stumbled upon an ancient boat.
"Almost immediately afterward the water level began rising," said Andrew Glicksman, assistant professor of theology. "The archaeologists realized they had a very short time to excavate the boat before it was totally submerged once again."
The problem of excavating the 2,000 year-old vessel fell to the dig director Shelley Wachsmann, who, at that time, was the inspector for underwater antiquities for Israel's Department of Antiquities and Museums. Wachsmann, now the Meadows Professor of Biblical Archaeology and Coordinator of the Nautical Archaeology program at Texas A&M University, will recount the adventure of the boat's discovery and daring excavation to the UD community on Friday, Nov. 1 at 3:30 p.m. in the Art History Auditorium.
The major challenge encountered by archaeologists while excavating the boat was keeping it wet.
"After being submerged for thousands of years, the boat was completely waterlogged. If it had been allowed to dry out, it would have crumbled to dust," said Glicksman.
Wachsmann will detail the procedures used to excavate the boat intact on Friday, in addition to discussing what this discovery reveals about the life and times of Christ.
"In all probability the boat was in existence while Christ was alive," said Glicksman, who saw the boat in 2006.
PHOTO: The Sea of Galilee Boat is on display at the Yigal Alon Center in Kibbutz Ginosar, Israel.