2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 95-8
Presentation Time: 10:00 AM

INITIAL GPR EXPLORATIONS NEAR THE ANCIENT ANCHORAGE OF KURSI, SEA OF GALILEE, ISRAEL


JOL, Harry M.1, LÓPEZ, Gloria I.2, COHEN, Haim2 and ARTZY, Michal2, (1)Department of Geography and Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI 54702, (2)Hatter Laboratory, Recananti Institute for Maritime Studies, University of Haifa, Haifa, 3498838, Israel, jolhm@uwec.edu

A proposed excavation of the Biblical village of the "Gedarenes" the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee is being proposed. The site, which is presently covered with high, dense vegetation is approximately 5 km southeast of the Jordan River as it empties into the sea. The area includes ruins of the settlement, including remnants of public buildings, including a potential synagogue. In the past, this building structure was recognized as the synagogue of the Kursi, possibly, “Yonadav, son of Rahav's synagogue in Kursya over the Tiberian sea” (mentioned in the holy places list, known as “Eliyahu's synagogues” from the Early Arabic Period). Of significant interest is the anchorage and shore installation located along the low water line of the Sea of Galilee. Based on an earlier investigation, the entrance to the anchorage area was from the north and was measured to be approximately 1500 square meters with a width of ~25m. A preliminary ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey was carried out in July, 2014. The transects were collected across several areas associated with the village ruins and harbor/anchorage. We used a pulseEKKO 1000 GPR system with 225 and 450 MHz antennae to conduct several surveys along a road/trail. The lines imaged to approximately 1-2 m in depth and were topographically corrected based on a laser level survey. Results show horizontal to sub-horizontal, semi-continuous to continuous reflections that are interpreted as either channel overflow or coastal flooding deposits that are infilling remnants of the village/ harbor. At certain locations along the profiles, mound-like features are observed and are interpreted as a wall (deflection) and structures within the harbor. The project demonstrates GPR’s utility as a geoarchaeological tool in better understanding coastal sites.