Aegean Sea

An archaeologist's rig? (part 13)

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Of all the rides featured in this stunning series few have reached the pinnacle of the sublime.

That just changed.

Behold.

If this doesn’t sweeten your Valentine’s Day, you are truly a cold being.

I came across this engineering marvel on the island of Mykonos, Greece, many years ago. If the creator is still alive, I’m sure it is still running. At least parts of it are. In something.


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While touring in Israel-Palestine, we use a slightly larger vehicle. Our standard coach seats 50, has lots of glass, air-conditioning, wifi, and often is labeled Mercedes. Wheelmen like “Johnny Magic” pictured here (center) are key to our safety and success. I couldn’t do what I do without these dear friends.

For a complete list of travel opportunities in 2019, see our schedule here. You may also contact me at markziese@gmail.com for more details.

It's what you can't see

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This is hardly an impressive photograph. I snapped it from an upper deck of the Celebrity Reflection. Rising to meet the eye is the roiling wake of this enormous cruise ship.

But somewhere below the Mediterranean foam is the Hellenic Trench. It represents a lively seam in the earth’s crust. The African Plate is slamming against the Hellenic Plate. The seafloor deforms and hundreds of kilometers of seafloor have already disappeared, slipping under the Greek lip. Earthquakes are common throughout the region.

The deepest part of the Hellenic Trench is the Calypso Deep. At 17,280 feet, it is also the deepest point in the Mediterranean Sea. They say the water is toasty way down there at 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Biologists recognize this as the only warm-water abyss on the planet. Looking for a Mediterranean grenadier (Coryphaenoides mediterraneusor) or a deep-diving sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus)? This is where you find ‘em gamboling about.

Now look again.


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We have several travel experiences planned for 2019 (see list here). These are organized on behalf of educational institutions or church groups. If you are a leader who is interested in crafting a unique travel opportunity for your organization or if you are an individual who would like to join a group, shoot me an email at markziese@gmail.com.

Steady Girl

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Vicki holds the cruise ship Celebrity Reflection against the pier in Rhodes Harbor (Greece) while other passengers board. This and other amazing adventures will be reported here on Bible Land Explorer in the near future.

In the meantime, it’s back to work.

We returned home safely last night.


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We are cooling our heels stateside for just a moment. Next group up is New Life Christian Church from Chantilly, Virginia. We will be traveling with these fine folk over the Thanksgiving break (Nov 19-29). Brett Andrews, Sean Cronin and Pat Furgerson will share teaching responsibilities. For more on this upcoming opportunity, see New Life’s website here.

Packing off Dad

In this partially preserved relief, the pious son carries his lame father while fleeing the sack of Troy. The son's name is Aeneas; the father's name is Anchises. Aeneas is guided by his mother, the goddess Aphrodite (upper left). Anchises carries a box that holds statues of the ancestral gods of Troy.

The purpose of the facade is clear: to communicate the heritage of Rome and underline provincial loyalty. According to the well-worn story, Aeneas was a Trojan hero (a grandson of its founder, in fact) who escaped the epic battle and eventually settled in Italy. His family, called the Aeneads, gave rise to the Romans. As a community foundation story, it is clever; the Romans reject the status of "newcomers" and claim a place of their own in a deep (and mythic) Mediterranean history.

Mentions of Aeneas are found in Homer's Iliad, but his story is played out fully in Virgil's Aeneid (a masterpiece of Latin literature written prior to the birth of Christ).

The detail pictured above is part of a larger set of reliefs recovered at the site of Aphrodisias, Turkey.

Finding our land legs

Touring the Aegean by ship is a great way to pack convenience and efficiency into a single experience. Shan Caldwell, Lydia Knoll, and Adina Waddell disembark at the Turkish port of Kusadasi. From here our 2003 student group from Cincinnati Christian University visited the biblical site of Ephesus.