Biblical Archaeology Review 33:6, November/December 2007

Rebuilding—Step by Step

Preparation for the Umm el-Kanatir reconstruction project involved several steps. First, small electronic chips were embedded in the toppled blocks to give each individual stone a unique identification number. Next, using a laser attached to the crane’s winch, a three-dimensional aerial scan was taken, which recorded the position and electronic ID numbers of the exposed blocks. The blocks could then be picked up and moved to storage fields without losing information about where it had been located. This process was repeated as each new layer of blocks was revealed, until the entire floor was cleared. The plan below shows the location of several prominent features: (1) the underground chamber or genizah, (2) the circular pavement design, (3) eighth-century walls, (4) the Torah shrine and (5) the portico. Reconstruction of the synagogue was begun this past summer.

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