Cover

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pp. c-ii

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. iii-viii

Contents

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pp. ix-x

Author’s Note

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pp. xi-xiv

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1 Crooked Aleppo

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pp. 1-9

The wood, dark as obsidian, is harder than I remember it, and heavier. For more than three decades, it had existed in my memory as a fragile thing, the object of warnings to a young boy to be careful in its presence. It’s irreplaceable and old beyond belief—older than the ancient castle walls that surround it, older than Christ—older, perhaps, than Alexander the Great....

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2 Dreams in Paper and Paste

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pp. 10-21

The dream began on a corner of Main Street in the smallest of small- town America. The six- year- old boy who would become my father folded pieces of paper to form hulls and decks, gluing them together with homemade paste. In time, he built enough paper boats to turn the living room floor into a busy harbor. Though young Richard Steffy, whom everyone called Dickie, grew up in...

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3 Short Circuits

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pp. 22-30

After his discharge in early December 1945, Dick returned home to Denver and began settling into civilian life. Despite his big dreams of studying at Cambridge, “the mecca of all scientists,” his studies began much more humbly. He enrolled in night courses to make up for the math that had bedeviled him in high school. Now that he was more mature, the subject came...

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4 The Ships Begin to Speak

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pp. 31-41

The words from the magazine reached across the years, rekindling a dream that had been simmering in Dick’s subconscious since he’d built those paper boats in childhood. It was 1963, and he had just tucked his son David into bed. As he came downstairs, Lucille suggested he read an article in National Geographic. They’d been taking the magazine for a decade by then, since...

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5 Pieces of the Puzzle

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pp. 42-52

My brother and I were supposed to be going to our grandparents. Then we weren’t. Then we were. My mother and father couldn’t decide. The weather was terrible, but a chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America was hosting a talk in Lancaster by Michael Katzev, a former student of Bass’s who was teaching at Oberlin College in Ohio. Dick had met Katzev...

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6 ‘You’re Crazy—You’ll Starve to Death’

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pp. 53-63

Dick returned from the Mediterranean a changed man. He still had the same easy- going demeanor, but if he’d loved ships before, he was now obsessed. He couldn’t stop thinking about the hull of the Kyrenia Ship, its fragments arrayed in the big freshwater tank. “What a mystery I had just witnessed; and what a multitude of questions were bouncing through my head,” he recalled...

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7 The Reconstructor

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pp. 64-78

Within days of our arrival on Cyprus, Dick immersed himself in deciphering the Kyrenia Ship. He spent most of his days and often many of his nights in the castle, listening for the whispers of the ancient shipwright he’d nicknamed Aristides. Everything hinged on his accomplishments during the next year. He was on the cusp of a dream that had begun four...

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8 A Dream in Jeopardy

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pp. 79-90

For my father, Cyprus in the early 1970s was the place where he would either prove his theories or retreat in failure back to the quiet small- town life he’d left behind. For me, as a six- year- old boy, it was a fantastic playground of Crusader castles, beaches kissed by crystal- blue water and an endless array of adventures....

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9 Man’s Failure as a Thinking Animal

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pp. 91-99

My mother’s face had the frozen white look of fear. She stood on the concrete slab that served as the back porch of our house, looking at me across the yard, but her eyes focused somewhere beyond the towering pine trees at the end of our property. I froze. I had been romping in the yard, enjoying the midsummer sun. It seemed as if, for that day only, the honeybees...

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10 Zoe’s Garage

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pp. 100-106

Probably few people in Denver knew the small town’s status as the world’s hub of nautical archaeology, but for the remainder of 1974 and into 1975, Dick and George Bass hammered out plans around one dining room table or the other, figuring out how to keep AINA going despite the political turmoil that had engulfed its expedition sites in Cyprus and Turkey. Things didn’t look good for the...

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11 Settling into Mecca

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pp. 107-116

Dick approached his move to academia much as he had the Kyrenia Ship reconstruction. He pushed ahead with quiet confidence. If he had insecurities about his ability to teach college students, he kept them buried inside. He never seemed plagued by doubt, although he must have been. After all, the university had taken a big chance hiring him, and no one knew whether he had...

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12 Studies in Mud, Charcoal, and Bronze

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pp. 117-129

Dick had begun to get requests from all over the world to assist in different projects. In all, he would work on twenty- two reconstruction projects during his career, consult on scores more, and travel to more than a dozen foreign countries. All of them, however, served a larger purpose. The more Dick studied ships, the more fascinated he became with how they related to other...

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13 Genius and Despair

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pp. 130-137

The phone was ringing, which was odd. No one ever called “the depot,” as the expedition house in Bodrum was known. Today, Bodrum is a bustling resort town, but in the mid- 1980s, it was still a quiet fishing village on Turkey’s southwestern coast, far removed from the clamor of larger cities like Istanbul. The Turkish phone system, especially in Bodrum, was rudimentary, and calling internationally...

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14 The Laughter of Aristides

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pp. 138-149

The Kyrenia Ship’s latest message actually grew from work Dick began more than a decade earlier, while he was juggling his other major projects during the 1980s—the Serçe Limani wreck, the Herculaneum boat, the Athlit Ram, and the Sea of Galilee boat. In the midst of those projects, he took on another one, one that made the Kyrenia project all the more special....

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15 The Voyage Ends

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pp. 150-159

I didn’t notice the end when it began. Looking back on my father’s final years, I’m stunned and embarrassed by my obliviousness. Perhaps that is the lament of all children who watch their parents slowly descend into death. We do not want to confront the truth, and then once it’s forced upon us, we question why we didn’t recognize it sooner. What might I have done? Even after the time that’s passed, I still wrestle with the ghosts of regret....

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Epilogue

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pp. 160-162

As we filed out of the funeral home, my oldest son, Ben, turned to me. “Dad,” he said, “we really should go to Cyprus.” He’d just heard some of the tributes to his grandfather, including one from Susan Katzev, read by Laina Swiny, and he was both surprised and proud that people came from as far away as Israel to attend the service. He’d grown up hearing stories of Kyrenia...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 163-164

The list of people without whom this project wouldn’t have happened is long enough to be a book unto itself. My gratitude begins with my wife, Laurie, who was a constant source of encouragement, support, and tolerance, and my children, Ben, Daniel, and Annie, who put up with a father who spent too many weekends hunched over a keyboard or traveling to places like Greece and Turkey without them....

Notes

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pp. 165-176

Glossary

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pp. 177-182

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 183-184

Index

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pp. 185-197

Images

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pp. 198-235