Dear Friends


Prof. Y. hayuth, President of the University and Prof.M. Shechter, Rector, bestowing the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Honoris Causa, upon Mr. M. Hatter.(photo: A. Cohen)

The current year has been very good for the Leon Recanati Center for Maritime Studies and the Department of Maritime Civilizations. We have continued to investigate our principal research projects. New colleagues have joined our ranks, including some former students, initiating the second generation of explorers of Man and the Sea.

The research interests of the Center expanded during the current year to cover new ground, without relinquishing the old. Prof. Michal Artzy received a prestigious research grant from the Science Foundation of the Israeli Academy of Sciences to renew her study of Tel Akko (Acre), in addition to her archaeological investigations of Tel Nami, south of Athlit. This new research will widen the scope of her important discoveries regarding international maritime trade in the Bronze Age.

Dr. Hassan Khalilieh, a graduate student, recently received his Ph.D. degree in history from Princeton University. He continues his research on the maritime civilization of coastal Israel in the Early Islamic Period (7th - 11th Centuries).

Dr. Elisha Linder and Mr. Ya'acov Kahanov completed the polyethylene glycol (PEG) preservation of the ancient Ma'agan Mikhael ship. The ship is now awaiting reconstruction and will be housed in a dedicated museum, currently being built.

We have been joined recently by Prof. Yossi Patrich, who, together with Prof. Avner Raban and colleagues, continues the ambitious project of the extensive archaeological excavation of Caesarea and its harbors. Caesarea was one of the largest, richest and most elaborate port cities in the Roman and Byzantine world and an important city in the Early Islamic and Crusader periods. An archaeo-metallurgical research project has been begun in Caesarea by Dr. Sariel Shalev, who also recently joined our ranks.

Dr. Dorit Sivan, a graduate student who received her Ph.D. in geology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, continues to carry out her research on coastal sediments in northern Israel.

Prof. Ehud Spanier continues his studies on lobsters, jelly-fish, and other marine animals in the southeastern Mediterranean, contributing to national efforts to decrease environmental stress in Israeli coastal waters.

I am continuing my research on recent and sub-recent geological activity in the southeastern Mediterranean. This activity led to earthquakes that may have contributed to the complexity of the archaeological study of Caesarea.

The Leon Recanati Center for Maritime Studies continued its active cooperation with research institutions from abroad. The on-going cooperation with the University of Maryland was very fruitful this year. Profs. Kenneth Holum and Avner Raban continued their joint archaeological explorations in Caesarea, on land and at sea. We also continued our cooperation with our colleagues from the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) of Texas A&M University in the excavation of Byzantine and younger shipwrecks in the Dor lagoon. Dr. Shelley Wachsmann from INA and Mr. Ya'acov Kahanov from CMS direct this excavation.

Maritime studies at the University of Haifa, both in the Center for Maritime Studies and in the Department of Maritime Civilizations, were favorably reviewed this year by a most distinguished committee. The Rector of the University, Prof. Mordechai Shechter, invited Prof. Paul Singer from the Technion to chair an international committee, which was to recommend ways to further develop marine studies at the University. Members of the committee were Prof. He'le'ne Ahrweiler from the Sorbonne, Dr. Joel C. Goldman from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Prof. Sean McGrail from Oxford University, and Prof. Ephraim Stern from the Hebrew University. The committee acknowledged the international reputation of the Center and the Department, and suggested its development be enhanced in the historic and archaeological aspects of Man and the Sea.

The Center for Maritime Studies and the Department of Maritime Civilizations awarded approximately NIS 100,000 from the fruits of the Maurice Hatter endowed fund, in research prizes to seven post-graduate and masters students for outstanding research proposals. This is the second year that these prestigious awards have been distributed. The Department of Maritime Civilizations continued its notable series of lectures within the framework of the Maurice Hatter visiting scholar program. The visiting scholar this year was Prof. Sean McGrail from Oxford University, a noted marine archaeologist. Our next guest will be Dr. Lucien Basch from Belgium.

The Leon Recanati Center for Maritime Studies received several generous contributions this year. The Yahel Fund of the Recanati Family donated 100,000 NIS to the Center. Mrs. Sara Salomon and Mr. Dan Mirkin established the Ya'acov Salomon Disbursement Fund for Marine Studies. The University gave an extraordinary award to Mr. Oz Goffman, a graduate student of Prof. Ehud Spanier, to support his research on dolphins. The Israeli Academy of Sciences has contributed towards establishing a new microscopy laboratory, with an amount matched by the University, totaling NIS 150,000. This research proposal was initiated by Mr. Ezra Marcus, Dr. Sariel Shalev and myself.

The University conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy to our friend and benefactor, Mr. Maurice Hatter. This is the highest mark of respect the University can bestow and it made us all very proud.

            Yossi Mart

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