R.I.M.S 35
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Professor Avner Raban
In memory of Professor Avner Raban (1937-2004)

Contract Archaelogy

The Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies
University of Haifa, Mount Carmel,
Haifa 31905, Israel
Tel: 972-4-8240600, 972-4-8249819
Fax: 972-4-8240493
E-Mail: maritime@


Underwater Archaeology

Since its establishment, scholars of the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies have been excavating ancient harbors and shipwrecks underwater. A well-known example is the Roman harbor at Caesarea, which was excavated over 30 years by Avner Raban. Other harbors, such as Athlit, Akko, Achziv and Dor, have been studied to a limited extent: however, much work has yet to be done. Shipwrecks have been excavated on a considerable scale, starting in 1985, when Elisha Linder directed the 400 BCE Maagan Mikhael Ship project. This shipwreck was excavated, dismantled underwater, retrieved, conserved in the laboratories of the Institute, and reassembled and displayed in the Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa.

The Ma'agan Mikhael ship on permanent display in the Ship Wing of the Hecht Museum,
University of Haifa (Photo: Itamar Grinberg)

Since then ten shipwrecks have been excavated at Dor, and two at Akko, dating from the 6th to the 19th centuries. Still, here also much remains to be done.

Underwater excavationsAkko Bay 2006. Divers about to install the metal frame at the site (Photo: Ron Marlar)

Researchers and staff of the Institute conduct underwater surveys with various methods and equipment. Perhaps the most significant find is the Athlit ram, which is exhibited in the Maritime Museum in Haifa. Underwater excavations are conducted with the participation of volunteers from Israel and abroad, who are welcome to join the Institutes projects. Students of the Department of Maritime Civilizations at the University run M.A. or Ph.D. research projects, and thus gain experience in the underwater archaeology of shipwrecks and their contents.

Pottery stacked in hold of Dor C (Photo:Itamar Grinberg)
Last modified: 03 2011 15:00:04
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