In Memoriam

elishaElisha Linder 1924 -2009

Elisha Linder, one of the founding fathers of maritime archaeology in Israel and a senior lecturer at the University of Haifa, died on June 8, a few days before his 85th birthday.
Linder was responsible for initiating the establishment of the Association for Underwater Research in Israel, as well as the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies and the department of Maritime Civilizations at the University of Haifa. He directed excavations at nearly all of the underwater sites in Israel—Acre, Atlit, Caesarea, Ashdod, Shavei Tzion and the Coral Reef—as well as some abroad.
One of his most important projects surfaced in 1985 20 miles south of Haifa, off the shores of Kibbutz Ma‘agan Mikhael, where he had lived since 1955. A member of the kibbutz happened upon an ancient shipwreck while diving in the shallow waters just off the coast and alerted the authorities. A team, headed by Linder, undertook the study, excavation, conservation and reconstruction of the ship—an extremely well preserved merchantman from around 400 B.C.—which filled an important gap in knowledge about seafaring of that time. The reconstructed hull of the ship was put on display at the Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa.
After studying Biblical history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Linder earned his master’s degree at Columbia University and then completed his doctorate at Brandeis University. In the course of his career, he was awarded several prizes in recognition of his contributions to underwater archaeology, including Italy’s Franco Papo prize and the Dioscuri prize, as well as the Israel and Bible Lands Percia Schimmel Award from the Israel Museum.

 

avner raban

Avner Raban 1935-2004

Avner was not only one of the founders of RIMS; he was its central pillar. All his life he was devoted to the unique goal of the study of the interrelationships between humankind and the sea. This devotion was expressed in both his teaching and his research.


For almost 30 years, Avner revealed, together with a large team of talented colleagues, students and research assistants, the mysteries of the Herodian harbor at Caesarea. He became an international expert on ancient harbors, but did not limit his scientific activities to Caesarea Maritime. He studied almost every archaeological marine site along the Mediterranean coast of Israel and the Gulf of Eilat (Aqaba). These were not regular scientific studies; Avner understood, from the very dawn of his marine research, that in order to answer scientific questions regarding the sea, an interdisciplinary approach must be adopted. Thus, he integrated into the research his knowledge, not only in the fields of marine archaeology, but in maritime history, geography and geomorphology. Avner always incorporated within this research experts from other disciplines such as engineering, architecture, marine geology, marine chemistry and marine biology, through which he was able to reach outstanding scientific achievements.


He led coastal and marine study field trips even in the most difficult weather conditions, during scorching hot days or in freezing storms. Throughout his long academic career, he organized many academic study cruises, which had outstanding educational value, widening and enriching students and colleagues' knowledge.

 

800px YakReplika2016Yaacob Kahanov

Yaacov (Yak) Kahanov (1947‒2016), Senior Researcher at the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies and Professor Emeritus at the Department of Maritime Civilizations of the University of Haifa, was a pioneer of nautical archaeology in Israel. During his academic career he directed dozens of underwater excavation seasons, excavating and studying 14 shipwrecks along the Israeli coast, mainly in Dor and Akko.

Professor Kahanov was the principal researcher, conservator and restorer of the 5th century BC Ma‘agan Mikhael ship. The shipwreck was discovered in 1985, and excavated in 1988 and 1989. The ship’s timbers were dismantled underwater, retrieved, and after conservation, reassembled in the Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa. It is the best preserved ship of the period, and has been thoroughly studied and published under his supervision.

Professor Kahanov directed the construction of a full-scale sailing replica of the Ma‘agan Mikhael ship, using the techniques of the ancient shipwrights. The project benefited from the aid of generous donations and research grants, and enjoyed the use of the workshop of the Israel Nautical College at Akko. The construction involved many specialists and volunteers, and lasted two years (2014‒2016). The research objectives were twofold: (1) In-depth research of ancient ship construction by the ‘shell-first’ method using mortise-and-tenon joints and sewing; and (2) Testing the ship's sailing capabilities while learning about life on board.

After his retirement and spite of a long struggle with illness, Professor Kahanov supervised the building, guiding a large number of students and volunteers while maintaining the highest scientific and professional standards. He did not live to see the launch of the Ma‘agan Mikhael II replica ship in March 2017. In his quiet but uncompromising way, Professor Kahanov was a role model for his successors. He had fruitful connections with his peers among the leading international researchers and scholars, and contributed significantly to the study of ancient ships and seafaring.

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