Ancient harbour research

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Monday, October 21, 2013

The University of Haifa in Israel, by way of its new English MA in Maritime Civilizations, is helping to uncover an early harbour at the ancient site of Tel Dor.Students have been taking part in underwater surveys in shallow waters but also in depths of up to ten metres.The documented history of Tel Dor begins in the 13th century BCE and continues through to the Crusades. Excavators are seeking evidence of the location of a harbour or harbours at the site that are documented in written sources.Experts say that during the Iron Age, and perhaps even in the Bronze Age, Haifa’s harbour seems to have been located in Tel Dor’s south bay, but then during the Roman and later Crusader periods it seems to have been moved to the town's northern bay.Students have been finding pottery, including Roman amphorae, but they have also found large stone anchors, which experts say are clear evidence that boats used to anchor in both bays.During the one-year English master’s programme, taught over three semesters, students learn about the sea through a variety of disciplines – including marine archaeology.It’s based on an existing Hebrew masters that has been running for 40 years. Israel’s climate means that students can step out of the classroom and into the sea all year round.