Wednesday, June 07, 2006

HEROD'S HARBOR is now open to scuba-diving visitors:
Diving into history in King Herod's harbor
Tue Jun 6, 2006 8:29am ET6

By Corinne Heller

CAESAREA, Israel (Reuters) - Above the glistening waves off the shores of the Israeli city of Caesarea, a group of scuba divers suit up to begin their descent into history.

As they slowly sink underwater, the light disperses to reveal remnants of what experts say was one of the biggest and most sophisticated sea ports of the Roman Empire.

After around 2,000 years, the ancient harbor is again open for business. The tourism business, that is.

Israeli and North American archeologists discovered the ruins some 40 years ago and, since last year, have worked to preserve the remnants, some of which once rested above the surface, to create Israel's first underwater archeological museum.

Metal poles with numbered signs mark 36 exhibits lying about 20 feet below the Mediterranean's surface over an area of 783,000 square feet.

Among the artifacts are remains of a sunken Roman vessel, giant anchors, loading piers, marble and granite columns and an ancient breakwater.


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