Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Underwater archaeology at Tel Dor

NEW MARITIME CIVILIZATIONS MA: Underwater archaeologists: Unlocking the mysteries of an age-old port. Who sailed from the harbor - or harbors - at Tel Dor? Haifa University students find clues on the Mediterranean floor (Alona Ferber, Haaretz). Excerpt:
It's cold. It's silent. It's murky. It's the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea and it's the hangout of choice for students of maritime archaeology, seeking clues to the dawn of modern man. Or in the case of participants on Haifa University’s new English MA in Maritime Civilizations, signs of a harbor at the ancient site of Tel Dor.

The Tel Dor expedition, some 30 kilometers south of Haifa, is a collaboration between Dr. Assaf Yasur-Landau and Dr. Ayelet Gilboa of the University of Haifa, and Prof. Ilan Sharon of the Hebrew University. Students of the new English-language program, which started its second year this fall, take part in underwater surveys of Tel Dor mostly in shallow waters but also at depths of up to 10 meters of water.

The documented history of Tel Dor begins in the the 13th century BCE and continues through to the Crusader era. Excavators are seeking evidence of the location of a harbor or harbors at the site that are documented in written sources.

During the Roman and later Crusader periods the harbor seems to have been in the town's northern bay– but earlier, during the Iron Age, and perhaps even in the Bronze Age, it seems to have been located in Tel Dor’s south bay. Researchers still don’t know for sure why the harbor moved.
I was as an assistant square supervisor at Tel Dor back in the 1980s, but that work was strictly above ground.