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Submerged Prehistory: Kfar Samir

2270 Survey of the exposed well. Photo by J. Benjamin.

As well as working for Wessex Archaeology, many of our staff are involved in their own research and have the opportunity to apply the high degree of skill developed in Wessex to important archaeological investigations elsewhere.
 
Late last year our Project Manager John McCarthy participated in the excavation of part of a submerged Neolithic settlement at Kfar Samir, Israel. The team was led by Dr Ehud Gallili, a world-renowned expert in submerged prehistory (and a senior maritime archaeologist at the Israel Antiques Authority and the University of Haifa) and Dr Deborah Cvikel of the University of Haifa as well as our former colleague Dr Jonathan Benjamin, now lecturer in Maritime Archaeology at Flinders University in Australia. 
 
2264 Covered by almost two metres of sand, the site required extensive dredging. Photo by J. McCarthy.
 

2271 Hand dredging equipment. Photo by J. McCarthy

The work was funded by the Honor Frost Foundation. Despite heavy sand cover on the site the team worked over the course of a week to remove sand and carry out archaeological investigation of a well, one of the most important features of this submerged village which dates to the pre-pottery Neolithic period, 7500 years ago and which is now five metres underwater. Wells like this were abandoned when the water table began to rise and were backfilled with rubbish; the few examples found in the past have proven to be an archaeologists dream, full of artefacts and environmental evidence.
 
John's participation in the project was as a specialist in underwater photogrammetry, and he has been able to create a 3D model of the well. A preliminary report on the site will shortly be published in Hadashot Archaeologiot (News in Archaeology) and the project has recently been featured in the latest edition of the Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology (March 2015).
 
 
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