Splash - Wessex Archaeology's Coastal and Marine Archaeology blog

WA Coastal & Marine team participate in underwater excavation of Neolithic settlement in Eastern Mediterranean

In September two WA Coastal & Marine staff set off for Israel to participate in a seven day course of underwater excavation and training. Dr Jonathan Benjamin and John McCarthy of our Edinburgh office joined a team of eight marine archaeologists with representatives from Ireland, the UK, Norway, Denmark, Bulgaria, Germany and Canada. The training excavation was organised by SPLASHCOS, a European network. The programme was also supported by assistance from the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies and the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa, the Israel Prehistoric Society and the Ecoocean Society. The excavation was led by Dr. Ehud Galili, one of Israel's most respected archaeologists, who first discovered the village.


302 Prof. Galili takes a moment to instruct an Early Stage Researcher on underwater archaeological techniques.

The full schedule consisted of excavation and recording at the submerged Neolithic village at Atlit Yam combined with a series of lectures and field trips to museums and archaeological sites. Atlit Yam is one of the world's most important submerged prehistoric sites; a world class archaeological site, above or below the sea. The remains consist of the foundations of an extensive village dating to around 9,000 years ago that contain structures, burials, wells and a megalithic monument, all at a depth of around 10 metres below the sea. A published presentation of the site can be found in chapter 22 of Benjamin, J. (ed.) 2011 Submerged Prehistory, Oxbow Books.

303 Jonathan taking samples from the palaeosol around the well (photo:Karolyn Gauvin).

291 Professor Galili giving an evening lecture on management of maritime heritage in Israel (photo:Frederick Feulner)

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