New Publication: Nabataean Seafaring and the Search for Shipwrecks in the Red Sea

Seafaring by the Nabataeans is virtually an archaeological unknown: Indeed, in the corpus of Nabataean studies the issue is not often addressed. The inhabitants of what is now northwestern Saudi Arabia and southern Jordan are mostly known for their rock-carved buildings and tombs, at least in popular venues. Ancient authors noted, however, that Nabataeans plied the waters of the Red Sea as traders or pirates, maintaining their major port at Leuke Kome, whose location remains undiscovered. Several harbors containing Nabataean aspects have been located along the Saudi coast through archaeological investigation, yet the study of the maritime aspects and accomplishments of the Nabataeans remains in its infancy. Nautical Archaeology in the Red Sea is also in its early stages, but research has begun to reveal the ships of antiquity and the cargoes they carried. This paper outlines the archaeological researches of shipwrecks in the Red Sea, and examines the potential of finding the remains of Nabataean seacraft on the sea lanes reaching from Aqaba to points along the Red Sea littoral.

Authors: Ralph K. Pedersen & Rupert A. Brandmeier

Published in: Studies on the Nabataean Culture II, Nabil I. Khairy, editor. Deanship of Scientific Research, The University of Jordan-Amman (2016): 11-24.

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New Publication. ON SEA AND OCEAN: NEW RESEARCH IN PHOENICIAN SEAFARING

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The proceedings of the symposium held at Philipps-Universitat Marburg in June 2011 have now been published.  The contents include:

  • Foreword
  • Abdelhamid, Selma: Phoenician Shipwrecks of the 8th to the 6th century B.C. – Overview and Interim Conclusions
  • Blot, Maria Luísa Pinheiro: Ancient environmental contexts and Phoenician maritime shelters in the southeastern part of the Iberian Peninsula: Portugal
  • Friedman, Zaraza: The Phoenician Hippos Figurehead. Preserved Tradition and Types of Ship
  • Galasso, Mario: Testa scolpita in trachite da Porto Conte – Santa Imbenia, Alghero (SS) Giardina, Baldassare Fari fenici et punici: fonti ed evidenze archeologiche
  • Haggi, Arad: Phoenician Deepwater Harbours: Atlit as a Case Study
  • Hermanns, Marcus Heinrich: Frühe Erztransporte zwischen der Iberischen Halbinsel und Ibiza
  • Pappa, Eleftheria: Who’s the Phoenician on the Atlantic? Disentangling Seafaring from Colonization in Portugal and Morocco
  • Semaan, Lucy: New Insights into the Iron Age Timber Trade in Lebanon
  • Tilley, Alec: Phoenician Triremes and other craft

To order, please contact the Archaologisches Seminar at Philipps-Universitat Marburg

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The Pedersen Family Grant for Student Research

The Red Sea Institute for Anthropological Research is pleased to announce a granting opportunity for students studying aspects of the human interaction with the Red Sea.

This privately-funded grant, administered by the institute, is open to all students studying at the master’s degree level in anthropology, archaeology, and ethnography. The grant is intended to aid students in their thesis research for travel and accommodations or other expenses related to their field, library, or museum research. The grant is not intended to cover costs for students to participate in other’s research projects.

All applications must be made via regular post or express mail and be post-marked no later than 15 December 2015. No electronic submissions will be considered.

The total grant amount will be US$500.00 (five hundred dollars).

For full details please visit http://www.redseainstitute.org/grants.html

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The Red Sea Institute for Anthropological Research

red sea INSTITUTE logo 48 font left bevel text SMALL

After a couple of years of discussion with friends and colleagues, I created The Red Sea Institute for Anthropological Research in 2014 in Lansing, Michigan, USA as a private non-profit charitable organization under the 501 (c) (3) registration with the United States Internal Revenue Service.

Our purpose is to promote the scientific inquiry of the Red Sea and surrounding areas– focusing on the subjects of anthropology, archaeology, ethnography, and history–to further our knowledge of the zone and its peoples, to bring into better understanding the intercourse between Africa and Southwestern Asia from the earliest times into the present, and to provide opportunities for research.

Our goal is to increase mankind’s knowledge of Red Sea maritime activities of the past and present.

Our intent is to create a better understanding of the dynamics of intercultural maritime connections and exchange, the involved ship-building and engineering technologies, maritime exploitation strategies of coastal peoples and their environmental adaptability to arid coastal zones, as well as maritime migration from the prehistoric period into the modern era.

I use the term “anthropological” as in the US archaeology is considered part of anthropology, and also I am interested in other aspects of human culture in addition to those of the past. As such, the institute embraces cultural and ethnographic studies, and even history as it pertains to our understanding of the Red Sea region.

A journal for these studies is planned, as is a grant for student research.

Please visit our website at http://www.redseainstitute.org

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The Marsala Punic Warships: Reconsidering their Nature and the Function of the “Ram”

Denise Averdung and Ralph Pedersen are pleased to announce the publication of their article in the journal Skyllis concerning an evaluation of the so-called ram of the ships found off Marsala, Sicily by Honor Frost some four decades ago. The article includes the analysis of the two hulls from Marsala and the Marburg experiment in scale-model testing the feature in question.

A pdf of the article can be found here.

The Marburg Model

The Marburg Model

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The Marburg Survey in Saudi Arabia, 2013: Jeddah

This year our survey in Saudi Arabia concentrates on the approaches to Jeddah. The founding of this important harbor city is in dispute- some sources put it as early as the 7th century, and others in the 10th. Perhaps locating ancient shipwrecks, anchorages, and other underwater sites will help illuminate a solution.

The survey began yesterday and continues through 2 October with our staff, Marburg students, and staff from the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities.

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The Marburg Nautical Archaeology Survey in Saudi Arabia, September 2013

Dr. Rupert Brandmeier examines an amphora sherd.

Dr. Rupert Brandmeier examines an amphora sherd.

The Marburg Survey is pleased to announce that we have received funding for the next survey in September from the Saudi  Commission for Tourism and Antiquities.  This grant, a generous gift for which we are most grateful, covers all of our expenses for two weeks except for airfare.

Our September survey will concentrate on the area of Shoaibah, said to be the ancient harbor for Mecca, where it is known that a few ships of antiquity and the early Islamic period were wrecked. In addition to the underwater survey, we will be searching the shores of the sea and lagoons for signs of harbors and harborage activities.

Now the search for airfare!  We have already received a generous private donation toward this goal, but more is needed–particularly to get my well-deserving students into the field and under the sea.

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