When one thinks of the Nabataeans, the desert comes to mind, with wind-blown sands, the red rock-cut architecture of their capital of Petra, and trade routes carrying incense from Arabia to the Mediterranean. There is, however, another aspect of the Nabataeans, one that is only now coming into focus: Seafaring.
The land of the Nabataeans not only included the Jordanian desert but the coast of the Red Sea, reaching southward from Aqaba and down into the northwestern coast of what is now Saudi Arabia. These coasts, mostly barren but containing harbors and access to water, were links to inland trade routes and formed the maritime nexus between Nabataea and the greater world.
See the full article at http://www.asor.org/anetoday/2018/02/Echoes-Nabataean-Seafaring
This is a video about the underwater project we ran in 2013 in Beirut, Lebanon. It not only covers the archaeology of the site but our efforts to build cooperation with the local sport diving community. The good folks at the Calypso Diving Center at the Movenpick Hotel in Beirut played a key part in the project! The project was funded by the Honor Frost Foundation and the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, with further aid and support from Jubaili Brothers and the American University of Beirut, as well as the support of the Directorate General of Antiquities.
Our team consisted of Lucy Semaan, Rupert Brandmeier, Monica Jubayli, and Dorothy Chakra.
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.
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
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.