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
The Red Sea Institute for Anthropological Research is pleased to announce the creation of its journal for the study of the Red Sea and surrounding regions. The journal will be peer reviewed and published online beginning in 2017. We welcome submissions on the anthropological fields–anthropology, archaeology, and ethnography, as well as history when pertinent to the aforementioned disciplines.
For more information visit http://www.redseainstitute.org/the-red-sea-journal.html
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.
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.