Tag Archives: underwater archaeology

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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Obituary for Gerhard Kapitän in English

Translated from the DEGUWA German-language obituary:

Born 23 April 1924 in Meissen, Germany, Gerhard Kapitän, after serving in the Second World War, studied graphic design and sculpture at the Dresden Academy of Art before moving to Humboldt University in Berlin where he studied archaeology from 1950 to 1953. In the following years he worked as a freelancer for various cultural organizations in Berlin, and from 1958 to 1961 he belonged to the Research Group for Underwater Archaeology of the German Academy of Sciences, where he worked particularly on the Kemladen, the “robber barons’ castles” of the Mecklenburg Lakes. In 1958 he began a collaboration with the patron and amateur underwater researcher Pier Nicola Gargallo in southeast Sicily.

The construction of the Berlin Wall in August 1961 brought Kapitän to a sharp turning point in his life, as it did to so many people.  Staying abroad, he decided not to return to East Berlin, but to settle in Syracuse, Sicily with the uncertainties of the future that awaited him there. He soon devoted himself intensively with the challenges of building scientific researches underwater in Sicily, making ​​important pioneering work. He earned his living as a representative of a company for nautical instruments, but since 1965 he operated as an independent scholar researching underwater archaeology and the maritime techniques of the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean area. The foci of his activities were in the waters of Southern Italy, Sicily, the Lipari Islands, Malta and Greece. His very extensive studies – more than a hundred scientific papers! –  resulted in the outstanding work on the Marzamemi wreck, which he carried out with the Sicilian Soprintendenza ai Beni Culturali under its director Luigi Bernabo Brea. Here, he discovered significant marble components for an early Christian church of the 6th Century. He worked out as well highly specialized studies for the classification of underwater finds, for example of transport amphorae, lead probes and anchors, and created both an extensive collection of material for  Mediterranean underwater archaeology as well as its own specialist library, which is an important tool for researchers and students in this and related disciplines.

For all that he had no available public funds but he bore all expenses himself, which forced him into a very grueling life. The rewards were a constant scientific dialogue with his counted colleagues and longtime friends that included Bernabo Brea and the recently deceased Honor Frost. Especially, he had at heart the young colleagues of the next generation. He spent much time with them and gave them an inexhaustible source of knowledge and encouragement.

Beginning in 1995 with DEGUWA, Kapitän continued the work begun in the sixties on the Secca di Ognina at Syracuse. Even though he no longer dived, he was often at the dig on board, and there was no sherd that he did not handle himself and archaeologically classify. His curiosity never waned. Among the Greek and Roman transport amphorae, he had an almost personal relationship, and so it is at least a small act of righteousness that the late Roman Amphora types will forever bear his name.

He was particularly interested in the question of the beginnings of boat building and seafaring, which led him to ethnological studies, and from 1985 to 2004 he worked on the documentation and preservation of the traditional watercraft of Sri Lanka. Despite declining health, he visited the island regularly for years and saw the establishment there in 1992 of a maritime museum for the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, he had also learned that this was destroyed by the great tsunami of Christmas 2004. Emerging as the last major fruit of his maritime-anthropological work, and on the basis of the research by G. Grainge with the collaboration of S. Devendra, there was published in 2009 the second volume of the “NAS Monograph Series” entitled “Records of Traditional Watercraft from South and West Sri Lanka.” With this work Kapitän has created a monument to the ancient, traditional vessels of that region, which are now largely displaced by motorized fiberglass boats.

With Gerhard Kapitän nautical and underwater archeology loses one of its greatest pioneers and DEGUWA loses a good, an irreplaceable friend.

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Gerhard Kapitan departs for the Distant Shore

A legendary figure in nautical archaeology/ethnography passed away on 25 November 2011.  You can see the obituary here:  http://www.deguwa.org/data/File/Nachruf%20Kapitaen.pdf

Gerhard Kapitan was one of the pioneers of nautical research, perhaps most famous in our circles for his investigation of the Marzememi Church Wreck, although his other works– his studies of the Sri Lankan Oruwa are among my favorites– are equally as important.  There is a nice article from The Sunday Times here: http://sundaytimes.lk/090524/Plus/sundaytimesplus_14.html

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