Maritime Civilizations | The 2014/2015 Journey, by Amanda Holdeman

When I look at today’s date I am completely blown away that we started the journey through the Maritime Civilizations program only 3 months ago. Since this is my first post I want to talk about as many highlights of our program as possible, but to err is human and we have been so immersed in the program that some things might slip through the cracks.


Our international Maritime Civilizations program for this year consists of eight students. Since that is such a small number we basically do everything for the program together. We attend mostly the same classes, go on the same field trips, work on the same projects, take the same tests, etc. That makes it impossible to talk about all the experiences the program has given without speaking as a group. But here’s a little run-down on our group…

  • Andrew Baronette from Quebec, Canada. Currently researching the economics of pottery imports in the Levant.
  • Ax Dillingham from South Carolina, United States. Currently researching the role of Islamic coastal fortifications on local communities of Islamic-era Palestine.
  • Tuvia Dulin from Alaska, United States. Currently researching rhodoliths in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Amanda Holdeman from Ohio, United States. Currently researching origins of ballast and building stones found in the North Bay of Tel Dor, Israel.
  • Kyle Murray from California, United States. Currently researching the influence of Islamic architecture in North America by examining ribats.
  • Isaac Ogloblin from Madrid, Spain. Currently researching chemical and mineralogical changes that occur in ceramics found underwater.
  • Elizabeth Sloane from Illinois, United States. Currently researching sea excavation plans during the Roman period.
  • Inbar Scharf from Washington DC, United States. Currently researching trade routes during Roman period Israel.


Well, the short answer is,  a lot.

Our program is absolutely amazing. Not only have we been learning a lot from our professors in a “normal” classroom setting, but we’ve also been able to do a lot of hands-on training too.  Since this is a maritime civilizations program, a lot of what we do in the field happens underwater. So our first step is to learn what we have to do on land. You can see us here measuring stone anchors and taking elevations on campus. (Photos courtesy of Inbar Scharf).

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Then we took to the sea! In case you were wondering, it’s a lot harder to do work when there are waves crashing on you every 10 seconds..

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You might be thinking to yourself, “Ok, so they’re planning on the beach and in the waves, great. But I thought there would be more underwater archaeology happening!” Dont worry, Our heads definately did go under the water! Though not mandatory for the program, most of us have some form of SCUBA certification. In order to do any kind of diving, we all had to go through a “check-out” dive in Akko. After many cancellations due to the weather, we finally got to dive in Akko Bay last week.


All of this is leading up to a survey we will be doing next week at Tel Dor. Stayed tuned for the thrilling conclusion..

One of the really great aspects of our course work is the multi-disciplinary nature. Most of us came into the program focusing on archaeology or history, but in our first semester we had a lot of exposure to the ecology of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as an introduction to working in a lab examining algae and plankton. (Photos courtesy of Inbar Scharf, Udi Shalev and Anya Filatova)


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