Sea Us | A new Ph.D. Project

Blog post written by Pimprenelle Atlan, master’s student in Maritime Civilizations graduate program, class of 2015-2016.  

Pimprenelle Atlan excavating at Achziv

Jerusalem, Ashkelon and Megiddo are some of the cities in Israel that feature Middle Bronze Age fortifications (2500-1550 B.C.E.). During the Middle Bronze Ages trade, exchange and contact were growing between remote areas, such as the maritime Aegean on one side and the largely land-locked Mesopotamia, on the other. As these contacts and interactions among the local civilizations grew, their boundaries shifted and changed. The extent of the Middle Bronze Age fortifications could, therefore, be considered military strongholds as well as testimony to the social, political and economic status of these cities.


Pimprenelle Atlan performing underwater survey in Achziv

For my Ph.D., I will carry out a diachronic and comparative study of the Middle Bronze Age fortifications between the Mediterranean coast and Mesopotamia in order to understand the social, political and economic development that took place during this era. By exploring the architecture, materials used, the size of the enclosures and the geographic localization at these different sites, we will gain a better understanding of  the chronology of social processes.


Pimprenelle Atlan excavating at Achziv

The International Master’s program in Maritime Civilizations has been a great boon in preparation for my Ph.D. research and I would like to express my appreciation to Prof. Assaf Yasur-Landau, Dr. Gil GambashDr. Gil Gambash and Dr. Dror Angel for their help. Through the MA program, I have had the opportunity to work at my favorite Israeli archaeological sites, including Tel Dor and Achziv.  Moreover, this program enabled me to fulfill my passion to explore the ties between land and sea with particular emphasis on the Middle Bronze Age in Mesopotamia and along the Mediterranean Coast. The underwater “classroom” (underwater archaeology) was a wonderful and unique setting  in which to examine  yet another aspect of Archaeology,  and to consider the Maritime Civilizations of Israel and their relationship with the sea and sea-trade. Thanks to this program, and contrary to previous plans, I will include the dimension of the sea in my project.


Excavation site in Achziv

Although it has not been easy for a Francophone, this English-spoken program has also: a) helped improve  my English, b) enabled me to study under two different schools of thought; the French and the Israeli-American Scholars of Archaeology and c) explore and appreciate new (for me) fields of science which should both enrich my research and broaden my horizons.


Pinprenelle Atlan and Xavier Desormeau supervising the Area N at Achziv


“Sea US” is a series of posts featuring students from around the world who are taking part in this year’s International Maritime Civilization master’s program.

For more information and opportunities for international students interested in this field, check out the master’s program in Maritime Civilizationsmaster’s program in Maritime Civilizations at the University of Haifa email us at


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s