The Department of Maritime Civilizations is a unique Department that focuses on interdisciplinary studies, the combination of the Humanities and Sciences and provides a comprehensive approach to the study of coasts and the sea.
The Department offers graduate study programs (MA, PhD) within the fields of Coastal and Underwater Archaeology, Maritime History, Coastal and Marine Geomorphology, Marine Biology and Marine Resources.
Coastal and Underwater Archaeology
Underwater, nautical and coastal archaeology is devoted to the study of human cultures and maritime activities, especially in the Mediterranean context. In the Department of Maritime Civilizations, students research coastal settlements, harbours, remains of shipwrecks and cargoes, as well as art and literary sources. Numerous sites are spread along the Israeli Mediterranean coast, among them Caesarea Maritima, the Tantura Lagoon, Dor, Nami, Atlit, Abu Hawam and Akko (Acre), which offer a unique opportunity for coastal and underwater archeological research. We also study the Turkish coast at Liman Tepe, as part of a joint project with Ankara University. These studies are carried out with the support and close co-operation of the staff, laboratories and the underwater workshop of the Recanati Institute of Maritime Studies (RIMS).
The study of Maritime History covers periods ranging from ancient times to recent historical periods, focusing on maritime trade and legal and military history. Study and research are based on inquiry of written sources such as classical literature and poetry, coins, inscriptions and other written documents. The main challenge of maritime history within the Department of Maritime Civilizations and the Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies is to investigate the Mediterranean as a network of ports, maritime empires and seafaring routes. From early texts, such as the Iliad and the Odyssey, through documents from the Cairo Geniza, up to modern pilot books, we obtain accounts of the role played by ships and the seafarers in the Mediterranean region.
Coastal and Marine Geomorphology
Within the Department of Maritime Civilizations, an interdisciplinary approach is implemented when studying coastal and marine geomorphology. Sedimentological, stratigraphical, geophysical and biological analyses are used, as well as archeological and historical data, in order to reconstruct past coastal environments and past locations of the coastline over geological and historical time scales. Reconstructing the past environmental conditions is essential for a better understanding of human settlement processes. Given recent concerns about global environmental changes, such research provides clues about how coastal environments might affect humankind in the future.
Marine Biology and Marine Resources
Students studying Marine Biology at the Department of Maritime Civilizations are engaged in field and laboratory research of organisms ranging from sponges to marine mammas, combining recent biological and ecological processes and historical data on the use of marine resources in the past. Moreover, graduate students learn how humankind exploited sea life in the past, and explore the ways to continue using coastal and oceanic resources in a sustainable way. x