The Ma‘agan Mikhael B shipwreck, dated to the 7th–8th century AD, is located about 70 m off the Israeli coast, at a maximum depth of 2.2 m, buried under 1.5 m of sand. The shipwreck is 19.6 m long between extremities, and maximum 4.9 m wide. Three underwater excavation seasons have been conducted in May and December 2016 and September 2017 by the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies of the University of Haifa. The location of the site is challenging, due to a small island which creates a meeting point between the offshore (southwest)current and a local (north-west) current and a disturbed sea. Hence, out of 44 potential excavation days, work was possible on only 21 days. Read the full report
This document represents the condensed final report to the Honor Frost Foundation. It aims at confirming the conclusion of the project, funded by the HFF through their grants programme. The description below represents a non-technical summary, briefly describing the rationale behind the fieldwork which was funded through the HFF grant. It also contains relevant contextual information. A brief excavation report has been submitted to the “Hadashot Archaeologiot” – Excavations and Surveys, published in Israel as is required by the permit under which the field activities have taken place (that report is currently in press). A proper scientific paper has been written and is currently in final stages for submission to an international peer reviewed academic publication. The HFF will be acknowledged appropriately in all publications arising from this activity and publications will be sent to the HFF upon publication.
The Ma‘agan Mikhael ship was discovered off the Mediterranean coast of Israel in 1985. It was excavated for three seasons in 1988 and 1989 by the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies at the University of Haifa, with the late E. Linder as the head of the project. A significant portion of the wooden hull of the ship, 11.15 m long, 3.11 m wide and 1.5 m deep, survived. The ship was dated to about 400 BC. Due to the significance of the archaeological find, the hull and its contents were excavated, retrieved from the seabed, conserved and reassembled. The ship and the finds are exhibited in the Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa, Israel.
The following parts of the wooden hull survived: the entire keel; the false keel; both endposts; sections of strakes – 12 on the starboard side (including two wales) and 7 on the port side; two knees (one at each end); parts of 14 full-frames, futtocks and top timbers; a central stringer resembling a keelson; the mast step assemblage; fragments of carlings; and four stanchions.
Most of the hull was made of softwood, Pinus brutia. The tenons and their pegs, the false keel and the anchor were made of hardwood, mostly Quercus spp. The hull was built by the shell-first method, meaning that the strakes were connected edge-to-edge by closely spaced mortise-and-tenon joints locked by tapered pegs. There were no traces of caulking material between the planks. After the planking was completed, knees were nailed to the keel and endposts, and the planks were sewn at bow and stern to the keel, knees, and endposts. The pre-assembled frames were then fixed to the planking by double-clenched copper nails. Frames rested on the keel and the knees, but were not connected to them. The hull was coated inside and outside with a mixture of pine resin and esparto wax or beeswax. The evidence indicates that the hull was built in a Greek (Phocaean) shipbuilding tradition.
The original merchant ship, as reconstructed, was 14.4 m long, with a beam of 4.24 m, and 2.6 m depth amidships. She had eighteen strakes, including three wales. Fully loaded with a cargo capacity of 15.9 tons, she displaced 22.9 tons, with a draught of 1.4 m. She was driven by a single square sail. The hydrostatic characteristics of the proposed design were tested by the Israel Administration of Shipping and Ports, and found to comply with present-day requirements for stability and seaworthiness.
The wreck of the ship was discovered in the sea off Kibbutz Ma‘agan Mikhael on the coast of Israel in 1985, and it was excavated in 1988 and 1989 by the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies at the University of Haifa. The aim of this research project is to build a full-scale sailing replica […]
Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies, University of Haifa The aim of this research project is to build a full-scale sailing replica of the Ma‘agan Mikhael ship, based on the archaeological find and as faithful as possible to it, using the same materials and techniques as the ancient shipwrights. The original inspiration for the project […]
The reports of Dr Michael Jasmin about the Tel Achziv Excavation Project in Israel. Tel Achziv is situated on a major route connecting the Phoenician kingdoms and the southern Levantine coasts, which dictated its important role in the settlement layout. Our renewed excavations since 2014 emphasize the understanding of the architecture and urbanism of the city through the Bronze and the Iron Ages.
Tel Achziv is situated on a major route connecting the Phoenician kingdoms and the southern Levantine coasts, which dictated its important role in the settlement layout. Our renewed excavations since 2014 emphasize the understanding of the architecture and urbanism of the city through the Bronze and the Iron Ages. The site constitutes a perfect case study for the […]
The Site Tel Achziv is situated on the northern coast of Israel on a natural coastal sandstone ridge to the south of Nahal Kziv (Wadi Qarn) and to the north of Nahal Sha’al, some 14 km north of Acco and 25 km south of Tyre. As a multi-period site Tel Achziv has been occupied since […]
Tel Achziv (Tell ez-Zib) (1598.2726 Israel Coordination Map) is situated on a natural coastal sandstone (kurkar) ridge to the south of Nahal Kziv (Wadi Qarn)and to the north of Nahal Sha’al, some 14 km north of Acco and 25 km south of Tyre. The multi-period site of Achziv occupied between 55-70 dunams, (5.5-7 ha). Situated […]
An underwater survey of the area near Tel Achziv (Tell ez-Zib) took part between the 22-26 of February 2015 under the auspices of the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology, Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem and the University of Haifa (G-15/2015). Permit holders were Yifat Thareani and Assaf Yasur-Landau. Logistic support for the survey was provided by the Maritime Workshop of the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies, University of Haifa.
Read Preliminary Report