During the academic year of 2013-2014, I completed a Master’s degree in Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southampton, funded by the Honor Frost Foundation. The MA thesis, entitled “Bronze Age and Iron Age Levantine Harbours: an Evaluation of their Maritime Accessibility and Protection”, evaluated the natural affordances of ancient harbours located on the central and southern Phoenician coast, the coast of modern-day Lebanon, in order to point out differences in their maritime accessibility and protection. It provided a detailed approach and a new model by which to examine ancient harbours through winds and waves modelling. A concise version of the methods of analysis employed and a summary of the main results are published in Safadi (2016).
Following the Master’s degree, I started the PhD programme at the University of Southampton in October 2014, funded by the Honor Frost Foundation. The PhD thesis is entitled “the Maritime World of the Early Bronze Age Levant through Space and Time”. This PhD research focuses on the Early Bronze Age (EBA) (c. 3600 to 2000 BC) in the Levant which conventionally marks the first urban period. The Levantine littoral played a major role during the mid-third millennium BC, when maritime connections, particularly with Egypt, became vital. Although archaeological narratives have attempted to explain maritime affairs and social complexity of the EBA Levant, most did not consider the totality of Levantine space; neither appraise the Levantine littoral as a seamless space of sea and land.
This research aims to study the maritime world during the EBA, in its large scale and local scale manifestations on the Levantine littoral, and evaluate the coastal Levant as a space of maritime connectivity and accessibility. It builds on a rhythmical and a time-space analysis of the Levantine basin, and a consolidation of the EBA maritime archaeological record of the area, in order to move beyond notorious social events to social processes, and shift from a static representation of space towards a relational space-time. So far I have been populating a database of EBA sites and material culture related to maritime activities on the Levantine coast. I have also established the theoretical framework of the research and completed the time-space analysis of the Levantine basin for the main EBA sites on the Levantine littoral.
SAFADI, 2016, wind and wave modelling for the evaluation of the maritime accessibility and protection afforded by ancient harbours, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, Volume 5, Pages 348-360.