The underwater Neolithic site at Tel Hreiz, off the Carmel Coast of Israel, offers a unique and unprecedented opportunity to study prehistoric human response to sea-level rise in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Although known in very basic detail for several years, recent chance exposures at Tel Hreiz (caused by winter storms) have demonstrated that this site is exceptional. In addition to material culture (pottery and stone tools), flora and faunal remains (including domesticated and non-domesticate species), there are also newly discovered built structures, stone lined cist graves (some of which have been excavated by nature and some of which remain intact) and impressively a unique, long boulder structure (ca. 80 m in length), representing what appears to be a very early coastal defence during a time of rapid sea-level rise in the early and middle Holocene.
Here, the underwater archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean has the rare opportunity to contribute to the study of prehistoric human-environment interaction, and particularly how people adapted to the changing shores and landward advancement of the sea during the Neolithic. This project will use traditional underwater archaeological methods to survey, record and analyse this site that represents past climate change and coastal inundation, a timely topic that is significant in a modern and global context. Modern digital 3D recording methods will also be employed for recording and dissemination.