Naseem Raad - 2015-2016 - University of Southampton MA Scholar

Naseem Raad, a Lebanese archaeologist, was awarded the studentship by the HFF in 2015 to complete an MA in Maritime Archaeology. Naseem completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Davis in Classical Studies, Economics, and Archaeology. He continued his studies at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, where he completed an MA in Roman Archaeology. Naseem’s research is based on the production and distribution of olive oil, wine and fish sauce along the Levantine seaboard in the Roman period, and the maritime world in which this trade was conducted.

At Southampton, Naseem has focused on better understanding the maritime environment along the Levantine coast to contextualise the archaeological evidence. This research involves characterising Roman harbours along the Levantine coast and considering their accessibility based on wind and wave patterns in the region. As trade was primarily conducted through maritime transportation, it is useful to better understand the ports that facilitated this commercial activity.

Based on the natural maritime environment, there are certain sailing routes that would have been most efficient for merchants traveling in the eastern Mediterranean. Naseem has compared the distribution of some archaeological material in Lebanon, Cyprus and Syria to these “natural” routes to better understand the driving forces behind maritime commercial activity in the Roman period. Roman merchants sailing in the eastern Mediterranean had a good understanding of wind and wave activity but often did not utilise the most efficient route. Naseem’s research aims to explain why this is the case specifically along the Levantine seaboard by contextualising the evidence within the political and social spheres of the Roman Levant.