Al Mina Maritime Cultural Landscape Project (MMCLP) 2022 - Ongoing
Lucy Semaan and Nicolas Carayon
The Al Mina Maritime Cultural Landscape Project (MMCLP) is an interdisciplinary and multi-phased research and rescue project aiming at documenting and understanding the diachronic development of the intrinsic relationship between local communities and their maritime environment through time. Despite being the second largest harbour city in Lebanon after the capital Beirut, Al Mina and its heritage have been largely been neglected since the civil war period in Lebanon (1975-1990) and have been under substantial natural and anthropogenic stress due to: intense storm-driven events in recent years; new port developments; growing garbage dumping in the nearshore zone; the rapid expansion of the surrounding conurbation; and changes within the old town of Al Mina itself.
The project operates under the scientific direction of Dr Lucy Semaan with the co-direction of Dr Nicolas Carayon, in collaboration with national and international scholars and the DGA-North Lebanon region.
In November 2021, the HFF Lebanon team visited the site of the Roman quay at Al-Mina that was excavated in the 1980s by Hassan Salame-Sarkis. The site was found inside a residential neighbourhood. It lies approximately 200 meters east of the current coast and 150 meters from the natural coast. Carayon and Semaan put together a proposal for a geophysical survey using GPR and ERT equipment in order to identify buried features. The HFF team then made a visual inspection of a quarry site on the southern coast of Al-Mina in an effort to preliminary identify possible evidence of sea level change since antiquity and gather more information for a future proposal that would consider a wider survey of the Al-Mina waterfront.
A marine geophysical survey of the coastal and offshore waters of the Al Mina peninsula and the Palm Islands Archipelago was conducted in 2022, using a multibeam echosounder and a sidescan sonar. The aim was to establish the bathymetry map and the characterisation of the seabed as well as to identify targets of archaeological significance. The data from this campaign was processed by MSDS Marine Ltd. Remaining areas from the survey are currently being surveyed in the 2023 season.
The Honor Frost Foundation-Lebanon team in collaboration with GEOPAT and IPSO-FACTO conducted a multidisciplinary terrestrial geophysical and geomorphological fieldwork campaign at the site of Al Mina-Tripoli in North Lebanon from 27 February to 12 March 2023. The campaign focused on six main study axes:
- The general evolution of the coastline from since 1963
- A preliminary re-assessment of harbouring potential at Al Mina
- The recording of palaeosealevel indicators such as erosion platforms and notches, coastal quarries, and associated features on the peninsula and Palm Island and Ramkine Island
- A rapid survey of anthropogenic remains on the foreshore of the peninsula and Al Baqar Island
- A geophysical survey at the Roman Quay harbour site using GPR and ERT technologies.
- Three sediment cores at the Roman Quay harbour site
The survey yielded positive results, and more information about this campaign would be revealed after official publication.