The HFF Team in Lebanon
The recent growing coastal urbanization in Lebanon has constituted one of the main threats to the coastal and underwater archaeological resource in the country. The Honor Frost Foundation has therefore combined efforts with the Directorate of Antiquities, Ministry of Culture, Lebanon in order to contribute to the study, inventory, protection, conservation, and management of the country’s maritime heritage. HFF has established a team of five members including: Dr. Lucy Semaan, Dr. Stephen McPhilipps, Dr. Enzo Cocca, Dr. Nicholas Carayon, and Mr. Mario Kozaily.
The main objective of the team is to efficiently respond to the needs in case of rescue archaeology sites. While combining both terrestrial and underwater archaeological interventions, the team adopts a seamless approach between land and sea to the study of the maritime environment and its material and immaterial culture. To that end, several methods are deployed ahead of development projects at targeted sites such as coastal and underwater diver-based surveying, the application of remote-sensing technologies and photogrammetry recording, as well as generating a digital database and a GIS platform.
When Frost first came to Lebanon in 1957 she dived at numerous underwater sites, which she either had personal knowledge of or learnt about from local maritime communities. Her main interests included coastal landscapes, harbor archaeology, shipwrecks, site formation processes, and a typology of anchors, all focused on the major three ancient harbors in Lebanon, Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos. However, she also undertook surveys in smaller towns on the Lebanese coast. She believed in a multi-disciplinary approach to archaeology, looking beyond the object to understand the community that produced it. She also demonstrated an understanding of the intrinsic link between archaeology and sea-level changes coupled with other geological factors. Hence, the HFF Lebanon team is carrying on from Honor Frost’s work in the country by assisting Lebanese archaeologists operating in coastal environments and filling in the expertise gaps where needed.
The Honor Frost team in Lebanon also endeavors to develop local capacity through raising the profile of the different stakeholders and create awareness towards Lebanon’s maritime heritage. This aspect of the HFF Lebanon team echoes Honor Frost’s vision. Indeed, when Angela Croome described Honor Frost, she said Frost used her “attention to and flair in nurturing the young”, It thus important for our local team to shape the minds and skills of Lebanese archaeologists with a penchant for maritime archaeology.
Dr Lucy Semaan is HFF’s maritime archaeologist in Lebanon who obtained her MA in Maritime Archaeology from the University of Southampton, UK (2007) and her PhD from the University of Exeter, UK (2014). She first met Honor Frost at the 2008 TROPIS X symposium in Hydra, Greece. Having been involved in the field of archaeology since 1996, Lucy was exposed to maritime archaeology primarily through the work and research of Honor Frost. She has been collaborating with the Honor Frost Foundation since its inception in its capacity building initiatives, and secured a three year HFF funded post-doctoral fellowship from 2015-2018 at the University of Balamand, Lebanon.
Stephen McPhillips is a landscape archaeologist whose research interests focus on rural society and hydro-agricultural and ceramic technologies of medieval and Ottoman periods. He has worked on projects in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and the Arabian Gulf. He completed his PhD on Islamic material culture at the University of Sydney in 2006, in collaboration with the Syrian-French Citadel of Damascus Project. He worked as an Assistant Professor at the University of Copenhagen, a fellow at the University of Bonn, and an independent consultant before joining the Honor Frost Foundation in March 2019.
Sergio Kesrouwani was first introduced to maritime archaeology during Dr. Lucy Blue’s presentation in AUB, Beirut (2017) and has since been involved with HFF supported field projects and dive courses. He obtained his MA in Maritime Archaeology from the University of Southampton, UK (2019), after having been awarded a scholarship from the HFF. His research focused on Levantine ports development during Late antiquity. Afterwards, he returned to Lebanon where he soon joined the HFF Lebanon team, as a maritime archaeologist, contributing in research and field work there.
Enzo Cocca is a GIS Expert in underwater and terrestrial survey for the Honor Frost Foundation in Lebanon. He has worked in many countries across the MiddleEast, Africa and Central Asia. From 2016 to 2019 he was Project manager of the Al-Khutm UNESCO site (Bat- Oman). His main research interests and professional skills are prehistory, archaeology, Bronze age, lithics, archaeological data management, spatial databases, geostatistics, GIS, burial practices in Arabia, social complexity, subsistence strategies in arid and coastal environments. https://www.adarteinfo.it/
Nicolas Carayon is an archaeologist and geoarchaeologist specialising in harbour and coastal areas. He is based at Marseille at the Ipso Facto company (http://ipsofacto.coop). He successfully defended a PhD entitled “Phoenicians and Punics ports. Geomorphology and Infrastructures” in 2008 at the Strasbourg University. He has been involved in several coastal project in Lebanon since 2002 and he is now in charge of the geoarchaeological approach to the lebanese coastline in relationship with the different Honor Frost Foundation funded project in Lebanon.
Mario Kozaily is the HFF Lebanon chief diver, he is both a recreational and technical diving instructor and has been participating in several underwater archaeological projects since 2013 in Anfeh, Beirut Damour, Sidon, Adloun, Zahrani, Kharayeb as chief diver and logistics management.
Naseem Raad is a maritime archaeologist currently serving as the Academic Coordinator for the Marine Sciences and Culture Minor at the American University of Beirut. He acquired an MA in Archaeology from the American University of Beirut (2015), an MA in Maritime Archaeology from the University of Southampton (2016), and successfully defended a PhD entitled 'Roman Beirut: An Analysis of Economic Systems and Maritime Commercial Networks' in 2020 at the University of Southampton. His research centres around historical economics and maritime trade routes in the eastern Mediterranean, with a particular focus on the olive oil and wine industries in the Classical Period.