In mid-September 2018, with grant support from the Honor Frost Foundation (HFF) the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) delivered a training event in Lebanon, the course was held in the south of the country at Sidon under the guidance of Dr Wissam Kalil, Associate Professor of the Department of Arts and Archaeology at the Lebanese University in Sidon (Saida). The 2018 event, followed on from the success of the first Nautical Archaeology
Society (NAS) course run in Lebanon during September 2017
Feedback from the 2017 course recommended that any similar course planned for the future should be extended from a 4-day course (2-days theory and dry practical exercises & 2-days underwater practical exercises) to a 7-day course (4-days theory and dry practical exercises & 3-days underwater practical exercises).
As all the students have Arabic as their first language, it was also recommended that, as the courses are run in English, having some material translated from English into Arabic would be beneficial.
In this respect, in addition to generously funding the dive training and the cost of running the 2018 course, the HFF also kindly offered to provide the funding for the translation of the NAS eLearning courses “Introduction to Maritime Archaeology” and “Underwater Archaeology”. This was a very ambitious task, and at the commencement of the 2018 course only the summary of the two online courses and 4 of the 5 lessons from the “Introduction to Maritime Archaeology” course were ready to be presented to the students. The students were provided with handouts from these two courses in Arabic.
The seven-day event included the NAS Recorder Skills course on Underwater Archaeology and the NAS Surveyor Skills course on Underwater Archaeology for recreational divers and diving students of archaeology interested in maritime archaeology in the region. Those who attended this event were all given access to the English versions of the NAS eLearning ‘Introduction to Maritime Archaeology and Underwater Archaeology’ courses after the training event. NAS Recorder and Surveyor Skills courses are a great place to start and take place on land or underwater. On the Recorder Skills course students learnt how to record a site through sketching, photography and video, and on the NAS Surveyor Skills course they learnt how to complete a 2D survey of a site and how to use a planning frame to produce a scale drawing.
As was the case for the 2017 season, most of the 10-students that originally signed up for the 2018 course were non-divers, so prior to our arrival, local dive instructor Mario Kozaily ran open water dive courses for those that required the necessary training.
After two NAS events, there are now 17-students in Lebanon who all dive, have received NAS training and are enthusiastic about continuing in the field of Maritime Archaeology. While the team were in Sidon this year, they floated the idea with Wissam that possibly all 17-students could be put in contact with each other and encouraged to set up a foreshore and underwater maritime archaeology internet group with the intention of continuing with their own personal skills development, but also with the furtherance and advancement of the UCH in Lebanon.
“Learning to dive is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Earning my SSI scuba international and NAS certification changed the way I see the world, both above and below the surface. Our Mediterranean sea is full of secrets. Buried beneath the deep waters, lie the ruins of fascinating and marvellous relics long forgotten from ancient kingdoms and civilizations. My real passion though is for maritime archaeology, I’m always wondering what is hiding in deep waters and I can say that this is also something that motivates me to pursue this underwater archaeology dream. My future challenges will continue and expand; I will work on building the link between maritime archaeology and research project in maritime archaeology in Lebanon and abroad”. Fatima Sonbol
“This is my big challenge in my life; it changed my plans for future and all my directions. These seven days were wonderful, where I met the most amazing people Ian and Dave, I learned a lot from them, and I met new colleagues where we had an amazing time together.
The NAS training, ended all my fears from the sea and underwater, and open a new aspiration for the future. It helped me to understand the relations between the underwater and terrestrial sites. Moreover it shows for the Lebanese students how important is to help and preserve the nautical heritage and to act as a focus for nautical archaeology.
This experience it means a lot to me, I want to use it like a new way and new direction for the future. I hope to continue my postgraduate studies in this new field and all subjects related with “maritime archaeology “, and take a chance to join a maritime project (in Lebanon and abroad) and another dive training”. Sirine Ghiye
Read the full report on the 2018 summer school here – Final report 2018