Marine Archaeology Goes Underwater with GIS
The topic of this study is Tel Shiqmona, a coastal site where human activity dated from the Late Bronze Age, c. 15001200 BCE, to the Arab period, c. 636640 CE. The site is located 1.3 km southwest of the Carmel Cape at the southern tip of Haifa Bay, Israel. The view from Tel Shiqmona on a clear day extends from Atlit in the south to Akko in the north. The elevation and size of the mound, combined with its proximity to the coast, lend to its advantage as a nearshore observation point commanding an extended view in all directions to the sea. However, there are many unanswered questions regarding the reasons for the longevity of Tel Shiqmona as a coastal site of the eastern Mediterranean. Why would the site be located on this coastal perch isolated from the inland trade routes and exposed to the elements of wind and sea? To address this and other questions, this study focused specifically on the potential for maritime activity at Tel Shiqmona during the Persian Period (538 BCE332 BCE). The goal of the research was twofold: (1) to establish the parameters of port capabilities or deficiencies at Tel Shiqmona by examining the coastal platform and shallow continental shelf using a GIS as the primary tool and (2) to examine the material ceramic culture of Tel Shiqmona as an indication of maritime trade with coastal sites of the eastern Mediterranean region during the Persian Period (see Figure 1).