The University of Southampton and Ulster University, in partnership with Oxford University, have received a grant of £2 million from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, to support the MarEA (Maritime Endangered Archaeology) project.
MarEA aims to rapidly and comprehensively document and assess threats to the maritime and coastal archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa.
Maritime heritage sites in this region face many threats, particularly from conflict, rising sea-levels partly caused by climate change, and urban and industrial development. The protection and preservation of these sites is vital for increasing our understanding of maritime cultural heritage and for the potential benefits which heritage could bring to economic prosperity in the region. However, in many cases, extant research is fragmented, essential baseline data on site location, condition and threats are absent, and local agencies may lack the specialist expertise to deal with both maritime heritage sites and/or coastal and marine processes.
Over a five-year period, Dr. Lucy Blue from the University of Southampton’s Centre for Maritime Archaeology and Dr. Colin Breen from Ulster University’s School of Geography and Environmental Sciences will lead a team to study satellite imagery, published data and archival information from coastal and nearshore zones across the MENA region. The collected data and the condition assessments for all analysed sites will be added to the open access database platform of the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA) project hosted by the University of Oxford.