Friday, March 22, 2019

Select Publications by Red Sea Institute Personnel

Select Publications by Red Sea Institute Personnel
The institute was founded in the fall of 2014 and chartered in the city of Lansing in the state of Michigan, USA as a private    non-profit organization.
We are a 501 (c) (3) non-profit charity corporation as registered with the United States Internal Revenue Service.
Donations are tax deductible.

Our purpose is to promote the scientific inquiry of the Red Sea and surrounding areas-- focusing on the subjects of anthropology, archaeology, ethnography, and history--to further our knowledge of the zone and its peoples, to bring into better understanding the intercourse between Africa and Southwestern Asia from the earliest times into the present, and to provide opportunities for research. 

Our goal is to increase mankind’s knowledge of Red Sea maritime activities of the past and present. 

Our intent is to create a better understanding of the dynamics of intercultural maritime connections and exchange, the involved ship-building and engineering technologies, maritime exploitation strategies of coastal peoples and their environmental adaptability to arid coastal zones, as well as maritime migration from the prehistoric period into the modern era.

Between Castrum and Medina: A Preliminary Note on Spatial Organisation and Urban Development in Medieval Aqaba.
By Kristoffer Damgaard

The results of archaeological field work conducted between the 23rd of January and the 6th of March 2008 at the Early Islamic site of Aylah, located in Aqaba in southern Jordan. The excavations were part of a larger international scientific venture known as the Islamic Aqaba Project (henceforth IAP), which was directed by Prof. Dr. Johnny De Meulemeester (University of Gent), and included an international staff from Belgium, France, Spain, Canada, Jordan and Denmark. The project grew out of the Belgian-British and later Belgian-French Aqaba Castle Project (ACP), whose groundbreaking work revealed that the castle site, and indeed Aqaba in general, had far more complex patterns of occupation than hitherto imagined, and that a reevaluation of the area’s settlement history was crucial. In order to establish a more comprehensive occupational framework, steps were taken to expand the scope of archaeological investigation to include the Early Islamic site of Aylah as well. These are the results of the first season of field work conducted here.
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A Preliminary Report on a Coastal and Underwater Survey in the Area of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
By Ralph K. Pedersen

In March 2012, Philipps-Universität Marburg conducted a 12-day survey along a section of the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia reaching from Rabigh in the north to al-Shoaiba in the south. As the beginning of a five-year archaeological project, with the author as principal investigator, this preliminary venture sought to define the logistical situation and to discover any sites of archaeological importance that may exist within the zone. The survey included the search for and the examination of harbor sites, as well as shipwrecks. Sites of antiquity and the Early Islamic period were of particular interest. The results of the survey included the discovery of a harbor and a shipwreck of the late third or the fourth century that contained Roman amphoras, among other objects. This project was created by institute vice president Dr. Rupert Brandmeier.
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The Byzantine-Aksumite Period Shipwreck at Black Assarca Island, Eritrea.
By Ralph K. Pedersen

In 1997, the author conducted an excavation of a shipwreck of late antiquity off a desert island in the southern Red Sea. The wreck carried a cargo of amphoras of three types, all of the kind now called "Aqaba ware". The wreck is the oldest yet excavated in the Red Sea and has yielded new insights into seafaring and trade of the period.
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Under the Erythraean Sea: An Ancient Shipwreck in Eritrea.
By Ralph K. Pedersen

An article from the INA Quarterly about the shipwreck at Black Assarca Island.
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A Palestinian Red Sea Port on the Egyptian Road to Arabia: Early Islamic Aqaba and its Many Hinterlands. 
By Kristoffer Damgaard

This article argues that many forms of hinterland exist, and that it is possible to formulate an analytical methodology based on tiered levels. Examples could be 'political', in the sense of adminstrative affiliation and/or subordinance to centres of political power, economic, in regard to a site's position within relevant economic networks; or ethnoconceptual, that is pertaining to the perceived identities of a locality's occupants.
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Finding Fatimid Jordan: A Reinterpretation of Aylah's 'Fatimid Residence'.
By Kristoffer Damgaard

Fatimid rule in Bilad al-Sham is relatively well understood in regard to major events at important socio-political centres, however, ordinary life in its more peripheral parts remains poorly documented and only superficially examined. Southern Jordan, here defined as the area between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, is one such region. In the 10th century CE this area was known as al-Sharat. While military control over this area often depended on political circumstances elsewhere, it remained important as both a transit corridor between the Fatimid heartland in Egypt and the major urban centres of Syria-Palestine (e.g. Damascus, Ramlah or Jerusalem), but also as a productive agricultural region.3 Understanding the history of this region is thus highly desirable, as it on one hand will help illuminate the impact of Fatimid hegemony on local communities and, on the other, may assist in explaining the dynamics between Fatimid, Saljuq, Frankish and local political elites. Regrettably, relevant historical sources for Fatimid South Jordan prior to the first Crusader incursions around 1100 CE are scant, and this has led scholarship to perceive the region as culturally and economically secondary to Egypt and Palestine.
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Nabataean Seafaring and  the Search for Shipwrecks in the Red Sea
Ralph K. Pedersen and Rupert A. Brandmeier
The Second Conference on Nabataean Culture, Provo, Utah, USA, May 2015
Published in: Studies on the Nabataean Culture II. Nabil I Khairy, editor.
​Published by the Deanship of Scientific Research, The University of Jordan-Amman (2016), pp. 11-24.

Abstract: Seafaring by the Nabataeans is virtually an archaeological unknown: Indeed, in the corpus of Nabataean studies the issue is not widely addressed. The inhabitants of what is now northwestern Saudi Arabia and southern Jordan are mostly known for their rock-carved buildings and tombs, at least in popular venues. Ancient authors noted, however, that Nabataeans plied the waters of the Red Sea as traders or pirates, maintaining their major port at Leuke Kome, whose location remains undiscovered. Several harbors containing Nabataean aspects have been located along the Saudi coast through archaeological investigation, yet the study of the maritime aspects and accomplishments of the Nabataeans remains in its infancy. Nautical Archaeology in the Red Sea is also in its early stages, but research has begun to reveal the ships of antiquity and the cargoes they carried. This paper outlines the archaeological researches of shipwrecks in the Red Sea, and examines the potential of finding the remains of Nabataean sea craft on the sea lanes reaching from Aqaba to points along the Red Sea littorals.  
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 Echoes of Nabataean Seafaring
Ralph K .Pedersen
The Ancient Near East Today
February 2018
Vol. VI, no. 2. 

When one thinks of the Nabataeans, the desert comes to mind, with wind-blown sands, the red rock-cut architecture of their capital of Petra, and trade routes carrying incense from Arabia to the Mediterranean. There is, however, another aspect of the Nabataeans, one that is only now coming into focus: Seafaring.
The land of the Nabataeans not only included the Jordanian desert but the coast of the Red Sea, reaching southward from Aqaba and down into the northwestern coast of what is now Saudi Arabia. These coasts, mostly barren but containing harbors and access to water, were links to inland trade routes and formed the maritime nexus between Nabataea and the greater world.

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