Changing Urban Environments and the Impact on Coastal Cultural Heritage at Marsa Matruh, Egypt

Nick Ray, Julia Nikolaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


This paper examines the impact of urban expansion on coastal heritage in and around the port-city of Marsa Matruh on the northwest coast of Egypt. The city is located along a series of lagoons that have offered safe harbor for ships since antiquity. Over the last 80 years Marsa Matruh has developed from a small settlement of a few houses into a large port city that sprawls along the lagoons and further inland. The continuous growth has damaged or destroyed many of the remains of previous human occupation, including ancient harbor facilities. Evidence suggests that people have lived around these lagoons since at least the Bronze Age and a port town developed in the classical period on this important crossroad for transport and trade. Based on previous publications, historical aerial photographs and satellite imagery, this illustrates the range of heritage that once was present, from the ancient settlement, harbor, and rock cut tombs to remains from the two World Wars. It demonstrates how urban expansion has affected those sites and discusses the threats to coastal heritage to the west of Marsa Matruh, where new construction projects have recently emerged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445–464
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Maritime Archaeology
Issue number3
Early online date26 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding: MarEA is funded by Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Maritime archaeology
  • Egypt
  • Marsa Matruh
  • Remote Sensing
  • Heritage Management
  • Coastal archaeology
  • Heritage management
  • Remote sensing


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