As a result of its geographic location, cultural diversity and historical trajectory, the Gaza strip is a key zone of scholarly enquiry and has a central role in the historical, social, political, economic, legislative and environmental discourses for the wider region. Existing historical knowledge of Gaza is dominated by combative narrative trends that emphasise the events of the 20th and 21st centuries and invoke archaeology extensively. In this context, cycles of material preservation and damage—often accompanying other forms of violence—have attracted the attention of academics and international media. Among the corollaries of this situation, is the destruction and marginalisation of vulnerable cultural heritage, particularly maritime cultural heritage, which is subjected to additional environmental, climatic, and anthropogenic pressures. As a means of countering the challenges on current field research in the region and to further assess the damage and threats faced by archaeological fabric, this paper combines data from coastal and archaeological research conducted in the Gaza Strip to create a benchmark for the study of its maritime archaeology. Additional information on the alteration of coastal landscape is deduced through the analysis of aerial photographs and satellite imagery. This study falls within the scope of the Maritime Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and Africa Project (MarEA). MarEA aims to comprehensively document and assess vulnerable maritime archaeology (underwater, nearshore, coastal) and produce baseline information that can enhance existing infrastructure on archaeological monitoring and management.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was conducted as part of the MarEA project, in collaboration with the EAMENA project, both generously funded by the Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. We would like to thank Mohammad Jaradat, who has identified, assessed and uploaded archaeological sites in the EAMENA database as part of training funded by the Cultural Protection Fund. We are also grateful to Mrs Yasmeen El-Khoudary for her comments on earlier versions of this paper and for ground-verifying our observations.
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
- Religious studies
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts
- Gaza strip
- Maritime archaeology
- cultural heritage
- coastal science
- satellite imagery
- Middle East