Syria’s coastal and nearshore zone contains a significant, but under-researched, record of maritime cultural heritage (MCH) ranging from prehistory to the present. This is exemplified by a lack of underwater investigations, but also limited investigation of key onshore maritime sites such as ports and harbours. There is also a lack of specialist in-country management regarding maritime cultural heritage research and protection. This situation has been worsened by the ongoing conflict (since 2011), which has reduced (already limited) field investigation. To assist in the advancement of Syrian maritime archaeology, this paper presents a baseline assessment which makes use of a geospatial database generated from satellite imagery as well as both published and grey literature. This assessment reviews past coastal environment changes affecting the Syrian littoral, and then highlights past disturbances and potential future threats impacting the MCH. This is done through analysis of all coastal/nearshore sites documented to date and showcased in more detail using two case studies: Tabbat al-Hammam and Ras Ibn Hani. This enables discussion of the current state of Syrian maritime archaeology and suggests ways forward for its future management and investigation.
- Maritime archaeology
- remote sensing
- satellite imagery
- historic environment management