Grantee in the News | May 2024

Archaeologists from University of Haifa and UCSD excavate submerged prehistoric site

Originally published in Newsweek

Professor Assaf Yasur-Landau, the director of Haifa University’s Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies, at the Dor Beach marine archaeology excavation on May 9, 2023. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)


Archaeologists investigating a submerged prehistoric settlement have found that it surprisingly managed to survive a period of climate instability that occurred around 8,200 years ago. The village, dubbed Habonim North, now lies below the Mediterranean Sea off the Carmel Coast of Israel, at a depth of around 8 to 10 feet below the surface. Prior to the latest research, almost nothing was known about the settlement aside from its location.

But now a team of experts involving researchers from the University of California, San Diego, as well as the University of Haifa (UH) and Bar-Ilan University in Israel—a collaboration supported by the Koret Foundation—have begun to unravel its secrets in a study published in the journal Antiquity.

The research included the first formal excavation of the submerged site, which was first discovered in the mid-2010s and later identified during a survey led by Ehud Arkin Shalev with UH—one of the authors of the study.

The team’s investigations at the site uncovered a variety of remains, including pottery shards, stone tools (such as ceremonial weapons and possible fishing net weights), animal and plant remains, and traces of architecture.

The results of the study indicate that at least some early Neolithic societies in the region were “resilient and sustainable” in the face of abrupt climatic changes, according to the researchers.

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