Sevastopol State University is Sending the Second Archaeological Expedition to the Shores of Syria
The second underwater archaeological expedition of Sevastopol State University in the water area of Arwad Island off the coast of the Syrian city of Tartus is going to examine more than 120 underwater objects.
“The prospects are enormous, as this area is relatively unexplored, but at the same time has almost five thousand years of history. We expect some quite interesting discoveries related to the Phoenician and later historical eras, since the island of Arwad is mentioned in biblical texts. Some of the objects can already be identified as sunken ships, and some as sunken structures. But to what period they belong, we will only know when divers or remotely controlled underwater vehicles, which are at the disposal of Sevastopol State University, submerge in the waters”, said the Head of the Expedition, Viktor Lebedinsky.The expedition, that will include 6-7 people, will carry out underwater archaeological exploration over an area of 20 square kilometers.
Dives will be carried out at depths from 2-3 to 80-90 meters. Assistance will be provided by the diving group of the P.S. Nakhimov Black Sea Higher Naval School.Promising targets for investigation were identified during the first expedition of Sevastopol State University last autumn using the university's sonar systems. It was preceded by the creation of a Russian-Syrian archaeological mission and the conclusion of an agreement between Sevastopol State University and the Antiquities Service of the Syrian Arab Republic.
“Syria has practically given the Russian Federation, specifically, Sevastopol State University, a monopoly in carrying out archaeological work, even though French and Hungarians teams also wanted to carry out expeditions too. No expeditions have been conducted in this region for 30 years, especially with such modern equipment”, said Ivan Kusov, Vice-Rector for Strategic Communications at Sevastopol State University.As a result of the expedition, a series of scientific conferences will be held in Syria and Crimea.
It is planned to train Syrian personnel for underwater archeology.Arwad is the only inhabited island belonging to Syria in the Mediterranean. The Phoenicians built an almost impregnable sea fortress on this island. Arwad has been a major trading port for millennia, surviving the Roman and Byzantine eras.