Bronze & Iron Age Anchors Database: Stone Anchors in a Digital World

Divers recover an ancient stone anchor found at the Tel Dor archaeological site in northern Israel. (Amir Yurman of the University of Haifa's Maritime Workshop)

Stone anchors from the Middle Bronze Age,
recovered from the sea near Neve Yam beach.
(Israel Antiquities Authority).

The 3rd and 2nd millennia BCE say profound social changes along the Mediterranean which gave it its currently recognized "Mediterranean" form. Here we present two digital humanities projects that deal with the preservation, comprehension, and continued research into the processes of change. Our first endeavor is a digital online database of Bronze Age stone anchors which includes visual, typological, chronological, geographic, and petrographic data, as well as 3D scans of these artefacts. All data was compiled by Ehud Arkin Shalev working in close cooperation with Ehud Galili. Digital documentation, 3D scanning, and digital modelling was performed by Ehud Arkin Shalev. All database design and implementation was carried out by Stephen Savage. This project links directly to our second endeavor, a geo-spatial, chrono-typological database of submerged archaeological sites along the coast of Israel. This database brings together decades of previously published work and is intended to be used as an academic resource. When complete, it will form part of the new maritime component of the Digital Archaeology Atlas of the Holy Land (DAAHL).

These two online digital projects reflect changes which archaeology, and in a broader sense the humanities, are experiencing. They are made possible through a corporation between the School of Archaeology and Mediterranean Cultures at the University of Haifa, the Israel Antiquities Authority, and the Scripps Center for Marine Archaeology. They include data collection, documentation, digitization, and online access. Their ultimate use may be as a basis for computerized numerical analysis which may challenge current research paradigms and help suggest new ones, while digitally preserving the maritime cultural heritage of Israel.

Stone anchor found at the Tel Dor archaeological site in northern Israel. (Yaniv Cohen/Israel Nature and Parks Authority).