For the third year now, Syrian specialists and researchers from Sevastopol University and Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, with the assistance of the Ministry of Defense and Russian Geographical Society, have been studying the largest island of Syria — Arvad. The next stage of underwater archaeological research has recently been completed.
Arvad. Photo: NASA
Arvad was one of the largest Phoenician city-states, it was mentioned in the Old Testament and the papyri of the Egyptian pharaohs. Now the fragments of this ancient civilization are under water. For the first time in the last 30 years they were studied during the course of a joint Syrian-Russian expedition. by by now, the remains of the Arvad fortress walls that collapsed on the seabed, which were built in from blocks up to 3 meters, — says head of the expedition from the Russian side, member of the Russian Geographical Society Viktor Lebedinsky. — Masonry of large stone blocks — the remains of an ancient pier that covered the harbor of the island. Laser scanning, aerial photography, photogrammetric surveys, as well as georeferencing of the surviving fragments of fortress walls and port facilities, whose age is more than 3 thousand years».
In addition, Russian specialists drew up plans and 3D models of four uninhabited islands located in a chain south of Arvad Island. These islands (El Abbas, El Faris, El Fanar and Makroud) are interesting because they were actively used by the inhabitants of Arvad for the extraction of stone blocks, from which defensive walls and other structures were built. Some large blocks still lie under the water: they were lost in in antiquity during transportation.
During the three seasons of the expedition from the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea, artifacts from almost all historical eras represented in the region were raised. These are parts of ceramic vessels and sarcophagi of the Phoenician, Greek and Roman periods, household items of the Byzantine period, basalt cores of a throwing machine of the Crusader era. All found items were handed over to the Department of Antiquities and Museums of Tartus Province.
Russian specialists held master classes for Syrian colleagues on working with modern scientific equipment for underwater archaeological and field research. Now they are busy processing data. The continuation of the research is planned for August-September 2022. The result of this expedition will be the creation of a 3D model of the defensive walls of Arvad Island. Scientists will combine the remains of walls and port facilities on shore with those that are now under water. You will get a digital copy of the fortress lost thousands of years ago.