Capacity Building in Maritime Archaeology: The Case of the Eastern Mediterranean (Cyprus, Lebanon and Egypt)
SourceJournal of Maritime Archaeology
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This paper discusses maritime archaeological resources in three eastern Mediterranean countries, where the discipline is relatively young: Cyprus, Lebanon, and Egypt. Emphasis is given to capacity building, through discussion of good practice and constraints that can be documented during the last two decades on diverse levels: education and training, governance, legislation, and public awareness. Although the three countries share cultural and socio-political backgrounds, the vast majority of the activities described in this paper are country-specific and too recent for their impact to be evaluated. Therefore, the authors place the focus on the processes rather than the results. Through a comparative analysis of local maritime archaeological histories and contemporary realities, they distinguish some key factors for the sustainability of maritime archaeological capacity building: locally based administrative and scholarly institutions, external funding, and public archaeology programmes to enhance appreciation of the maritime cultural heritage by local communities. It is also demonstrated that wars during 1970s and 1990s, in Cyprus and Lebanon respectively, have created unfavourable conditions for the development of maritime archaeology, whereas in Egypt emblematic underwater projects, international synergies and funding, as well as locally-based research and educational institutions, seem to have created a more responsive socio-political landscape for building capacity in maritime archaeology.