Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Coastal region and small island papers 14

Foreword

The world’s archaeological patrimony is vulnerable to damage and decay and especially so at coastal and underwater sites. Natural forces such as storms, currents and wave-action may result in coastal erosion that undermines or buries structures and artefacts. Global climate change and a rise in sea level are likely to exacerbate this. Increasing coastal populations threaten archaeological sites, directly by encroachment of housing and other buildings, and indirectly through pollution and poorly planned coastal protection measures.

Alexandria has three important archaeological sites in close proximity to one another, one on land and two in shallow water. The 15th century Qait Bey Citadel stands at the entrance to the Eastern Harbour, the remains of Alexandria’s ancient lighthouse, the Pharos, lies just offshore from the Citadel and the ruins of Ptolemaic Royal Quarters are in the Eastern Harbour.

Preservation of all three sites requires an integrated and interdisciplinary approach. In 1997 the University of Alexandria, the Supreme Council of Antiquities, and other Egyptian institutions, together with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization launched an initiative to preserve these sites and eventually open them to the public and scholars as a museum.

With this in mind, an international workshop on Submarine Archaeology and Coastal Management was held in Alexandria in April 1997, bringing together a wide variety of specialists from Egypt, other Mediterranean countries and further afield. This publication describes the outcome of the workshop and the various follow-up activities in a context which broadens both literally and figuratively what is known of Alexandria’s past. The activities are in the nature of a slowly growing initiative, which as it gathers momentum, will progress towards effective management and a balanced solution for Alexandria and its archaeological heritage.

Special thanks are given to Selim Morcos, Nils Tongring, Youssef Halim, Mostafa El-Abbadi, Hassan Awad and Harry Tzalas who contributed to this publication, to Claire Blackburn and Gillian Cambers for editing the text, and to the many others who contributed to the activities.

Dirk G. Troost,
Chief CSI

18th century engraving of the Pharos of Alexandria 
by Fischer von Erlach.

© Historical Picture Archive/CORBIS

 

 

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