Coastal region and small island papers 14
4. Follow-up activities
There is an urgent need to secure the integrity of the Eastern Harbour area and to ensure its future, for it is both the boundary and the heart of the old city of Alexandria, giving the downtown area its unique character. It links the city to its past, to a time when the Eastern Harbour, the Pharos and the library were the centre of Mediterranean trade, travel and scholarship. Currently, the Eastern Harbour is the centre for a small commercial fishing fleet with facilities for docking, maintenance and shipbuilding, as well as marinas and recreational centres. The old library of Alexandria was rebuilt as the ‘Bibliotheca Alexandrina’ and inaugurated in 2002, following an international campaign by UNESCO for its revival.
Over-population, rapid development, inadequate planning and pollution threaten the archaeological sites, the continued commercial use of the harbour and its potential development as a tourist attraction. Any proposed intervention should take into consideration the need to protect and preserve the integrity of all the archaeological sites, including the submerged lighthouse, the citadel, the submerged royal quarter and the El-Silsilah (Figure 9) .
Following the 1997 international workshop, several actions were taken to implement some of the recommendations. These are summarized in Table 1 and will be discussed in this chapter. These actions included feasibility studies on and expert investigations into various aspects of the site, a further workshop and several round table discussions.
Structural assessment of the Qait Bey Citadel
One of the principle recommendations of the International Workshop on Submarine Archaeology and Coastal Management was that an assessment should be made of the structural condition and vulnerability of the Qait Bey Citadel. In response to the Supreme Council of Antiquities’ request for technical assistance, an assessment of wave damage and human impact at the Qait Bey Citadel and Pharos Lighthouse sites was conducted with assistance from UNESCO in September 1997. The assessment team consisted of Dr Ing. Denis Aelbrecht, France, Dr Ing. Bertrand Latteux, France, Prof. Eng. Giorgio Croci, Italy, and Prof. Burghard Flemming, Germany.
In the context of this investigation (Aelbrecht et al., 1997a, 1997b, unpublished; Aelbrecht et al., 2000), the citadel site has been divided into three areas: (i) the Qait Bey Fort itself, comprising a square fortified building measuring about 30 m x 30 m; (ii) the Fortress, which completely encloses the Qait Bey Fort and is, for the most part, encircled by a continuous wall; and (iii) a concrete platform lining the citadel along its eastern and north-eastern sides (Figure 10). Figure 11 shows photographs of the Qait Bey Fort before and after restoration work.
Table 1. Summary of the follow-up to the International Workshop on Submarine Archaeology and Coastal Management, 1997–1999
|6–12 September 1997||Structural assessment of the Qait Bey Citadel|
|12–17 September 1998||Feasibility study on the establishment of an underwater archaeological museum, and management of the Qait Bey Citadel site and the Eastern Harbour.|
|16 September 1998||Round table discussion on the proposed underwater archaeological museum and the management of the Qait Bey Citadel site and the Eastern Harbour.|
|22 September 1998||Decree forming the Consultative Committee for Planning and Follow-up for the protection and development of the submerged sites and the Qait Bey Citadel.|
|27 October 1998||First meeting of the Consultative Committee for Planning and Follow-up.|
|9 December 1998||First meeting of the task team formed by the Consultative Committee for Planning and Follow-up.|
|13–14 December 1998||Round table discussion on the pilot project for establishing an underwater archaeological museum and managing the Qait Bey Citadel site and the Eastern Harbour.|
8 February 1999
|Investigation into marine pollution and urban water management in the Eastern Harbour.|
|20–21 November 1999||Workshop on the status of the pilot project for sustainable development of the underwater archaeological sites around the Qait Bey Citadel and in the Eastern Harbour. Adoption of a work plan.|
The principle findings of the structural assessment may be summarized as follows:
A close inspection of the citadel site revealed that neither the Qait Bey Fort nor the surrounding fortress was threatened by wave action at the time of the mission.
There are cavities below the platform lining the citadel.
The platform lining the citadel along its eastern and north-eastern perimeter shows serious local structural damage.
Some adjoining sections of the concrete platform are undercut without, however, showing structural damage at present.
Other sections of the concrete platform and parapet walls show minor damage from wave overtopping.
The concrete blocks that form a submerged breakwater 30 m seaward of the citadel provide no useful protection.
Following the assessment, recommendations were made for future action, both short-term and longer term. In the short-term, immediate action was recommended as follows:
An endoscopic inspection and analysis of the foundations of the platform should be carried out. A fine-grained concrete mass should be injected under pressure into the cavities below the platform. Once this is completed, the platform should be cleared of all loose rubble and a reinforced concrete slab should be poured over the existing platform.
An underwater inspection of the entire base of the citadel should be carried out and a map prepared showing the extent of erosion.
The concrete platform lining the citadel along its eastern and north-eastern perimeter is damaged and requires urgent attention. Adjoining sections although not damaged also need to be shored-up. Failure of the platform would leave the inner perimeter wall of the fortress vulnerable to wave undercutting.
Minor damage from wave overtopping should be repaired in the course of routine maintenance work.
Some superfluous concrete structures above the elevation of the platform should be removed for aesthetic reasons.
The 180 concrete blocks placed as part of the planned but never completed protective revetment around the Citadel, and which covered the Pharos Lighthouse underwater site, should be removed.
In the longer-term, the following strategies were recommended:
The interests of all three sites in and around the Eastern Harbour, comprising the citadel, the Pharos Lighthouse and the Royal Quarter, might be best served by uniting them to form a single entity. This might take the form of a cultural theme park, part open-air and open-water museum, and part marine archaeological reserve.
The wastewater problem should be assessed as part of an integrated urban water system for Alexandria. (UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme may be able to contribute).
A task force with representatives from all the interest groups should be set up.
A scientific data collection programme should be started as soon as possible, involving Egyptian and foreign scientists, and local postgraduate students wherever possible, focusing on the following:
A detailed bibliographical study of the construction, damage and restoration events at the citadel,
Data collection on meteorology, oceanography, geology and coastal evolution of the area,
Modelling of (i) wave propagation from offshore to the coast and wave agitation in the area sheltered by potential structures, (ii) general offshore oceanic circulation and wavedriven forces in the surf zone, and (iii) long-term morphological seabed changes.
Feasibility study on the establishment of an underwater archaeological museum and management of the Qait Bey Citadel site and the Eastern Harbour
The idea of making Alexandria’s Eastern Harbour and the area around the Qait Bet Citadel into an underwater museum was first proposed by Selim Morcos (1965). He suggested that: ‘visitors could observe the remains of the Pharos and other structures, instead of raising them and stocking them in museums ... especially if they are of colossal size, spread over a large area and forming an integral ensemble with the archaeological site’. Further studies and discoveries since that time, Honor Frost in 1969 (Frost, 1975), Jean-Yves Empereur and his team since 1995 (Empereur, 2000), and Franck Goddio’s team since 1996 (Goddio, 2000), have made convincing arguments for an underwater museum.
The International Workshop on Submarine Archaeology and Coastal Management recommended that a long term management plan should be put in place which would include a study of the potential economic value of the archaeological sites of Alexandria for tourists and visitors, e.g. the development of museums and archaeological parks (on land or underwater).
As a follow up to this recommendation, an international team of experts visited the site from 12–17 September 1998, to (i) examine the feasibility of establishing an underwater museum on the site of the ancient Alexandria Lighthouse in the locality of the Qait Bey Citadel; (ii) propose a strategy for establishing such a museum, if feasible, or if not feasible, to propose alternatives; (iii) make suggestions for the management of tourist access to the site and for site interpretation; (iv) make suggestions for the museum display to the public; and (v) make preliminary cost estimations for implementation. The team, supported by UNESCO, comprised Mr Oguz Alpozen, Director, Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology, Turkey, and Mr Graeme Henderson, Director, Western Australian Maritime Museum, Australia.
The principle findings of the team (Alpozen and Henderson, 1998, unpublished) may be summarized as follows:
The Pharos Lighthouse is unique and of global importance; its archaeological remains must be preserved and made accessible to the widest international community.
The establishment of an underwater museum on the Alexandria Lighthouse site is eminently feasible for the following reasons: the significance of the site; its international reputation; the shallow water depth of the site; its proximity to shore and associated underwater remains – the Royal Palaces in the Eastern Harbour; the proximity to a large building, the Qait Bey Citadel, suitable for housing museum support facilities and interpretation material; the lack of competing underwater museums around the world and the growing visitor interest in living museums, or museums that encourage active visitor involvement.
Successful visitor attractions increase tourist numbers and bring substantial economic benefits.
The project cannot succeed unless the sewage problem is first addressed.
The Qait Bey Fort and Citadel should be established and developed as the above-water support and interpretation facility for the underwater museum, and as the repository for material excavated from other submerged cultural sites near Alexandria. Monumental objects removed in recent times from the Alexandria Lighthouse underwater site should be returned to the site after analysis and appropriate preservation is completed. The site is already very popular with Alexandrians and visiting tourists. If it is suitably developed, it will enhance foreign tourism in Alexandria (Figure 12).
No more artefacts should be removed from the site.
The Royal Palace site in the Eastern Harbour may prove a suitable extension to the underwater museum.
Following the study, recommendations were made for future action, both short-term and longer term. Short-term recommended actions were as follows:
Elimination of pollution, which is a serious health risk and aesthetic barrier to the underwater site. It is not feasible to have tourists visit the site when it is polluted with sewage, so visitation and international advertising should be delayed until the sewage problem is completely resolved. The Qait Bey sewage outfall is only a few hundred metres from the Pharos site. Northerly winds drive polluted water towards the Pharos. One solution would be to provide a primary treatment plant and divert the flow to an inland lake.
Clean-up the Eastern Harbour and Pharos sites, remove the layers of sediment that cover the archaeological remains.
Nomination of a museum director by the Supreme Council of Antiquities; the director would have overall authority for the fort/citadel and underwater museum.
Collect and analyse wave, current and water-clarity data with a view to determining the number of diving days per annum and improving diving conditions.
Nomination of the Pharos site to the World Heritage List.
Replacing the concrete blocks with a submerged wave-breaker system. The concrete blocks recently dropped in the antiquities area are, according to engineering advice, causing ongoing deterioration to the Citadel and should be replaced with a more effective and non-intrusive seabed wave-breaker system outside the perimeter of the antiquities.
Restoration of the fort/citadel.
In the longer-term, three stages are recommended:
During Stage 1, above-water facilities will need to be developed or enhanced, specifically: (i) offices for museum staff; (ii) entrance, approaches and Citadel grounds; (iii) orientation centre; (iv) new exhibits including the history of Alexandria from the 3rd century BC to 1182 (Pharaonic, Greek, Roman and Islamic times); (v) expanded retail outlet for souvenirs, books; (vi) conservation laboratory; and (vii) headquarters for the Institute of Nautical Archaeology.
During Stage 2, underwater facilities need to be made available, in particular: (i) a building for equipment hire; (ii) a changing area for divers; (iii) dive site entrance-departure zone; (iv) underwater site interpretation; and (v) glass-bottomed boats for non-divers.
During Stage 3, the underwater museum would benefit by inclusion of the Royal Palace, especially since the Royal Quarters are extensive and well preserved.
Preliminary cost estimates for the land and underwater facilities described in stages 1 and 2 above, amounted to 2.5 million US dollars.
Planning activities and formation of a Consultative Committee for Planning and Follow-up
One of the recommendations of the International Workshop on Submarine Archaeology and Coastal Management was to establish a small group to follow up the recommendations of the workshop.
In September 1998, approximately 30 representatives and experts from the Supreme Council of Antiquities, the Alexandria Governorate, Alexandria University, the Institute of Coastal Research, the Ministry of Tourism and UNESCO attended a round-table discussion. Following a presentation by two of the experts involved in the feasibility study on the underwater museum, it was agreed that the underwater archaeological objects, the Qait Bey Citadel and the Eastern Harbour have the potential to form an integrated archaeological museum with the citadel being the main platform for display and facilities.
As regards the other recommendations, progress was made on the raising of the 180 concrete blocks from the submerged archaeological site. Ten were raised in 1996 to search for the missing legs and feet of the colossal statue of Ptolemy (Figure 13), 45 blocks were raised in February 1998, and finally the remaining blocks in January 2001. Thus the archaeological field is now completely available for exploration and integration into the proposed underwater museum.
The Supreme Council of Antiquities arranged for the damaged sections of the platform under the Qait Bey Citadel and the cavities under the bedrock to be inspected by divers and documented photographically in 1999. The platform has been firmly consolidated by extending a thick concrete revetment over it. However, further stabilizing work is needed.
On 22 September 1998, a decree was passed by Dr G. Gaballah, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities forming the Consultative Committee for Planning and Follow-up of the Project for the protection and development of the submerged sites and Qait Bey Citadel. At its first meeting in October 1998, the Committee formed a technical task team to review the available data and information relevant to the project and to recommend future action. Particular attention was given to the citadel and its safety and five of the eleven nominated task team members were directly or indirectly concerned with this issue (Annex 5).
In addition to the task team, the UNESCO Cairo Office commissioned Prof. S. Sharaf El Din to review the oceanography of Alexandria’s coastal zone (Sharaf El Din, undated, unpublished). In their respective reports, the task team members brought to light a mass of information related to both natural and anthropogenic processes likely to impact the citadel and the marine environment in the areas of concern. The task team members identified areas of uncertainty and made specific recommendations to acquire the necessary data. The ten reports of the task team were collected in three volumes and deposited at UNESCO and at the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
In a second round-table discussion in December 1998, it was agreed to implement the recommendations of the expert mission of September 1997, regarding the stability of the citadel. This included an endoscopic inspection and analysis of cavities below the concrete platform, using a miniature waterproof TV camera lowered on a fibre optic cable, and taking the necessary measures to stabilize the concrete platform.
Marine pollution and urban water management in the Eastern Harbour were also discussed during the second round-table discussion. Dr Nariman Mostafa Soheil, from the Alexandria General Organization for Sanitary Drainage, said that the Qait Bey and El-Silsilah outfalls will not be closed until 2003, and that the Western Treatment Plant, which will provide for secondary treatment of sewage that currently drains into Lake Mariout and from there into the sea at El Mex west of Alexandria, will not be operational before 2010. The round-table participants strongly recommended that efforts should be made to stop the disposal of untreated sewage in the sea before these dates.
Marine pollution and urban water management in the Eastern Harbour
Alexandria’s environmental problems have grown in severity as its population and associated urban and industrial development have increased since the beginning of the 20th century (Halim and Abou Shouk, 2000). Marine pollution in the Eastern Harbour and around the Qait Bey Citadel is caused by the discharge of urban wastewater. The Qait Bey outfall, the main source, is located a few hundred metres west of the Pharos. A smaller one, the El-Silsilah outfall, is located on the eastern side of this peninsula. Both outfalls are outside the Eastern Harbour, but there is intermittent flow into the Harbour from another outfall. Serious deterioration in the water quality in the Eastern Harbour began about 40 years ago when these outfalls first came into operation.
The state of pollution in the Eastern Harbour is widely recognized as the biggest obstacle facing the development of the area as a whole, and particularly the development of an underwater archaeological museum. It is not reasonable to have tourists visit the site or for divers to explore the underwater treasures as long as the discharge of urban wastewater continues to pose a health risk. The northerly winds transport polluted water from the Qait Bey outfall to the Pharos site, which is only a few hundred metres away. In addition, sediment layers, which have accumulated over the last 40 years since urban wastewater has been discharged into the waters around the Eastern Harbour, cover the archaeological sites.
Putting an end to this situation constitutes a financial burden and technological challenge for the city of Alexandria. The most obvious solution is to change the urban water system. However, even if the discharge of domestic wastewater into the area is stopped, much will remain to be done if the water body and sea bed are to recover.
Late in 1998, Prof. Abdelwahab M. Amer of Cairo University’s Faculty of Engineering made a technical assessment of Alexandria’s water supply and sanitation systems (Amer, 1998, unpublished). This was followed in January/February 1999 by an assessment of the management structure of Alexandria’s water system by Dr Alfonsus Nelen (Nelen and Amer, 1999, unpublished).
The principle findings of these assessments may be summarized as follows:
The city of Alexandria is served by seven water treatment plants. Five take their raw water from the Mahmoudia canal. The other two, that serve western parts of the city and areas to the south and along the north coast, draw their water from the heavily polluted Noubaria canal, resulting in drinking water that does not always comply with water quality standards.
80–90% of Alexandria’s housing stock has sanitation, most commonly with a septic tank. Sludge from the tanks is disposed of in drainage canals or sometimes even irrigation canals.
Alexandria’s groundwater is becoming increasingly polluted as a consequence of the infiltration of polluted surface water into the aquifers. The salinity of the groundwater is likely to increase due to the intrusion of seawater.
Lake Mariout is currently used mainly for fishing and water retention. It receives agricultural run-off, untreated and primary-treated sewage and industrial wastewater. The lake is heavily polluted and suffers from several problems including the loss of fish stock, contamination of fish with chemicals and parasites.
More than 50 million cubic metres of untreated sewage and industrial wastewater are discharged annually into the Mediterranean from Alexandria. To the west of Alexandria, about 2,190 million cubic metres of wastewater per year drain into the sea from the Omum Drain and from Lake Mariout. Abu Qir Bay, east of Alexandria, receives some 730 million cubic metres of wastewater every year from industries located near Kafr El-Dawar and from the local Tabia industries. These wastewaters contain pollutants from textile, dye, pulp, paper and fertilizer industries.
There are many national and local organizations involved both directly and indirectly in the management of Alexandria’s urban water system. The roles and responsibilities of these organizations are not clearly defined. No institutional framework exists to encourage and maintain the necessary communication between the various parties involved.
Responsibility for environmental protection is widely dispersed among a large number of ministries and institutions. The Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency is supposed to act as the Inter-ministerial Policy Council for environmental issues.
No organization in Alexandria can provide a comprehensive picture of environmental issues or an assessment of the current physical water system, thus there is no clear definition of the problem and each organization functions in a piecemeal manner. As a consequence, the limited financial and human resources are not used efficiently. The following recommendations were made:
Integrated water management is necessary to achieve sustainable solutions to water-related problems.
Integrated planning involving all relevant parties on a local/regional level is preferable to planning at a national level, as proposed by the National Organization for Potable Water and Sanitary Drainage.
Capacity building, strengthening of the existing institutions and improvement of communication are more important than developing a new technical master plan.
A multi-sectoral approach including socio-economic aspects is required to improve public awareness and to achieve the necessary public participation.
Special recommendations for the Alexandria General Organization for Sanitary Drainage include: (i) close the Qait Bey and El-Silsilah outfalls; (ii) expand the Western Treatment Plant, strengthen its management system and activate its industrial wastewater department; (iii) develop a fair and equitable tariff system that allows the Alexandria General Organization for Sanitary Drainage to recover the cost of conveying and treating industrial wastes.
Following this assessment, and during a workshop in November 1999 on the Status of the Pilot Project for Sustainable Development of Submarine Archaeological Sites at the Qait Bey Citadel and the Eastern Harbour, a presentation on water quality and pollution control indicated an improvement in the environmental quality in the Eastern Harbour over the past five years (Annex 6). This followed the partial blocking of wastewater discharges into the Eastern Harbour in 1993. The closure of the Qait Bey and El-Silsilah outfalls in 2003 should improve things further, although a pristine waterfront cannot be expected until all the wastewater that drains from Lake Mariout is thoroughly treated.
Even when all wastewater discharge in the area around the Eastern Harbour is stopped, it will be some time before the area is suitable for diving. The pollutants deposited over the past years will remain in the marine environment, although they may be redistributed. Their predicted lifespan is critical to the underwater museum. A project on the ‘State of marine pollution and socio-economic problems related to the success of the underwater archaeological museum project in the Eastern Harbour,’ was approved within UNESCO’s Participation Programme 2000–2001. This project, which is being carried out by the Department of Oceanography, has the objective of modelling the pollutant remobilization process based on field observations and analysis. Once this information is available, a suitable time to open the underwater museum can be determined.
However, the pollutant remobilization rate also depends on the dynamics of the bay, as was pointed out by Prof. Frihy during the 1999 workshop. Hydrodynamic forces continuously erode the sediments of the Eastern Harbour along its north–south axis. About 70% of the eroded material escapes from the harbour to be deposited offshore. This process will undoubtedly accelerate the recovery of the Eastern Harbour.
Although it has been repeatedly stated that elimination of pollution and assurance of water clarity and safety are preconditions for allowing diving by tourists, limited permission was recently given for diving on the Pharos site outside the Eastern Harbour (not inside the harbour where pollution is more pronounced). Four tourist companies wished to run tours of the site and diving was permitted from October 2001. It is hoped that any disappointment with the present imperfect water conditions will not compromise future plans for the underwater park.
Workshop on sustainable development of submarine archaeological sites at the Qait Bey Citadel and the Eastern Harbour
A workshop was convened on 20–21 November 1999 at the Department of Oceanography, Faculty of Science, Alexandria University to assess the status of the pilot project for sustainable development of submarine archaeological sites at the Qait Bey Citadel and the Eastern Harbour (Anon, 1999, unpublished). This workshop was a follow-up activity of the 1997 international workshop and the 1998 round-table discussions, and was organized by the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Alexandria University and the UNESCO Cairo Office. More than 40 participants attended from the organizing institutions, the Alexandria Governorate, other national institutions and non-governmental organizations; several international experts were also invited. The workshop had three objectives: (i) to review the output of the task team; (ii) to discuss and approve a work plan; (iii) to evaluate the progress made and recommend future action.
Before the technical session, introductory reviews were made by Dr Gaballah and members of the Consultative Committee on Planning and Follow-up. The need to act immediately to protect the foundation of the citadel was emphasized, as well as the need for the sustainable management of the coastal zone of Alexandria’s old city.
Ten reports from the task team were presented and discussed (El-Abbadi and Halim, 1999, unpublished). They dealt with archaeological, socio-economic, meteorological, hydrodynamic, geomorphodynamic, seismic and water quality aspects, and with projected improvements in Alexandria’s sewage system. The highlights of these reports are contained in Annex 6 and the workshop recommendations are listed below.
Recommends that maximum use be made of all the information collected on the socioeconomic and biophysical characteristics of the Qait Bey sites when designing the proposed underwater archaeological museum; and that all information, including remote sensing data, should be integrated into a geographical information system.
Would welcome the inclusion of the Alexandria project to develop an integrated sustainable development strategy in the UNESCO programme for 2000–2001.
Notes with satisfaction that the sewage outfall in the Qait Bey area will be closed in the near future and welcomes plans for the on-land re-use of treated wastewater for woodland areas south-west of Alexandria.
Considering that Lake Mariout is a significant archaeological and historical area which constituted the link between Alexandria and the rest of Egypt in antiquity and the Middle Ages, strongly appeals to the authorities to implement current plans to divert all wastewater away from the lake; it also urges the authorities to put an immediate end to all reclamation and landfill work within the lake area.
Recognizes the steps already taken in removing a number of concrete blocks off the Pharos site and urges the total removal of all blocks. (The blocks were all removed by 2001).
Strongly urges the Governorate of Alexandria and the Supreme Council of Antiquities to abide by Law 4/1994 for the environment by carrying out a complete environmental impact assessment prior to the authorization of any project or extension likely to affect the environment, archaeological sites or the community in the Alexandria coastal area.
Urges the Supreme Council of Antiquities to carry out a survey and scan of the foundations and bedrock of the Qait Bey as a preliminary step toward on-site remedial and protective measures for the Citadel.
Recognizes the need for a detailed map with descriptions of all the archaeological objects offshore from the Qait Bey site, as a preliminary step toward the proposed underwater museum.
Calls for cleaning up certain archaeological structures, removing fouling growth and accumulated sediments and considering means of in situ restoration as a necessary step for the proposed underwater museum in the Eastern Harbour.
Recommends the publication of a brochure on the project, for potential donors and authorities, to be financed jointly by the Supreme Council of Antiquities and UNESCO.
Urges the Supreme Council of Antiquities to follow up on the earlier recommendation to approach UNESCO in order to register the Qait Bey Citadel and Eastern Harbour as a protected archaeological site on the World Heritage List.
Recommends a draft project document, with cost estimates, be prepared.
Recommends that Alexandria University consider the possibility and desirability of establishing a UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Coastal Development in order to reinforce the ongoing activities in Alexandria.
Urges the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Alexandria University and UNESCO to follow up on the earlier recommendation to convene a Second International Conference on Underwater Archaeological and Coastal Management.
A work plan drafted by the Consultative Committee on Planning and Follow-up was discussed and approved at the workshop. The main long-term objectives of the plan are: (i) the establishment of the underwater museum, (ii) the preparation and implementation of an integrated management policy and (iii) enhancement of tourism. The immediate objectives of the plan are to:
Secure the safety and integrity of the cultural heritage sites both on land and underwater, by stabilizing the fort, continuing the exploration and the recording of the submerged archaeological artefacts, removing the concrete blocks and closing the wastewater outfalls.
Establish a digital database for the environmental, archaeological, socio-economic and urban data.
Nominate the site to the World Heritage List.
Prepare a project document.
The work plan included short-, medium- and longer-term actions. In the short-term (one year):
A sociological survey of the local population should be conducted, followed by an assessment of the socio-economic impact of the proposed project.
The foundations and bedrock of the Qait Bey Citadel should be scanned, and the offshore area should be subjected to a seismic scan, in order to recommend on-site remedial measures.
In the medium-term (two years):
A detailed interpretive map of the offshore site and the Eastern Harbour should be prepared.
An accurate bathymetric map should be prepared showing the offshore site and the Eastern Harbour.
In the longer-term (two+ years):
A digital database of all the bio-geophysical data should be developed as the basis for modelling the sites. This should include meteorological, oceanographic (physical and chemical), sedimentological, water quality and primary productivity data. In many cases this monitoring should be continued indefinitely.
Bibliotheca Alexandrina and other developments
Inaugurated in October 2002, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina has become a major landmark of the Eastern Harbour, and represents a significant endeavour towards the revival of the cultural heritage embodied in the old Library of Alexandria. Together with the Eastern Harbour, they form an ensemble which reinforces the approach towards an integrated management of Alexandria's coastal heritage.
The Bibliotheca stands opposite to El-Silsilah, the small peninsula on the eastern side of the Easter Harbour. One of the most exciting developments is the revival of hopes that this area will soon be accessible for archaeological research. El-Silsilah, once known as Cape Lochias, is where the Royal Palaces stood during Ptolemaic times. As a result of an appeal by the Archaeological Society of Alexandria, it was agreed that this site, which is presently occupied by a military unit, will be accessible for archaeological research by the Supreme Council of Antiquities. The site is of potential interest to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and plans for the underwater museum.
On the other hand, the activities related to the exploration of the underwater archaeological sites continue to make progress on several fronts. Research papers, popular books and TV films have been produced since the 1997 workshop. Archaeological investigations have continued, along with laboratory conservation efforts to preserve metal and other underwater archaeological objects. Progress was reported during the 1999 workshop (Darwish et al., 1999, unpublished).
The Egyptian team of the Department of Underwater Archaeology of the Supreme Council of Antiquities has become more involved in the joint exploration missions working in Alexandrian waters, and is actively pursuing its own independent programme. Empereur and his team have continued their efforts in documenting the Pharos site. Each of the over 2000 objects found have been given an entry card with all the available information and key words in a geographical information system. Detailed maps of the site have been produced. Using geophysical and archaeological data, the Goddio group is completing a new map of the Eastern Harbour showing the contours of the sunken land and port structures. The layout plan of the Royal Quarter, its monuments, harbours and shipyards on Cape Lochias attest to the majestic setting of the Portus Magnus in its glorious past. The Greek mission led by Harry Tzalas concluded in 2003 its tenth survey in the waters east of El-Silsilah and have found numerous architectural elements in the submerged site of Cape Lochias, including the upper part of a broken stele.