Jor­dan un­der­wa­ter sur­vey finds parts of Is­lamic-era port

Arab News - - INTERNATIONAL -

AM­MAN: Of­fi­cials say Jor­dan's first un­der­wa­ter ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sur­vey has de­tected the out­lines of a stone bar­rier, be­lieved to be part of the cen­turies-old Red Sea port of Ayla, near the modern city of Aqaba.

Ehab Eid, head of the Royal Marine Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety of Jor­dan (JREDS), said on Tues­day that the sur­vey spot­ted an un­der­wa­ter bar­rier with an L-shape that is about 50 me­ters long and eight me­ters wide. He said ex­perts ex­pect to find other port fa­cil­i­ties in the fu­ture.

The port of Ayla was ac­tive from the 7th to the 12th cen­tury, part of a trade route link­ing the Le­vant with other parts of the Mid­dle East, Asia and Africa. Ini­tial ex­ca­va­tions in search of Ayla's ru­ins were con­ducted along the beach of Aqaba from 19861997.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port pub­lished in The Jor­dan Times, the un­earthed port dates back to the Umayyad pe­riod to­ward the end of the Fa­timid pe­riod (650-1116 AD), ac­cord­ing to the find­ings of the sur­vey.

JREDS, which im­ple­mented the sur­vey project in part­ner­ship with dif­fer­ent stake­hold­ers, an­nounced the re­sults dur­ing a con­fer­ence in Aqaba.

It im­ple­mented the sur­vey in part­ner­ship with the USAID-funded project “Sus­tain­able Cul­tural Her­itage Through En­gage­ment of Lo­cal Com­mu­ni­ties,” and in co­op­er­a­tion with the Depart­ment of An­tiq­ui­ties.

The Jor­dan Times quoted JREDS Pres­i­dent Princess Basma bint Ali as say­ing the so­ci­ety seeks to pro­tect the marine en­vi­ron­ment while also en­sur­ing sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.

“Un­der­stand­ing our cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal val­ues is a tool to in­crease our com­mit­ment to­ward Jor­dan and the con­ser­va­tion of its her­itage and val­ues.”

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