The underwater survey of Dor South was carried out between T
ura Lagoon in the north and the mouth of Nah
al Daliyya in the south, extending c. 200 m west of the current coastline, where a submerged kurkar
(aeolianite sandstone) ridge is located. This area was investigated in previous underwater surveys, revealing a wealth of finds spanning from the Middle Bronze Age to the present day (Wachsmann and Raveh 1984; Kingsley and Raveh 1996;
). The survey was conducted with three main objectives: (a) to conduct a thorough examination of the survey area to ascertain whether it contained the continuation of the Early Bronze Age I site of Dor South, the remains of which were uncovered on the adjacent coast (Olami, Sender
2005: Site 145
; Nickelsberg and Shahack-Gross 2021
); (b) to extend the survey done by Kingsley and Raveh (1996) to areas that they either did not cover or surveyed only lightly; and (c) to survey a previously undocumented area extending between a low kurkar
outcrop known locally as Napoleon Hill and the mouth of Nah
The area of interest was divided up by a grid of 200 × 200 m quadrants (Fig. 1), four of which were surveyed (Areas A9, B2–B4). The survey documented three concentrations of finds that appear to have been shipwrecked cargos (two in Area B2 and one in Area B4); stone anchors (Area B3); and pottery and possible wall remains of a previously unknown submerged Neolithic site (Area A9).
Area A9. A cluster of Neolithic pottery sherds was documented at the eastern edge of the submerged kurkar ridge (depth 5.1 m sea water). The sherds do not appear to be waterworn, thus they may have been in situ or situated close to their original location of deposition. This indicates that the uncovered sherds may belong to a submerged Neolithic site.
Area B2. A cargo of marble slabs of varying sizes was uncovered at a depth of 3.4 m sea water (Fig. 2), extending over an area of 7 × 10 m. Two sherds retrieved from among the slabs comprise a handle of a Byzantine-period cooking pot and a storage jar fragment consisting of the rim, the neck and the body, possibly dating from the Early Islamic period (Fig. 3). Other finds found among the cargo of marble slabs include a basalt grinding stone of either a Bronze or Iron Age date—possibly from the EB I site of Dor South—a bronze or copper nail (Fig. 4) and a large tooth of an unidentified animal.
Large hewn building blocks were identified at a depth of 2 m, 20 m northwest of the marble cargo, on the eastern slope of an exposed part of the kurkar ridge known as Hofami Island. Although two of the blocks lay in a row, orientated east–west, they are of different sizes (0.45 × 0.60 m; 0.3 × 1.0 m; Fig. 5) and do not seem to have been part of a built feature. The blocks may be part of a sunken cargo of construction material.
Area B3. A large area of an exposed clay bed with overlying archaeological material was identified. The ceramic finds embedded within the clay included storage-jar fragments from the Byzantine or the Early Islamic period and nineteenth-century CE Marseille roof tiles.
Five stone anchors were identified at a depth of 3.1 m sea water, along the southeastern part of the clay bed. Three of the anchors were found near the southern edge of the exposed clay, atop a thin layer of sand (thickness 2 cm; Fig. 6). They are of medium size, irregularly shaped and have one hole each; the hole in each of the three faces south. Similar anchors were previously reported in the survey of Tantura Lagoon (Kingsley and Raveh 1996: Figs. 31, 32, Pl. 34). A fourth anchor, oval in shape with the hole near its center and facing north (Fig. 7), was found 10 m north of the first three. Anchors of this type were also discovered in the survey of Tantura Lagoon (Kingsley and Raveh 1996: Fig. 30, AN 45, AN 46). The fifth anchor, the northernmost found, is a rectangular stone with a rounded head and one hole facing north (Fig. 8). Similar items were reported by Kingsley and Raveh (1996: Fig. 28, AN2, AN3).
Area B4. A concentration of hewn stones, fragments of pottery vessel and Marseille roof tiles (Fig. 9) was found over an area of c. 10 × 20 m mostly along the southeast margin of a submerged segment of the kurkar ridge (depth 2.9 m sea water). These may be part of a shipwrecked cargo. Most of the pottery and the roof tiles date from the nineteenth century CE.
The 2018 season of underwater survey along the coastline south of Dor uncovered finds from several periods, including Neolithic sherds—perhaps a previously undocumented submerged site—and up to three previously undocumented shipwreck sites. No clear signs of underwater remains belonging to the onshore EB I settlement were documented. The sunk cargo of marble slabs from the Byzantine or the Early Islamic period will undergo detailed documentation in a subsequent season of the survey.