The production and maritime trade of salted-fish products are well documented in the western Mediterranean during the Classical and Roman periods. Ichthyological remains found within amphorae in shipwrecks and other archaeological contexts provide evidence for long-distance exchange based on the biogeographical distributions of fish species. The Ma'agan Mikhael B shipwreck (mid-seventh to mid-eighth century ad) found on the Carmel coast of Israel held three Late Roman amphorae which contained the remains of small fish. The identified species suggest a previously unknown fish-salting operation at the Sea of Galilee during the early Islamic period. The evidence also points to a distribution or trade centre for salted fish at Caesarea-Maritima after the transition to Islamic rule in the eastern Mediterranean. The results of this study demonstrate the value of archaeozoological methods applied to maritime archaeological contexts, attesting to production and trade activities that left few traces in the archaeological record of antiquity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant no. 1891/16 and grant no. 252/19). The underwater excavations (IAA permits G-41/2016, G-40/2017, G-26/2018, and G-34/2019) and research of the Ma‘agan Mikhael B shipwreck are supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant no. 1891/16), the Honor Frost Foundation, the Research Authority of the University of Haifa, the Sir Maurice and Lady Irene Hatter Research Grant, Kibbutz Ma‘agan Mikhael, and anonymous donors. Analysis of the LR5 amphorae was undertaken by Michelle Creisher from the Department of Maritime Civilizations, University of Haifa. We wish to thank Andrey Shirak from the Institute of Animal Science, Agricultural Research Organization in Rishon LeTsiyon, Israel, for attempting an aDNA analysis of the cyprinid specimens, and Wim Van Neer from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels for cooperation with his laboratory. We thank the three anonymous reviewers for their advice and directions.
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the European Association of Archaeologists.
- Ma'agan Mikhael B
- southern Levant
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