In January 2011 Ashes2Art began collaboration with Dr. Emad Khalil (Director) and the Alexandria Centre for Maritime Archaeology and Underwater Cultural Heritage (CMA) at Alexandria University, Egypt. The CMA was founded in 2008 by Khalil, who served as its first director; it is the first academic institution in Egypt or the Arab world to offer education or training at any level in maritime archaeology. In 2009 the CMA was established as a European Union project under the EU-Tempus III Program, a consortium of eight institutions from Egypt and the EU. Professors Flaten and Olsen visited Dr. Khalil at the CMA in March 2010 to arrange the specifics of the impending collaboration and to discuss our work with students and faculty at Alexandria.
Our long term mission is to build and populate databases for various maritime excavation sites in Egypt, design online museums for each site, shoot panoramic photographs, digitally reconstruct excavated objects, buildings and/or boats, and build digital models of the extensive topographic changes that have affected the areas over the last two and a half millennia. Coastal Carolina University will host the databases and websites, with a mirror site at Alexandria University. We hope to convene video teleconferences between the universities regularly to post progress reports, discuss methods, and share information. Annual student and faculty visits to each of the excavations for panoramic and detail photographs are expected, as are student and faculty exchanges between Coastal Carolina University and Alexandria University. In pursuit of those goals, Ashes2Art will work with students and faculty at the CMA and with archaeological teams led by Dr. Emad Khalil (CMA, Alexandria, Egypt) and Dr. Cheryl Ward (Coastal Carolina University, USA). The collaboration's initial energies in Egypt will be directed toward ongoing excavations of ancient maritime sites, the bulk of which are land-based. Phase one will concentrate on the Lake Mareotis region to the immediate West of modern Alexandria. Subsequent phases are expected to examine sites on the Red Sea, perhaps including Wadi Gawasis, Quseir al-Quadim, or the Sadana Island shipwreck.
The current phase of Ashes2Art is a collaborative research project between Coastal Carolina University, USA and the Centre for Maritime Archaeology and Underwater Cultural Heritage at Alexandria University, Egypt
Lake Mareotis (the modern Lake Mariut) is among the most distinctive topographic features of the north-west coastal region of Egypt. In antiquity the lake was a thriving port and economic center fed by several canals off the now-defunct Canopic branch of the Nile. By the Greco-Roman period a navigable canal connected Lake Mareotis to the Mediterranean through Alexandria, and the harbor was a vital component of the city's prosperity. Two thousand years ago the lake was much larger than today; evidence suggests that it extended about 50 km south and west of Alexandria. In modern times the lake has shrunk to a thin strip 40 km east to west and roughly 2-3 km wide. (Khalil)