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Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

Professor Jon Adams and Black Sea MAP team awarded prestigious Khaled al-Asaad prize

Published: 21 November 2019
Professor Jon Adams
Professor Jon Adams

Following the last five years of offshore and coastal research in the Black Sea, the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project’s discovery of the world’s oldest intact shipwreck (c. 400 BC), has been voted the most significant archaeological discovery of 2018 on the basis of reader response across both digital and printed media.

Professor Jon Adams, as Principal Investigator, travelled to Paestum in Italy to be presented with the award which is named after Khaled al-Asaad, the Director of the Roman city of Palmyra in Syria, who was tortured and assassinated by Daesh in 2015. Present as discussants at the award ceremony, were his daughter Fayrouz Asaad and Dr Mounir Bouchenaki, former Director General of ICCROM and now special Advisor to the Director General of UNESCO.

The award is embedded in a major international conference on cultural heritage and tourism held annually in Italy. Jon emphasises that he got to go as Chief Scientist but that this award signified the achievements of a large international team led by Southampton’s Centre for Maritime Archaeology and colleagues from Ocean and Earth Sciences at NOCS. As well as the BSMAP’s discovery and recording of 65 historic shipwrecks including the Greek ship that prompted the award, is its dramatic reassessment of Holocene environmental chronologies and their impact on later prehistoric human populations in the Black Sea region. The entire project, the largest of its type ever undertaken, was made possible by a multi-million pound grant from the Julia and Hans Rausing Trust without whose support nothing on this scale would have been possible.

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