Best way to learn more is by using search-term “Ashkelon Excavations” because it will bring a diversity of information about economics, archaeology and more. Following the next paragraph is a photomosaic, thanks to Hanumant Singh, of one of the two shipwreck sites (story of how I got it at end of this post). Following that is a the text of the email I got from Sarah Webster, the woman who gave me the sediment sample.
From WHOI’s website: 1999 Field Project – Ashkelon Phoenician wrecks, two 8th century B.C. shipwrecks off the Levantine coast.
After departing from the Skerki Bank project in 1997, the U.S. Navy
submarine NR-1 transited to the eastern Mediterranean Sea to search for
the lost Israeli submarine, Dakar. NR-1‘s crew did not find Dakar,
but did locate two ancient shipwrecks west of Gaza. In 1999 Dr. Robert
Ballard led a team of scientists and engineers on an archaeological
expedition to the site. Harvard University Professor Lawrence Stager was
the Chief Archaeologist of the project. Using WHOI?s Jason/Medea ROV
tandem at a depth of 400 meters, Stager and his team identified the
wrecks as 8th century B.C. Phoenician vessels. The ships each carried
an apparently uniform cargo of wine in amphoras.
Sarah was a WHOI engineer who I did not know, until she called me one day saying she had this mud, was leaving town and did I want it? Since I did, she left it at my door and it was several years later when we met for the first time. This email exchange came first:I had the sediment and had tested it enough to know that many human’s were interested in the history. One day I was at a local coffee shop and David Isenberg introduced me to his brother Dan Isenberg. The usual what do you do exchange happened between us. He told me he was teaching international entrepreneurship, I said I was melting ocean sediments and rocks into glazes on pots and telling their stories. “Give me an example”, he said. “Bermuda Rise from climate change studies, Phoenician wreck mud from Mediterranean . . . .” Dan said, “My first class this coming Thursday is on trade during Phoenician times, I’m using a photomosaic of that wreck in my lecture”. “A photomosaic?” I asked. He emailed it to me and I’ve been passing it about to people ever since.