The Leon Recanati Institute

The Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies

University of Haifa, Israel


The Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies at the University of Haifa (RIMS) was established in 1972. Guided by an interdisciplinary concept, the Institute conducts and promotes research projects, which encompass humankind’s activities relating to the sea, bringing to light what was known in the past, our involvement in the present, and what we may accomplish in the future. By combining disciplines, such as marine and coastal archaeology, maritime history, marine geology and coastal geomorphology, marine biology and marine resources, the Institute bridges between the Humanities, Sciences and Technology. The Institute conducts numerous collaborative research projects with other research institutions in Israel and abroad.

The Institute (offices and laboratories) is situated in the Multipurpose Building on the campus of the University of Haifa on Mount Carmel and is affiliated to the University’s Research Authority.

The Institute’s staff includes: Head of the Institute; Administrative Director, and 7 administrative staff members. Researchers at different levels include: 14 researchers, 14 research associates, 22 research assistants.

Most researchers affiliated with the Institute lecture in the Graduate Department of Maritime Civilizations and in other academic departments at the University of Haifa. Students (M.A. & Ph.D.) participate in ongoing academic research carried out at the Institute for Maritime Studies as a part of their training.

An integral part of RIMS is the Marine Workshop which is located at the National Maritime Museum, near the Mediterranean sea. The workshop provides technical support, including professional diving and field surveying, for all field research conducted at the Institute, either from its base in Haifa or its temporary coastal bases.

The Elaine Recanati Marine Research Laboratories include the Conservation Laboratory for Waterlogged Wood and Organic Materials, the Microscope Laboratory, the Geological & Geomorphological Laboratory, and the Marine Mammal Laboratory (processing, tissue-banking and skeleton conservation).Other laboratories are the Restoration & Conservation Laboratory (pottery, metals), the Petrographic Laboratory, the analytical laboratory for the study of archaeological materials and sediments, and the Laboratory of Marine Biology & Living Resources with sea water aquaria. All laboratories are equipped with modern instruments.

Numerous archaeological finds unearthed by researchers affiliated with the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies are on permanent display both in Israel and abroad. The bronze ram of a 2nd Century BCE warship is on display at the National Maritime Museum in Haifa. Finds from Tel Nami are on display at the Israel Museum. Finds discovered in Caesarea are on display at the Ralli Museum in Caesarea and in the past were displayed at the Smithsonian Institution and other important museums in North America. The 2,400-year-old Ma‘agan Mikhael ship has been reassembled, and is displayed in the special wing dedicated to the late Dr. Elisha Linder in the Hecht Museum, University of Haifa.


Selected Topics of Research at the Institute

Marine and Coastal Archaeology.

* Tel Nami Land and Sea Regional Project.

* Tel Akko Project.

* Tell Abu Hawam Geoarchaeological Project.

* Typology & Chronology of Ceramics in the Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean.

* Liman Tepe, Turkey. Joint Project: Ankara University and the University of Haifa.

* Ma‘agan Mikhael Ship Project.

* Caesarea Land and Sea Project.

* Athlit Ancient Harbor Project.

* Dor (Tantura) Lagoon Shipwrecks Project.

* Akko Underwater Excavations.

* Tel Kabri Excavations – in collaboration with George Washington University.

* Achziv – Coastal and Underwater Archaeological Research.

* Archaeometallurgy of Finds from Underwater and Land Excavations.

* Archaeo-Ichthyology.

* Archaeo-Malacology of Various Sites in Israel from the Middle Palaeolithic

through Islamic Periods.


Maritime History

* History of the Admirality and Maritime Laws in the Mediterranean.

* Islamic Naval Activities in the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, and the Mediterranean.

* Jewish Maritime Trade as Reflected in the Cairo Geniza Documents.

* The Unity of the Mediterranean.

* Piracy in the Mediterranean.

* The Role of the Sea and the Ocean in Ancient Cosmologies.

* Man’s Efforts to Shun the Sea throughout History.

* Great Naval Battles.


* A Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) for visitors at the Ma‘agan Mikhael Ship

Museum – development of a new type of guide for archeological and maritime



Marine Resources

* Lobsters and Artificial Reef Projects.

* Dangerous Marine Organisms.

* Lessepsian Migration.

* Interactions between Fish-Cage Aquaculture and the Marine Environment.

* Integrated Coastal Zone Management.

* Ecology of Marine Invertebrates.

* Marine Ecology and Bio-Geography.

* Fish Ecology.

* IMMRAC – Israeli Marine Mammals Research & Assistance Center: Ecology,

Population Structure, Anthropogenic Impacts and Conservation of Wild Cetacean

Populations; Skeletal Collection.

* Ichthyology.


Marine and Coastal Geology and Geomorphology

* Neo-Tectonic Activity along the Mediterranean Continental Shelf of Israel.

* Tectonic and Palaeoclimatic Meanings and Characteristics of Recent Sediments

along the Mediterranean Shallow Shelf, Israel.

* The Holocene Sea-Level Curve of Israel.

* The Tectonics of the Eastern Mediterranean Basins.

* Subduction Processes – Modeling and Applications.

* The Messinian Salinity Crisis and Its Effects on the Levant Basin and Its Margins.

* Fluvial Flow from the Levant during the Messinian Desiccation.

* The Early Holocene Flooding of the Black Sea.

* Late Pleistocene and Holocene Palaeo-geography of the Northern Coast of Israel.

* Reconstructing the Pleistocene Geography of Southern Haifa Bay (the sea side).

* The Reservoir Age of the Carmel Coast Wetlands – for Better Dating the Holocene


* The Age of the Coastal Sand Units along the Coast of Israel.



* Diving Performance.

* Narcotic Effects of NITROX Mixtures.