Jul. 23 – The Archaeological Institute of America has ranked underwater excavations carried out by the University of Haifa in the Turkish port town of Urla as one of the 10 most important maritime excavations in the world. Scientists at the University of Haifa’s Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies, headed by Prof. Michal Artzi, have found the oldest wooden anchor in the world, the remains of an ancient port that collapsed in an earthquake, and even sunken remains of the town itself, during their nautical excavations. The cooperation began in 2000, when Turkish researchers from Ankara University invited their Haifa colleagues to assist them in the underwater excavations. Over the years, many Turkish divers have been trained by the Israeli experts, and Ankara University has recently established its own marine institute under the guidance of the Israeli team. This unique cooperation has also led the local inhabitants to uncover their Jewish roots: Two ancient Jewish cemeteries that had been neglected for years have been renovated and have even been added to the region’s maps.