AMMAN: Officials say Jordan’s first underwater archaeological survey has detected the outlines of a stone barrier, believed to be part of the centuries-old Red Sea port of Ayla, near the modern city of Aqaba.
Ehab Eid, head of the Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan (JREDS), said on Tuesday that the survey spotted an underwater barrier with an L-shape that is about 50 meters long and eight meters wide. He said experts expect to find other port facilities in the future.
The port of Ayla was active from the 7th to the 12th century, part of a trade route linking the Levant with other parts of the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Initial excavations in search of Ayla’s ruins were conducted along the beach of Aqaba from 1986-1997.
According to a report published in The Jordan Times, the unearthed port dates back to the Umayyad period toward the end of the Fatimid period (650-1116 AD), according to the findings of the survey.
JREDS, which implemented the survey project in partnership with different stakeholders, announced the results during a conference in Aqaba.
It implemented the survey in partnership with the USAID-funded project “Sustainable Cultural Heritage Through Engagement of Local Communities,” and in cooperation with the Department of Antiquities.
The Jordan Times quoted JREDS President Princess Basma bint Ali as saying the society seeks to protect the marine environment while also ensuring sustainable development.
“Understanding our cultural and historical values is a tool to increase our commitment toward Jordan and the conservation of its heritage and values.”