Friday, December 17, 2010

Storm Damage along Mediterranean Coast

The Media Line has a good summary of the destruction of archaeological sites by last weekend’s storm. 

Winter’s belated arrival in Israel brought with it the biggest storm in two decades, wreaking havoc. Ships sank, billboards and power lines fell. Where there wasn’t rain, dust storms blanketed the cities and farmland. Coastal regions were pummeled by huge waves lifted by 100-kilometer-an-hour winds.

The storms also caused severe damage to archeological and antiquities sites up and down the country’s Mediterranean coast, most seriously at the Herodian port city of Caesarea. Experts say the cost of restoring the sites will be in the millions of shekels, but in many cases the losses are irretrievable.

“It was the most severe storm we have seen in the last 25 years, since we began measuring the waves along the coast of the Mediterranean,” Matti Weiss of the Israel Meteorological Service, told The Media Line. Waves reached a height of as much as 13 meters in some areas.

Caesarea, where Herod the Great constructed one of the biggest ports in the ancient world between 22 and 10 BC, was hit particularly hard by the storm. A 1950s-era breakwater built off the coast of the site to protect it from the natural force of the sea broke up into three pieces during the storm, and the result was devastating.

The article notes that Caesarea is closed at this time and estimates for restoring the damage are about $17 million.  For more details, continue reading the story here.



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