Source: Al-Ahram Weekly
Will Egypt build the first offshore underwater museum? Nevine El-Aref investigates
Setting up an offshore, submarine archaeological site anywhere is not an easy task, let alone in a city with the water pollution problems of Alexandria. Yet the remarkable discoveries made by underwater archaeologists over the last decade justify further serious efforts for what would be Egypt's first ever offshore underwater museum.
The site and form gives cause for conjecture. Should it be in Alexandria's Eastern Harbour, the Sisila area, or Abu Qir Bay? What will it look like? Should it resemble the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney or the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology at the spectacular Uluburun Wreck in Turkey, or the Mus?e de Marine in Paris? All these display a collection of sunken ship wrecks, flora and fauna.
These questions and more were raised at an international workshop held last week in Alexandria to discuss the feasibility of constructing such a museum. On the table were a projected ground plan, an architectural design and a programme to study the environmental conditions of Alexandria's Mediterranean Sea and its state of marine pollution, the socio- economic problems related to the success of the underwater archaeological museum project and urban impacts. The workshop was held under the umbrella of UNESCO and the Ministry of Culture at the Alexandria Art Creativity Centre, where a multidisciplinary team of 28 international and Egyptian experts were gathered.