Research Methodology

The bulk of the paper fragments are difficult to read, some with damage brought about by faded ink. Apart from palaeographic difficulties such as the cursive undotted script written in various hands there are the problems of incompleteness of texts: many are marred by holes, stains, and missing sections.

The project was conducted in three stages: During this stage the paper fragments and other material were identified and categorized. Systematic palaeographic reading of the documents; inputting of image and textual data on the computer and evaluating information. Review and refocus for detailed analysis of issues after discussions and visits to Southampton and Quseir by both researchers for clarification of relevant material.

Phase 1 (December 2002 to November 2003). An orientation field visit by the research team was required at the commencement of the project. The first nine to twelve months were spent on preparatory planning and experimenting with the data by a pilot scheme. The assistance of the computer officer at this stage was invaluable.

Phase 2 (December 2003 to November 2004). During this stage the paper fragments and other material were identified and categorized. Systematic palaeographic reading of the documents; inputting of image and textual data on the computer and evaluating information. Review and refocus for detailed analysis of issues after discussions and visits to Southampton and Quseir by both researchers for clarification of relevant material.

Phase 3 (December 2004 to November 2005) was planning, implementing and revising material in relation to the excavated site and its artefacts, preparing research findings for publication; organising week-end conference for the research community and the public at large.

A network of researchers from a range of institutions were invited to the University of Leeds to participate in a number of workshops/study days to exchange information and ideas on a number of themes related to the project. It was our intention to maximise the research outcomes by promoting their dissemination both to the research community and to as broad a public as possible, eg:

  • a) to give talks and presentations on the work in progress of the findings at Quseir both in the UK and Egypt
  • b) to conduct interviews with locals, both in groups and on a one to one basis in order to gather regional perceptions of the maritime past, the history and folklore
  • c) to publish the findings as working papers and viewed on the projectís web site
  • d) to publish the final results.