CONRAD is the abbreviation for Center for Nautical and
Regional Archaeology at Dor. About about 40 miles north of Tel Aviv lies
Dor, a large ancient port city, now partly under water, partly
above water. Adjacent to this archaeological site is Kibbutz Nachsholim
During some summers, Dor has been among the largest
archaeological digs in Israel. Here is located the maritime museum, CONRAD. It was
established by world renowned underwater archaeologist Kurt Raveh who
continues to operate the facility.
Not Jewish, Raveh came to Israel from Holland, first as tourist,
than as a volunteer during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. He later married an Israeli, raised a
family and has never left Israel since.
In 1986, Raveh was one of the archeologists that recovered the
famous “Jesus Boat” from the bottom of the Kinneret (Sea of
Galilee), which is now on display at the Yigal Allon Museum in
Ginosar at the Kinneret. Another ancient
ship Raveh helped to recover is now housed in the Hecht Museum
at the University of Haifa. In addition, he has participated in
the discovery of another 30 or more shipwrecks.
Along the Mediterranean Coast of Israel, wrecks or artifacts have
been discovered that date back more than 5,000 years. The wrecks and artifacts are
typically covered with silt, but after each storm, many are uncovered by the shifting of
sands stirred up by the storms.
Much of Raveh’s exploration has been off the ancient port of
CONRAD is housed in the historic “glasshouse” which was a
glass bottle-making factory
built by Baron Edmond James de Rothschild in 1891. The factory was to provide wine bottles
for the vineyards that Rothschild started in places like Zichron Ya’akov, but it failed
because the sand from the local beach was not of the proper quality for making glass for
On 21 May 1799, Napoleon’s army reached Dor
during his retreat from Acre where he and his army were defeated
in their attempt to conquer the city. At Dor, they were supposed
to meet up with ships of the French navy and to sail, together with arms and equipment, to
their bases in Jaffa and Egypt. Instead of ships, however, the fatigued retreating army
found another 700-800 wounded and injured soldiers lying on the beach. Napoleon decided to
use all of his pack animals to carry the wounded to Jaffa. He even set a personal example
by having his own horse used for this purpose. Because of this decision, the army was
forced to leave their heavy armaments behind. To prevent their falling into enemy hands,
the French sunk most of them in the sea. Many of these weapons have now been recovered by
Raveh and are now displayed in the CONRAD Museum.
The CONRAD Museum is also known as
the Hamizgaga Museum (the Fitted with glass museum). An
interesting fact is that Meir Dizengoff, later the first mayor of Tel Aviv, was the
manager of Baron Rothschild’s glass factory until the baron closed it.
A visit to the CONRAD Museum allows
one to view the many items recovered from beneath the waters of the Mediterranean off
the ancient port of Dor. These include items left behind by
Napoleon and his defeated French army.
Shown below are pictures taken at the CONRAD