A. Installations that Exploited the Kinetic Energy of the Waves Breaking on the Shore
Lifting Channels. The western openings of these channels were funnel-like and hewn close to and slightly above the sea level, so that the waves could reach the channel. The energy of the breaking wave forced the water to rise about one meter above the sea level to the highest point of the channel (above) and from there the water flowed east by gravity (Figs. 2, 3).
Lifting Slope. A sloping rock-hewn surface whose lower part was close to the level of the sea and slightly above it, and in its raised eastern side was a hewn channel that conveyed the seawater to an evaporation pan. During a storm, the high waves would flood the slipway and the seawater raised by the waves would flow eastward toward the evaporation pans. The flow of the water in the channels was regulated by wooden sluice gates that were inserted and removed from slots hewn in the sides of the channel (Fig. 4).
B. Installations that Lifted Water by Means of Man, Animal or Wind Power
Wells for Pumping the Seawater. In places where the coastal cliff was steep and several meters above the sea level, wells were dug from the top of the cliff to a point slightly below that of the sea level. A channel was hewn in an abrasion platform located at the foot of the cliff and conveyed water to the bottom of the well. The seawater was raised from the bottom of the wells by various mechanical pumping devices powered by man, animals or the wind. Rock-cut or built channels conveyed the water by means of gravity from the wellhead at the top of the cliff to evaporation pans (Figs. 5, 6).
Intermediate Pools. In places where the topography of the kurkar ridge was not conducive for lifting the seawater and conveying it to an evaporation pan in one step, the seawater would flow into hewn intermediate pools (lifting pools) and then, it was transferred to conveying channels that carried the water by gravity to the evaporation pans (Fig. 7).
. In addition to the various lifting installations, channels that transferred the seawater eastward to the evaporation pans were discovered. These channels were partly hewn in the kurkar bedrock; their other parts did not survive because they were built of perishable materials, such as wood and clay. The conveying channels are usually the continuation of the lifting channels located close to the shoreline. The connection between the lifting and conveying channels was located at the highest point above sea level and above the evaporation pan. In that way, it was possible to lift the water from the sea by wave power to the peak point, using the lifting channels, and drain it by gravity from that point to the evaporation pans via the conveying channels. Other conveying channels brought the seawater from the wellheads to the evaporation pans.
Lifting channels were discovered on the shore at the Western Galilee Field School, in the southern part of the naval base at ‘Atlit, at the mouth of Nahal Ha-Me‘arot, in Ha-Bonim Nature Reserve and near the northern part of Tel Dor. Liftind Slopes were documented in the northern bay at ‘Atlit and in the al-Maqali region, in the central sector of the ‘Atlit naval base (Fig. 1: B). Seawater wells were mainly discovered in Ha-Bonim Nature Reserve (Fig. 1: C). Intermediate pools were discovered near the Sursak pool in the Western Galilee, in the southern part of the ‘Atlit naval base and in Ha-Bonim Nature Reserve. At some of the sites, installations that combine lifting methods were discovered. As mentioned beforehand, they made use of lifting channels at the mouth of Nahal Ha-Me‘arot; however, a line of square rock-hewn pits (0.3 × 0.3 × 0.4 m) discovered alongside the channels was used to secure manual devices for pumping and lifting the water, probably swing beams, which were operated when there were no waves. The evaporation pans fed from the pumping installations on the Carmel coast were in the troughs, which is the location of the modern ‘Atlit salt works evaporation pans, in the abandoned fish ponds of Qibbuz Newe Yam, in the fields in the troughs east of the Dor–Ha-Bonim Nature Reserve and in the fish ponds of Qibbuz Nahsholim, east and northeast of Tel Dor (Fig. 1: D).
Common salt is a nutrient of industrial and economic value. This salt is used as a spice, for preserving food and tanning skins. Salt also has religious and symbolic values and in the past, it also served as a form of payment. Salt can be quarried as a mineral or it can be produced by evaporating saltwater. Complex systems for producing salt from seawater were exposed in archaeological studies conducted along the Carmel and the Galilee coasts. Suitable environmental conditions led to the establishment of dozens of salt works on the Carmel and Western Galilee coasts, dating from the Roman period and possibly earlier. Some of these works are connected to anchorages, as well as settlement and cultic sites. Lifting and pumping systems that had mainly survived were hewn in the kurkar bedrock near the shoreline and operated by the power of man, animal or wind, as well as those exploiting the energy of waves. Dating these installations is difficult; yet sometimes, it can be done by means of written sources and archaeological finds.
The salt produced in the systems on the Carmel and Western Galilee coasts was used in various ancient industries, e.g., as a preservative of foods, olives, and fish on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Galilee, and in tanning. The many installations discovered and the geographic names, such as Melah Island, Tel Milha and Wadi Milikh reflect the importance of the Carmel coast as a center for supplying salt to the country’s inhabitants in antiquity. It can be learnt from the installations about the sea level during the periods in which they were operated. Research shows us that with proper maintenance, the documented installations can also function efficiently today at the current sea level. Hence, it is concluded that no significant change occurred in the sea level since the periods during which the installations were used. That is to say, in the past two thousand years there have been no significant changes (greater than the intertidal range above c. 0.25 m) in the elevation of the sea level on the Carmel and Galilee coasts. This finding is consistent with other archaeological indicators of sea levels, such as beach quarries, rock-hewn pools for raising and maintaining marine life, drinking water wells, foundations of buildings that were constructed near the shore and other seaside-affiliated installations. Geomorphologic indicators of sea levels (abrasion platforms, beach rocks, and wave-cut notches) also show relative stability in the sea level during the past two thousand years.