4 weeks ago

Newly discovered 3,300-year-old shipwreck ‘changes the understanding’ of sailing in ancient world

Sign up for CNN’s Wonder Theory science newsletter. Explore the universe with news on fascinating discoveries, scientific advancements and more.

A 3,300-year-old ship has been discovered at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea, making it one of the oldest shipwrecks ever discovered and rewriting our understanding of sailing in the ancient world, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The vessel is estimated to be from the 13th or 14th century BCE, the authority said in a statement. It was discovered 90 kilometers (around 56 miles) from the shore, in waters 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles) deep, with hundreds of intact jars still on board, the statement added.

The ship’s remains were found during an environmental survey of the seabed by London-based natural gas production company Energean, according to Karnit Bahartan, the head of the company’s environment team.

The shipwreck was found during an environmental survey of the seabed. - Emil Eljam/Israel Antiquities Authority

The shipwreck was found during an environmental survey of the seabed. - Emil Eljam/Israel Antiquities Authority

During the survey, an “unusual sight of what seemed to be a large cluster of urns” was discovered, Bahartan said. This turned out to be a “sensational discovery, more than any of us could have imagined,” she added.

Energean then conducted an operation to extract the jars from the wreck – these will be displayed at the newly built Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel in Jerusalem this summer.

Yaakov Sharvit, director of the Maritime Archeology Unit at the antiquities authority, said the ship may have been wrecked by a storm or an encounter with pirates.

“This is the first and earliest shipwreck discovered to date in the deep sea in the eastern Mediterranean,” he said.

Sharvit said the jugs found on board were commercial vessels that would probably have contained oil, wine, or other agricultural products like fruit, indicating that maritime trade took place across the sea.

A robot brought the ancient jugs to the surface. - Energean

A robot brought the ancient jugs to the surface. - Energean

Previous knowledge of how ships traded suggested that voyages were made from port to port, rather than across open expanses of sea, with those on board still able to see the shore.

“The ship that has just been discovered changes the understanding of sailing in the ancient world,” Sharvit said.

“This is a world-class sensation: The discovery shows the impressive navigational abilities of the ancients – those that made it possible to cross the Mediterranean Sea without any eye contact with the shore – since from this distance you can only see the horizon line,” he added.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com

Read Entire Article

Comments

News Networks