A deep-sea salvage company claims to have discovered the deepest ancient shipwreck ever found- a 2, 300-year-old Greek trading vessel found nearly two miles under the surface of the Mediterranean. The discovery of the shipwreck between the classical trading centers of Rhodes and Alexandria adds to the collection of evidence that is challenging the long-held theory that ancient sailors lacked the navigational knowledge and skill to sail large distances across open water. It is believed that they were restricted to following the coastline during t hier trips. Four other possibly ancient wrecks were discovered nearby. In the spring of 1999, the deep-ocean exploration firm Nauticos Corporation conducted a survey in the eastern Mediterranean in an attempt to locate an Israeli submarine that had mysteriously disappeared in the area 31 years before. Their sonar system detected five closely spaced clusters at a depth of almost 10, 000 feet on what is known as the Herodotus Abyssal Plain.
Visual inspection of these clusters with a remotely operated vehicle revealed five shipwrecks of possible archaeological significance. There was only enough time to permit the collection of a detailed video and sonar imagery of only one site. This information was sent to the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) at Texas A&M University to determine the ships origin and importance. The shape of several amphora’s or containers from the site date back to the end of the third century B. C. or the beginning of the second century B.
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C. making this the deepest ancient shipwreck yet discovered. Despite its depth, the site is typical for an ancient shipwreck. The vessel came to rest on the bottom and eventually flipped over onto its side. As its wooden hull lost structural integrity, the ship’s side flattened out under the weight of the containers that had tumbled over it.
The opposite side of the hull was held upright, unburied by the containers or sediment, succumbed to erosion and decay, and were mostly rotted away. This wreck’s amphora cargo forms a mound approximately 80 feet long and 50 feet wide and tapers in height and width from the center of the ship to the bow and stern, or front and back. At least six or more types of wine amphora’s have been identified, including containers from the islands of Rhodes and Kos, there may be as many as 2, 500 containers present at the site. The ship’s bow area or the front area of the ship, can be identified by the presence of at least five lead anchors. Anchors of the time period were compromised of wooden shafts and flukes and lead stocks and fluke supports, or “collars.” Five or more lead collars and three stocks are still laying in a position on the foredeck of the ship, the usual location for anchors on a voyage during this time period. It is not unusual to find six or more anchors on a wreck site from this period, as they often fell off during use and required continuous repairs.
The crew’s quarters were usually located in the stern or back of the ship. This wreck’s stern area contained some kitchen utensils, including one serving bowl and pitcher. An unusual feature of this wreck is a large, intact metal cauldron that sits upright in the center of the amphora mound. The cauldron has been collecting sediment for more than 2, 000 years and is essentially the world’s oldest and longest continuously deployed sediment trap. Oceanographers at Texas A&M University are trying to determine if there is a nondestructive method to obtain a core sample of the sediment in the vessel, which might yield information about changes in the Mediterranean Sea over the last two thousand years. The great depth and cold of the sea may even have preserved a portion of the ship’s hull.
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Two small wooden members — a frame or deck beam and a small segment of thin planking-stick out from the sediment at the edge of the forward-port area of the wreck. They appear to be well preserved, which makes the possibility for preservation of the remainder of the port side of the vessel promising. ‘This find revolutionizes our understanding of how trade was done 2000 years ago,’ says Tom Dettweiler, general manager and executive vice president of Nauticos Corporation, the nationally renowned deep sea exploration firm that located the shipwreck. ‘We have found more than 2000 amphorae which once bore wine, olive oil, or other classical trade items. Who knows what kinds of tools or utensils we ” ll find down there that will give us new understanding and answer many questions about ancient civilizations.’ It’s not the first time Nauticos has unearthed long-lost underwater articles of historical importance. Although its core business is support work for the U.
S. Navy, Nauticos has achieved a number of other notable ocean discovery successes. These include serving as the Operations Manager for the Discovery Channel’s 1998 Titanic special that included a live TV show. Nauticos also managed the search and discovery of the historic Japanese submarine, I-52, sunk in the Atlantic by the U. S. Navy during World War II and believed to be carrying $20 million in gold bound for Germany.
Additionally Nauticos discovered a portion of the Japanese aircraft carrier KARA sunk at the Battle of Midway Nauticos provides operations and navigation expertise that specializes in deep-ocean search and underwater problem solving. Its deep-sea exploration experts offer extensive experience and unique technologies that significantly reduce search time and lower the cost of at-sea operations. These core capabilities enable Nauticos to find any object on the ocean floor to the deepest depths. That there are four other possibly ancient shipwrecks in close proximity to the site is extremely interesting.
... though separated by more than a thousand years from the ancient mariners of the Mediterranean, were far more technologically advanced than ... limited knowledge of navigation in open water. The Chinese traders also were independent and did not trade for the glory of the ... and Ming Dynasty China: A Comparison of Seafaring in the Ancient World “Audaces fortuna iuvat!” This Roman motto which literally means ...
If the wrecks are all from the same general time period, they may provide detailed information about long-distance trade over open water at a specific period in history. If the wrecks span many centuries, they may provide new and important evidence about trade between Crete, Cyprus, Turkey, and Egypt, over a broad span of time. This would be the first evidence of sustained open-water traffic in the ancient world. The wreck lies at the midpoint along a line drawn between the ancient trading centers of Rhodes and Alexandria.
Based on the wreck’s location and its cargo of Greek wine, archaeologists speculate that the ship was bound for Egypt when it sank, either as a result of a structural failure or having taken too much water in heavy seas. Closer study of the amphora’s and ceramics hopefully will present a more precise date for the shipwreck. INA and Nauticos are discussing the possibility of returning to the site to carry out a detailed study, as well as to explore and date the four other wrecks in the immediate vicinity. This wreck is valuable to historians and archeologists because of the evidence and information it provides about trade in the region and about open-water trade routes in general. The fact that there are several other similar wrecks in the same region is extremely interesting for several reasons: . If they are all from the same general period or time frame, they may provide detailed information about long distance trade over open water at a specific moment in history.
This is significant because conventional archaeological wisdom believes that ancient sailors navigated by hugging the coast. Additionally, if the wrecks are from a single fleet that was lost all at once it is a fascinating mystery in itself… If the wrecks span many generations, then, it may provide new and important evidence about trade between Crete, Cyprus, Turkey, and Egypt, over a broad span of time. This would be the first evidence of sustained open-water traffic in the ancient world… More exciting is the possibility that one of the other targets Nauticos discovered is a Minoan shipwreck.
The Minoans ruled Crete and most of the Aegean in the Early-Middle Bronze Age, establishing a throughout the ancient near east, but no trace of a shipwreck has ever been located. The oldest known shipwrecks discovered date to the Late Bronze Age, at Cape Gelid onya and Ulu Burn in Turkey. Both have been excavated during the past 35 years by INA.
... are members. APEC leaders are committed to achieving free and open trade for the region by 2010. APEC is moving towards this ... practices may seem unfair but the union is beginning to open up trade with Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and hopefully they will ... exporter. The U. S. can use the threat of trade sanctions to open up closed markets and even change countries policies. An ...