A 2,700-Year-Old Ship Found In The Mediterranean Sea, Ferried Phoenicians

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By Afza Fathima | August 27, 2014 12:15 PM EST

Groplan project undertaken by undewater archaelogists that was led by Dr. Timmy Gambin of the University of Malta, have found the remains of a Phoenician ship in the waters of Gozo, a Maltese island, Sci-News reported.

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A Grimaldi lines ship sails in front of the cruise liner Costa Concordia during the refloat operation maneuvers at Giglio Island July 23, 2014. Maneuvers began early on Wednesday to remove the rusty hulk of the Costa Concordia cruise liner from the Italian island where it struck rocks and capsized two years ago, killing 32 people. A convoy of 14 vessels, led by the tug boat Blizzard, will start to tow the Concordia later on Wednesday to a port near Genoa in northern Italy where it is due to arrive on Sunday, before being broken up for scrap.

The Phoenicians were great maritime people who had the flair of developing ship-building technology of excellent quality. They are credited with the invention of the man-powered vessels with two decks of oars. They had established trade in the Mediterranean, Babylon, North Africa, Italy, Sicily and Corsica and they were thrived as maritime traders.

Dr. Gambin and his colleagues from the University of Malta and the French National Research Agency suggest that the shipwreck could be dated way back around 700 BC, means that it is almost 2,700 years old and it contains some of the oldest artifacts of that civilization.

Dr. Gambin told the Times of Malta that it is the oldest shipwreck in the central Mediterranean and hence, very unique. The team of archaelogists were surprised to note that the cargo was still intact. 

According to Dr. Gambin and his team, the shipwreck offers significant information about the seafaring and trade of the Phoenicians, of which very little was known. It is believed that the vessel sank while travelling to Malta from Sicily.

Justice and Culture Minister Owen Bonnici told Times of Malta that the wreck was discovered at a depth of 125 metres, but the exact location of the wreck has not been revealed. The wreck was spread out on an area of about 14 meters by 5 metres. The wreck that was found showed that the ship was carrying a cargo of 20 lava grinding stones, each weighing 35 kilograms and 50 containers of seven varieties, each container having two handles and narrow necks, the type that is usually used to hold wine. 

The team is now trying to put the data together having are more than 8,000 photographs through which they can make a high-resolution 3D model of the wrecked site. 

The researchers are planning to investigate the pieces of wreck as well as the site further for the purpose of better understanding.

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(Photo: Reuters / Alessandro Bianchi)
A Grimaldi lines ship sails in front of the cruise liner Costa Concordia during the refloat operation maneuvers at Giglio Island July 23, 2014. Maneuvers began early on Wednesday to remove the rusty hulk of the Costa Concordia cruise liner from the Italian island where it struck rocks and capsized two years ago, killing 32 people. A convoy of 14 vessels, led by the tug boat Blizzard, will start to tow the Concordia later on Wednesday to a port near Genoa in northern Italy where it is due to arrive on Sunday, before being broken up for scrap.
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