The European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM) announced the discovery of an ancient Greek shipwreck. The shipwreck is full of treasures that date back to the Ptolemaic era. It was discovered in the Bay of Abou Qir, near Alexandria.
Ancient Greek shipwreck discovered in Bay of Abou Qir
Franck Goddio, the president of the IEASM says they believe the ship sank after being hit by large blocks from the temple of Amun. The temple was destroyed during a cataclysmic event sometime in the second century BC. Goddio and others believe the ancient Greek shipwreck was originally moored at a wharf in the canal when the disaster struck.
The very same blocks that sank the ship may have also helped preserve it, too. The divers responsible for the find say that the blocks pinned the shipwreck to the bottom of the canal. This allowed it to become filled with clay and debris, eventually settling under five meters (roughly 15 feet) of hard clay. The ship was only detectable thanks to a prototype sonar called “sub-bottom profiler.”
You can see images of the ancient Greek shipwreck, and the treasures the divers unearthed in the tweet above. The researchers were able to determine when the builders constructed the ship, too. They based the dating on the hull’s design. The use of long mortise-and-tenon joints and a developed internal structure point toward the Classical time period.
The discovery of this ancient Greek shipwreck is indeed one for the history books. The Bay of Abou Qir is home to the sunken, lost ancient city of Heracleion, or Thonis. When the ship sank, the Greek civilization would have still held great influence in Egypt. A time when the ruling days of the pharaohs was slowly coming to an end.
Finds of these types of galleys are extremely rare, especially from this time period, Goddio noted in a press release (via Greek Reporter). Currently, the only other ancient shipwrecks from this period include a Punic Marsala Ship from around 235 BC. Before the discovery of this ancient Greek shipwreck, Hellenistic ships of this type and design were completely unknown to archaeologists.
But Greek shipbuilders weren’t the only ones responsible for constructing the ship. Goddio says that there were also signs of ancient Egyptian construction, too. The ship was most likely a rowing ship, they determined. It also featured a massive sail. They believe the shipbuilders built the ship in Egypt due to the mixed construction features. It was also more than 25 meters long.