Thu Sep 13, 2012, 08:51 AM
xchrom (108,903 posts)
Shipwreck in 'exceptional' condition discovered by archaeologists in France
Ancient amazement ... the merchant vessel’s cargo will likely remain a mystery. Photograph: Rémi Bénali/Inrap
It looks like the rib cage of a large marine mammal, whose bones turned black as it was fossilised. The wreck was discovered in May during a dig in Antibes, on the French Riviera, prior to construction of a car park on the site of the Roman port of Antipolis.
Archaeologists have gradually uncovered a 15-metre length of hull and structural timbers, in "exceptional" condition, according to Giulia Boetto, a specialist in ship design at Aix-Marseille University who is involved in the dig. Saw and adze marks are still visible on the wood. Luckily the ground in which it was found is always waterlogged so this prevented the timber from rotting and decomposing.
Sprinklers have kept the hull and its structure moist since its discovery. "Otherwise, in just a few weeks we would lose everything," says Isabelle Daveau, an archaeologist at France's Rescue Archaeology Research Institute (Inrap) and head of the project.
The ship – a merchant vessel from the imperial period – was probably about 22 metres long and six or seven metres across. It is thought to have sunk in the second or third century in the port at Antipolis. "It has a typical Graeco-Roman flat-bottomed design," Boetto says, with a hold three metres deep and a square sail to drive it, suspended from a mast, which has not been found.
5 replies, 2959 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Shipwreck in 'exceptional' condition discovered by archaeologists in France (Original post)
|Judi Lynn||Sep 2012||#4|
Response to xchrom (Original post)
Fri Sep 14, 2012, 12:21 AM
lumberjack_jeff (32,380 posts)
5. Ancient boatbuilding techniques have much to recommend them.
Viking ships, in particular, had many superior features to wooden boats built today.