Here is What an Ancient Cruise Was Like 2,500 Years Ago

Ma'agan Michael Ship sails in Haifa

Scientists uncovered a 2,500-year-old ship that had been preserved in sand off the Mediterranean coast near the Israeli city of Haifa. They also uncovered an ancient carpenter’s toolbox at the shipwreck. So they did the obvious: they built a replica of the ship, and they took it for a ride.

The scientists and volunteers at the University of Haifa and the Israel Antiquities Authority who worked on the ship took it out on the water for the first time and here is the video of this ancient and modern adventure.

“It’s hard to admire it when you see the ship completed and it looks like a prop from a movie,” said Avner Hillman, an archaeologist who worked on the ship. “But if you go into the belly of this ship and understand that inside it there are close to 10,000 bolts, and tens of thousands of nails, and those are among the dynamics we had no idea how to do two years ago.”

The well-preserved ancient ship may have come from Greece or Cyprus, both of which had formidable ancient mariners. Its keel, a dozen or so crossbars, wooden plates and the base of the mast were all in great condition, which allowed the researchers to figure out how to build the replica.

Among the wreckage, researchers also found food remnants, such as grapes, olives, figs and barley. So if you’re envisioning ancient people cruising on this ship, imagine them eating olives and figs.

The crew is now figuring out how best to sail the ship. After they practice around the Israeli shore for a while, they’re planning on cruising to Cyprus, ancient-style.

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