World’s Oldest Shipwrecks

World’s Oldest Shipwrecks

Oceanographers have discovered the wrecks of two Phoenician vessels dating from about 750 B.C.E., reports the French magazine Sciences et avenir. The 48 [15]– and 58-foot [18 m] boats, lying off the coast of Israel at a depth of about 1,600 feet [500 m], are the oldest ships ever found in the open sea. The boats had set off from the port of Tyre carrying earthenware wine amphorae, probably bound for Egypt or the North African city of Carthage. As quoted in the International Herald Tribune, the discoverer of the ships, Robert Ballard, noted: “The great depths that exist in the oceans, the absence of sunlight, the great pressures, seem to preserve history far more than we thought.” The researchers said that this discovery “could help to open up a whole new chapter in the research on this ancient maritime culture.”

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