July 17, 2024 The sun rises from Anatolia

The oldest known shipwreck in the Mediterranean found

The Israel Antiquities Authority announced that the oldest known shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea was discovered during oil exploration off the Mediterranean coast.

The Israel Antiquities Authority announced today that the 3300-year-old shipwreck contains amphorae preserved as they were on the first day.

The discovery was made at a depth of 1800 meters by Energean, a company exploring for oil and natural gas 90 kilometers off the coast in northwestern Israel.

The oldest known shipwreck in the Mediterranean found
Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA)

According to experts, the wreck shows that the navigation skills of ancient mariners were more advanced than previously thought.

“The discovery of this boat now changes our entire understanding of ancient mariner capabilities. It is the first to be found at such a great distance from any land mass without line of sight,” said Jacob Sharvit, head of the IAA marine unit, adding that two similar vessels from the same period had been discovered earlier, but only close to shore.

The oldest known shipwreck in the Mediterranean found
Photo: Jacob Sharvit (left) and Dr. Karnit Bahartan (right) with ancient jars carried on the world’s oldest known deep-sea vessel. Photo. Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA)

With the new discovery, the previous assumption that sailors traveled by following the land without losing sight of it has been replaced by the idea that sailors used the sun and stars to navigate.

Energean said he used a submersible robot to scan the seabed in his study. The wreck is 12 to 14 meters (39 to 45 feet) long, buried under the muddy bottom. Its hold was loaded with hundreds of amphorae dating back thousands of years.

The oldest known shipwreck in the Mediterranean found
Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA)

The boat and its cargo were completely intact, the IAA said, adding that the ship appeared to have sunk either in a storm or after being attacked by pirates.

IAA archaeologists, who recovered two of the amphorae from the wreck, believe it may have belonged to the Canaanites, a people who lived in the lands adjacent to the eastern Mediterranean.

Cover Photo: Still from a video released by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) on Thursday, June 20, 2024. Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA)

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