Sunday, 23 June 2024 04:38

3,300-year-old sunken ship found in Mediterranean at a depth where time has 'frozen,' Israel says

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A 3,300-year-old ancient sunken ship dating back to the Bronze Age has been discovered in the Mediterranean Sea at a depth where time has "frozen," the Israel Antiquities Authorityannounced Thursday. 

The agency, which describes the find as the "first and oldest wrecked shipdiscovered to date in the deep sea in the eastern Mediterranean," says it was first spotted last year about 56 miles off Israel’s coastline by Energean, a natural gas company that was conducting a survey in the area. 

"The ship appears to have been eroded as a result of a distress it got into in a sea storm, or perhaps in the event of an encounter with pirates -- a phenomenon known from the Late Bronze Age," Yaakov Sharavit, the director of the IAA’s Unit of Marine Archaeology, said in a statement. 

"This is a world-class, historical-altering discovery," Sharavit was also quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying. "This find reveals to us as never before the ancient mariners’ navigational skills – capable of traversing the Mediterranean Sea without a line of sight of any coast." 

The ship’s remnants were found more than a mile below the surface at a depth "where time was frozen in the moment of disaster" and has been untouched by humans or currents that affect shipwrecks found in shallower waters, according to Sharavit. The IAA says it sank sometime between 1400 and 1300 B.C. 

Sharavit says only two other Bronze Age shipwrecks have been discovered throughout history, both near Turkey. 

Energean Environmental Team Leader Karnit Bachartan said the ship was found during the survey by an "advanced underwater robot." 

"We identified an unusual sight of what seemed to be a large cluster of jugs resting on the ground," she said.  

"Upon reviewing the site and mapping using the robot, it was clear that this was a shipwreck about 12 to 14 meters long, carrying hundreds of jugs that only some of them could be seen on the surface," she added. 

The rest of the ship appears to be buried deep in mud on the seafloor, researchers say. 

The IAA says two of the jugs were later pulled from the depths to be examined for research purposes. 

It added that the jugs are believed to have held oil, wine and other agricultural products. 

 

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