Ancient Greek Ship of 500 BC Salvaged Off Gela Coast Sicily

by OldSailor on July 30, 2008



An ancient Greek trading ship which was in seabed for the last 2500 years off Gela coast, Sicily was salvaged on July 28. It is believed that the ship carrying goods from the Greek colony in Gela, back to Greece in around 500 BC sank some 800 metres off the Gela coast due to rough weather.

Some of the interesting features of the salvage operations are:

  • Coastguard and experts from the Caltanissetta culture department took part in salvage operations.
  • the salvaged Greek ship is 21 metres long with a beam of 6.5 metres.
  • the salvaged ship will be able to reveal Greek naval construction techniques; thanks to the amazing find of still-intact hemp ropes used to ‘sew’ together the pine planks in its hull – a technique described in Homer’s Iliad.
  • preparations to salvage the ship started in 1988, when two scuba divers located the ship.
  • ship’s bow and an array of amphorae, drinking cups, oil lamps and woven baskets from the ship were retrieved in 2003.
  • the rest of the vessel was salvaged using a boat equipped with a crane to lift loads up to 200 tonnes.
  • The parts of the ship will be preserved in tanks full of the protective chemical polyethylene glycol and would be transported to Mary Rose Archaeological Services, Portsmouth, U.K for conservation and reconstruction.
  • The culture department plans to build a sea museum in Gela with the ship as the key exhibit.

For more information and pictures read Life in Italy.

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