BAR 18:06, Nov/Dec 1992
Excavating an Ancient Merchantman
The Maagan Michael shipwreck
A chance discovery of a 2,400-year-old shipwreck off the coast of Kibbutz Maagan Michael, 20 miles south of Haifa, has been yielding a storehouse of new insights into ancient seafaring and the shipwrights art. Thanks to recent geomorphological changesfluctuations in the sea level, sediment movements and shifts in local faultsalong Israels seacoast, investigators are discovering more and more submerged antiquities.
We may have discovered, at last, a ship of Phoenician origin sunk along Israels Mediterranean coast almost 2,400 years ago. But the fact that after three seasons of excavation followed by intensive studies we still cant be sure of the identity of the ships builders and sailors, illustrates just how difficult it is to interpret the evidence from this submerged vessel. What is certain, however, is that this is one of the best-preserved wooden-hulled ships ever discovered in the Mediterranean from such an early time.