Ship from 8th Century Found in Mediterranean

Divers inspect an 8th century shipwreck in the Mediterranean. It's the only ship from that time found in the region.

A ship from the 8th century discovered off Dor Beach in the Mediterranean is thought to be the only vessel from that era ever found in the region.

"We do not have any other historical or archaeological evidence of the economic activity and commerce of this period at Dor," said Ya'acov Kahanov from the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies and the Department Of Maritime Civilizations at the University of Haifa. "The shipwreck will serve as a source of information about the social and economic activities in this area."

The wreck [image] was found almost a decade ago but only today were details released after a prolonged series of excavations. Using carbon dating techniques, the wreck was dated to the early 8th century, some 1,300 years ago.

The ship is about 16 feet wide and 50 feet long. It was found in a shallow lagoon.

Kahanov said it is a rare find given the amount of wood that's been preserved in the hull. Also found were 30 vessels of pottery of different sizes and designs containing fish bones, ropes, mats, a bone needle, a wooden spoon, wood carvings and food remains, mainly carobs and olives.

The ship was used in some sort of trade, Kahanov and colleagues say.

Live Science Staff
For the science geek in everyone, Live Science offers a fascinating window into the natural and technological world, delivering comprehensive and compelling news and analysis on everything from dinosaur discoveries, archaeological finds and amazing animals to health, innovation and wearable technology. We aim to empower and inspire our readers with the tools needed to understand the world and appreciate its everyday awe.