Kyrenia

One might think that the explosion of maritime trade in the Mediterranean was related to its "pacification" by the Roman navy under the empire. But this was not the case. Admittedly, centuries before, piracy existed, but went on par with a flourishing trade, all around the antique sea and well beyond. During the Greek golden age, shortly before the Median wars, and the long War of the Peloponese, Phoenicians and Greeks disputed the control of trade from the east to the west of the Mediterranean.

These great navigators dotted the coasts of their trading posts, and durably influenced countries in which they settled, in good understanding with the locals, also providers of good or potential customers. And the ships which secured these connections were for the most, frail coasters beaching each evening along the trip.

A large wreck was discovered by a Cypriot diver in 1967, and later excavated by Michael Katzev (American Institute of Nautical Archeology). The site was notable, as a test bed for a range of new sampling, excavation and conservation techniques. The survey using grid computations, metal detector, proton magnetometer (revealing metal concentrations). The cargo consisted of amphoras, many of which were coated inside the resin to counter ceramic's porosity, so the Kyrenia apparently transported wine. Others contained remains of almonds. The lowest level of the cargo consisted of a random number of querns, possibly transported as ballast. The distribution on the wreck of the site was studied in detail. Outside pottery found in the bow (quarter crews) also had been uncovered four sets of domestic utensils, indicating a crew of four, including plates, bowls, ladles, sifters, a copper cauldron, four cups of cooking salt, four bottles of Oil and four wooden spoon.

Despite the formation of deposits, a substantial part of the hull survived, in fact more than in any other site of the wreck of the old world. The hull was built with mortises and tenons fixed at close intervals of 12.3cm. The hull was reinforced by a number of nine-strake whales between the keel and the first whale. The frames were fixed with treenails led through the pre-drilled holes in the hull and through nailed with copper nails, which were then closed on the top surface of the frame. Nailing by treenails has been widely used in ancient ships and boats of the Mediterranean. They served two functions, allowing a tighter fit between the tablet and treenail hole, and avoiding damage that would have been caused to the hull and frames if the nails were used as the only method of fixing. Damage caused by friction between the metal and nails of the hull frame interfaces could be further aggravated by the electrolysis reactions between the metal and some woods leading to rotting wood.

By directing the nail through a treenail the carpenter ensured that in the event of erosion of the electrolytic treenail metal and nail rot can be removed from the hull without damaging the hull itself or frames, which Would be much more difficult to repair. The mast did not survived. Due to its general design and lightness of construction, it has been suggested that the forward and aft part has been faked, but there is no iconographic evidence for the use of these rigs in circa 4-3rd BC.

The true Kyrenia

Bronze coins dated the wreck at 316-294BC, radiocarbon dating of the hull pushed the construction date to about 345-433 BC, while the almonds dated Possibly from 212-342 BC, indicating that the ship was about 300 years old when it capsized, a good testimony to the quality of ancient shipbuilding!

Rather than lift the sections of the wreckage, it was decided to lift the whole ship. This was done by the systematic marking of all the woods after registration by drawing, photography and the new technique of stereo photography.

Objects recovered from the wreckage were well preserved, some dissected by the conservator using a saw's jeweler. When ferrous concretions had formed around objects such as rusty nails it was possible to use a latex rubber mold, from which a copy of the original ferrous materials can be made.

Source: HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE SHIP - 44 The Kyrenia Ship. C4-3BC