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Sunday, 2 May 2010

2,500 year "Homer" Ship Found off Coast of Sicily - A Treasure Hunter's Delight

Sicily has many more treasures to give up yet. Recently, a ship dating back to 500 BC was salvaged off the coast of Gela, Sicily. The ship was believed to be sailing from Greece to Gela, a Greek colony, transporting various materials. The 21-metre long vessel, is the largest of its type ever discovered, but what is the most amazing thing to me, is that the ship was constructed using a particular obscure method, of pine planks ''sewn'' together with plant fibre, described in beautiful detail by the legendary classical writer, Homer, in his epic, The Iliad.

It is the best-preserved example in the world of a Greek ship built using this technique, and therefore has earned the title of the "Homer" ship. In fact, according to this article from National Geographic, the ship is, "something of a missing link in the evolution of naval engineering".

Sicily's regional councillor for culture, Antonello Antinoro, went even further in typical Italian flourishing style by claiming that, ''Gela's ancient ship is the patrimony not only of Sicily but of all humanity.''

Go here for an amazing video of the submerged vessel. This significance of this discovery kind of makes you want to get into the diving business as a treasure hunter.

Footnote: Sicily, as readers of this blog will recall, was the site of a number of flourishing Greek city states, such as Gela and Naxos, and including the Daddy of them all, the great Syracusa, which rivalled Athens for dominance in the Hellenic world.

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