National Geographic : 1970 Jun
"The ship came alive for us," says author Katzev, recalling the excitement of excavation. Guided by expedition findings, artist Lloyd Townsend here envisions the lead-sheathed vessel at a port on the island of Rhodes. Fishermen bring in their catches in small skiffs, while a Greek warship with double banks of oars, right, moves into the harbor, perhaps patrolling this corner of the vast Hel lenic empire. After off-loading an order of millstones from the merchantman, longshoremen carry From the barge we quickly transferred the wood to the castle for cleaning and storage in fresh-water tanks. Nancy Palmer made a tracing of each rib to record its precise cur vature for later reconstruction. The sea stayed miraculously calm. On Octo ber 3 the last of the ship's planks broke sur face. Altogether, in 29 trayloads, we had raised about five tons of waterlogged wood. Last winter a group of expedition members stayed in Kyrenia to supervise preservation and stabilization of the ship's wood. The Cyprus Department of Antiquities is restor ing one of the vaulted galleries in the Kyrenia castle to house the ship during treatment and for eventual display. The timbers and wood fragments will be soaked with polyethylene glycol, which will replace the missing fibers 856 of the riddled wood with a waxy substance. Of the five badly corroded bronze coins re covered from the wreck, two had been struck by the Macedonian ruler Demetrios Polior ketes. They could have been minted no earlier than 306 B.C. And a welcome report has come from the carbon-14 Laboratory of the Uni versity Museum, confirming archeological evidence of the ship's great age. The planks were cut in 389 B.C., plus or minus 44 years. Veteran of a Busy Trade Route The ship, then, was possibly more than 80 years old when loaded for her final voyage. The period of her working life spanned an era when Greece had taken a commanding position in the commerce of the eastern Med iterranean. Sea-borne trade was booming.