The Greek Sewn Shipbuilding Tradition and the Ma’agan Mikhael Ship: a Comparison with Mediterranean Parallels from the Sixth to the Fourth Centuries BC

By Yaacov Kahanov and Patrice Pomey, published February 2004


The Ma’agan Mikhael ship was built with a wine-glass shaped, shell based hull, assembled with mortise and tennon joints, but with planking sewn to the stem and sternposts. The paper aims to place the construction methods of the Ma’agan Mikhael ship in the broader context of the development of Ancient Greek shipbuilding between the Sixth and Fourth centuries BC. The available comparative material is discussed and, based on the archaeological record, development stages of ancient Greek shipbuilding are proposed. The archaeological material appears to demonstrate a design move from round-bottomed, sewn hulls, through an intermediary steps of mixed sewn and mortise-and-tennon fastened hulls of at first round then wine-glass shape, to the last stage of development represented by the Kyrenia ship – wine-glass shaped hull, built entirely with mortise and tennon joints, abandoning sewing or lashing techniques.

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Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Archaeology | Shipbuilding & Design

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