Ma'agan Michael Ship sails in Haifa Ma'agan Michael Ship sails in Haifa Volunteers contributed heavily to this labor of love. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Video: See what an ancient cruise was like 2,500 years ago

There's no all-you-can-eat buffet but you could have feasted on olives, figs and grapes.

Scientists uncovered a 2,500-year-old ship that had been preserved in sand off the Mediterranean coast near the Israeli city of Haifa. They also uncovered an ancient carpenter's toolbox at the shipwreck. So they did the obvious: they built a replica of the ship, and they took it for a ride.

The scientists and volunteers at the University of Haifa and the Israel Antiquities Authority who worked on the ship took it out on the water for the first time on Friday. And that's why we have a video of this ancient and modern adventure.

“It’s hard to admire it when you see the ship completed and it looks like a prop from a movie,” said Avner Hillman, an archaeologist who worked on the ship. “But if you go into the belly of this ship and understand that inside it there are close to 10,000 bolts, and tens of thousands of nails, and those are among the dynamics we had no idea how to do two years ago.”

The well-preserved ancient ship may have come from Greece or Cyprus, both of which had formidable ancient mariners. Its keel, a dozen or so crossbars, wooden plates and the base of the mast were all in great condition, which allowed the researchers to figure out how to build the replica.

Among the wreckage, researchers also found food remnants, such as grapes, olives, figs and barley. So if you're envisioning ancient people cruising on this ship, imagine them eating olive tapenade and fig bruschetta.

The crew is now figuring out how best to sail the ship. After they practice around the Israeli shore for a while, they're planning on cruising to Cyprus, ancient-style.


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Related Topics: Archaeology

Video: See what an ancient cruise was like 2,500 years ago
Scientists in Israel made a replica of Ma'agan Michael, an ancient ship, and took it for a spin.