Atlantis Online
September 22, 2017, 03:37:17 pm
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Update About Cuba Underwater Megalithic Research
http://www.timstouse.com/EarthHistory/Atlantis/bimini.htm
 
  Home Help Arcade Gallery Links Staff List Calendar Login Register  

Maritime Archaeologists At Helm Of Modern Journey To Ancient Punt

Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Maritime Archaeologists At Helm Of Modern Journey To Ancient Punt  (Read 1376 times)
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« on: May 16, 2009, 08:06:42 am »












                 

Min is 20 meters (66 feet) long and could have carried a cargo of about 15 tons in addition to crew and supplies. The modern reconstruction was built in only six months at an Egyptian shipyard.








                           Maritime Archaeologist at Helm of Modern Journey to Ancient Egyptian Land






(PhysOrg.com)
March 4, 2009

-- Ancient Egyptians may be best known for building pyramids, but internationally renowned maritime archaeologist Cheryl Ward wants the world to know that they were pretty good sailors, too.

She ought to know. Ward, an associate professor of anthropology at The Florida State University, and an international team of archaeologists, shipwrights and sailors recently built a full-scale replica of a 3,800-year-old ship and sailed it on the Red Sea to re-create a voyage to a place the ancient Egyptians called God’s Land, or Punt. Their expedition was financed and filmed as part of a French documentary that will air internationally and on an upcoming episode of “Nova.”

“This project has demonstrated the extraordinary capability of the Egyptians at sea,” Ward said. “Many people, including my fellow archaeologists, think of the Egyptians as tied to the Nile River and lacking in the ability to go to sea. For 25 years, my research has been dedicated to showing the scope of their ability and now, to proving their independently invented approach to ship construction worked magnificently at sea.”

The project grew out of the 2006 discovery of the oldest remains of seafaring ships in the world in manmade caves at Wadi Gawasis, on the edge of the Egyptian desert. The Egyptians used the site to assemble and disassemble ships built of cedar planks and to store the planks, stone anchors and coils of rope until the next expedition -- one that obviously never came. Civil unrest and political instability after the Middle Kingdom period (2040-1640 BC) likely put a halt to further exploration, and the caves were long forgotten, Ward said.

Ward, who serves as principal investigator for maritime archaeology at Wadi Gawasis, determined that the wooden planks found in the caves were nearly 4,000 years old. Based on the shipworms that had tunneled into the planks, she hypothesized that the ships had weathered a long voyage of up to six months, likely to the fabled southern Red Sea trading center of Punt.

Scholars had long known that Egyptians traveled to Punt, but they debated its exact location and whether the Egyptians reached Punt by land or by sea. Some had thought the ancient Egyptians did not have the naval technology to travel long distances by sea, but the findings at Wadi Gawasis confirmed that Egyptians sailed a 2,000-mile round trip voyage to Punt, located in what is today Ethiopia or Yemen, Ward said.
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.

Social Buttons

Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2009, 08:07:58 am »










After the discovery at Wadi Gawasis, Valerie Abita of the French production company Sombrero and Co. asked Ward to participate in a documentary about a modern re-creation of the voyage Egyptian female pharaoh Hatsheput sponsored to Punt. Ward designed and supervised the reconstruction of a Punt ship with the assistance of a naval architect, a consulting shipbuilder and an on-site Egyptian archaeologist.

The process involved several trips to Egypt to conduct more research, select a shipyard to build the vessel and choose materials. (It turns out that Douglas fir, the most common Christmas tree in America, is most like the ancient cedar the Egyptians used in terms of strength and density.) Along the way, Ward enlisted the FSU Master Craftsman Program to build small-scale models of the ship to help her to refine details of the plank shape and layout.

By October 2008, the 66-foot-long by 16-foot-wide ship, which Ward dubbed the Min of the Desert, was completed using the techniques of the ancient Egyptians -- no frames, no nails and planks that were designed to fit together like the pieces of a puzzle. After immersing the ship in the Nile to permit the timbers to swell closed around the wood fastenings, mounting the rigging and testing the steering system, they transported the complete ship by truck to the Red Sea -- rather than carry it piece by piece across the desert as the ancient Egyptians would have done.

In late December, the 24-person international crew set sail on the Red Sea with Florida State Assistant Professor of English David Vann, an accomplished sailor and acclaimed author, serving as captain.

Political limitations as well as an abundance of modern-day pirates along the southern end of the route kept the crew from leaving Egyptian waters, and the voyage ended after seven days and about 150 miles into what would have been a 1,000-mile trip to Punt. But the weeklong voyage provided a new appreciation for the skills and ingenuity of the ancient Egyptians, Ward said, noting that the crew was surprised at how fast the ship was able to travel -- approximately 6 knots, or 7 mph.

“The ship’s speed means that journeys would be made in much less time than Egyptologists had calculated, making the whole voyage simpler and more feasible for the ancients,” she said, adding that it probably took about a month to sail to Punt and two months to return. “The technology we used had not been applied to shipbuilding for more than 3,500 years, and it still works as well today as it did then.”

Not that it was easy.

“When it was time to raise the sail and point our bow south toward the land of Punt, we had only our crew and human energy to rely on,” Ward said. “Whether standing and rowing over the rail, hauling on a line to hoist the sail without the help of pulleys or keeping track of our progress along the shore, we all felt connected to those ancient sailors on their epic voyages.”



Provided by Florida State University
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2009, 08:09:04 am »








                           

                           Clockwise from top:

                            the Min of the desert crossing the Red Sea; 
                            the crew on board;
                            the reconstruction of Min
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2009, 08:10:09 am »









                                                               Sailing like an Egyptian






How did the ancient Egyptians import goods by sea or travel to the fabled Land of Punt in search of gold, ebony and leopard skins? Nevine El-Aref finds out
 
The ancient Egyptians pioneered the development of river craft for various uses, including agricultural and for transporting troops, cattle and building materials, as well as for funeral processions. But what about seafaring vessels? Until a few years ago, there was a widely held belief that the ancient Egyptians did not travel long distances by sea because of their poor naval technology. However, this view is changing.

People in the past tended to assume that the ancient Egyptians did not make long-distance trips because little evidence of such journeys has been found. Based on this belief they also thought that the Land of Punt, the fabled source of many ancient Egyptian imports, could not have been located in the Horn of Africa, but must have been in southern Sinai.

However, these views have changed as a result of the unearthing of timber, rigging and cedar planks dating from the Middle Kingdom to early New Kingdom periods two years ago in the ancient Red Sea port of Marsa Gawasis, 23km south of Port Safaga. This discovery has shed light on ancient Egyptian naval technology and on the elaborate ancient Red Sea trade network.

"Sailing to Punt required a tremendous investment of manpower," ship archaeologist Mohamed Mustafa told Al-Ahram Weekly, explaining that ancient Egyptian shipbuilders harvested cedarwood from the mountains of Lebanon and transported it up the Nile to the site where the vessels were first assembled and then disassembled into travel-ready pieces that could be carried on a 10-day journey across about 100 miles of desert to the coast.
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2009, 08:11:19 am »










Based on texts discovered more than a century ago, researchers have long known that the ancient Egyptians mounted naval expeditions to Punt as far back as the Old Kingdom to obtain gold, ebony, ivory, leopard skins and the frankincense necessary for religious rituals. The hides of giraffes, panthers and cheetahs, worn by temple priests, were imported along with live animals either for the priests' own menageries or as religious sacrifices, including the sacred cynocephalus or dog-faced baboon. Little wonder, then, that Punt became known as the "Land of the Gods" and as the personal pleasure garden of the god Amun.

When the ancient Egyptian ruler Queen Hatshepsut came to the throne, she sent a fleet of ships to Punt, and this is featured in relief in Hatshepsut's mortuary temple at Deir Al-Bahari. It portrays a total of 10 ships, five entering the harbour and five loading and setting sail. It is assumed that the ships were prefabricated on the Nile at Coptos, a point where the river is closest to the Red Sea, and were then stripped down and transported through Wadi Hammamat by donkey caravan to Qusseir, where they were reassembled.

On completion of their mission to Punt, the ships had to be stripped down again and their parts carried back through the desert together with their rich cargoes. Once they reached the Nile, they would be reassembled and set sail for Thebes.

However, despite these reliefs Mustafa said that in general little is known about ancient Egyptian maritime technology. Remains of Old Kingdom boats have been found at Tarkhan, Abydos and on the Giza Plateau in the shape of the Pharaoh Khufu's solar boats. Evidence of later New Kingdom vessels is engraved on the walls of temples, for example those at Deir Al-Bahari and Medinet Habu. However, very little is known about how these New Kingdom ships were put together.

So how did the ancient Egyptians sail to the Land of Punt, and how did they use their maritime technology to resist the destructive forces of the sea?

In order to try to answer such questions, a team of French, Italian, American and Egyptian archaeologists working with shipping experts have reconstructed an ancient Egyptian ship of the first quarter of the second millennium BC called "Min of the Desert". The idea was to set sail across the Red Sea in order to experience how the ancient Egyptians sailed to Punt and to expand the data available from archaeological evidence and the technical study of ships in ancient Egypt. 
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2009, 08:13:00 am »










"Min of the Desert" was built in Rosetta using techniques that the ancient Egyptians would have used and then transported to Marsa Gawasis on the Red Sea, from where it started its sea voyage. Before starting the trip, the 24-strong crew paid a visit to the Giza Plateau where Khufu's solar boat is located and to the Egyptian museum where the funerary boats of Senwosret III, unearthed at the Dahshour necropolis, are exhibited, in order to prepare them for the unusual aspects of sailing in an ancient Egyptian ship. Such ships were built without using nails, and the planks used to construct them were designed to fit together like pieces of a puzzle.

"The purpose of the expedition was to understand the capabilities of a reconstruction of an ancient Egyptian ship," said ship archaeologist Cheryl Ward of Florida State University, adding that the ship used the same technology as that used 4,000 years ago, as shown by discoveries at Marsa Gawasis.

The rigging of the ship was reconstructed from models and from the bas reliefs at the temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Al-Deir Al-Bahari. "Our primary goal was to demonstrate the extraordinary capability of the Egyptians at sea, as many people, including fellow archaeologists, have thought of the Egyptians as tied to the Nile and lacking the ability to go to sea," Ward said.

In order to save time, the team did not only use ancient shipbuilding techniques but was assisted by modern technology, such as electric saws to rough cut the planks. However, following this phase most of the work was done using hand tools following ancient examples, though these were made of iron rather than hammered copper. The construction phase lasted eight months.

The completed ship was 20m long, 4.9m wide, and 1.7m high under the beams. Its construction made it possible to check that the design (shell first) and its method of construction (the absence of a frame and assembly by non-pegged tenon joints), based on the interpretation of the archaeological and iconographic evidence, were technically realisable and effective. According to Mustafa, the ship's rigging can be operated by a crew of 15, and it is possible to sail at an average speed of 5.5 knots in favourable conditions. When using the oars, it is possible to reach a speed of 2.5 knots using 14 oarsmen. The ship's steering system proved to be effective, but heavy to operate, he said.

The completed ship "confirms the most recent hypothesis on the construction of the ships of ancient Egypt," Ward said, adding that tests were made in the shape of short trips on the Nile, then in the Red Sea, and then in the shape of a longer trial voyage south towards the Sudan from Safaga along the route used by the ancient Egyptians. "Min of the Desert" is the only experimental reconstruction of a ship from the ancient Egyptian period that has yet been carried out based on scientifically validated archaeological evidence.
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2009, 08:14:05 am »










Those who made the test voyages were generally full of praise for the technology of the ancient Egyptians. "At first, it seemed to me to be a crazy project," said Mahrous Lahma, an Egyptian worker who worked on the ship, "but then I grew to respect the technology and to have faith in the ship, and I was with them every minute of the voyage."

The crew were worried that the ship would not be able to withstand the strong sea waves, particularly since it was held together by wooden joints alone, as was ancient Egyptian practice. However, even in swells of up to three metres, the ship handled well, corkscrewing through the waves smoothly and taking only one small splash of a wave over the rail even when the wind was blowing at 25 knots.

"Although it took brute strength to haul up the sail and to row the ship, once the sail was set all of us remarked on the efficiency and simplicity of the ship when manoeuvring and steering, and on its responsiveness," Mustafa commented.

"We did not have any particular problems with the navigation. In fact, the ship was easy to sail. We did not practise anchoring, though it would have been possible to do that, but our intention was not to imitate the voyage entirely."

Many people helped to make the project work, notably Sombrero & Co., a documentary film production company based in France, which sponsored the project and made a film about it that will now be broadcast internationally and on NOVA/WGBH in the United States.
 


© Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2009, 08:16:22 am »



               



                                       

Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum | Buy traffic for your forum/website
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines