Ancient Near East : Naval

History of Boats and Ships Humans have tended to live near water, and it is natural to make use of things that float. Logs or bundles of reeds can be lashed together to form rafts; hollow trunks can be improved to become dugout canoes. Once the principle of a watertight hull is understood, animal hides or the bark of trees can be attached to a framework of bamboo or wicker to make a simple coracle. Boats of all these kinds have been made by technologically primitive communities, and many continue to be made into the 20th century.

Mesopotamian Boats The paucity of pictorial representation of Mesopotamian boats makes comparisons difficult. Their watercraft, as presently known, did not survive the ages. Despite advances in the maritime archaeology around the world, the ships and boats of Mesopotamia remain elusive. The little information we have is currently limited to iconography and texts.

Phoenican Trading Ship Marititme History/ Ancient Mesopotamian Ships/ Phoenican Trading Ship Phoenician cargo and trading ships of this design are known from the tomb of Sargon of Nineveh, c.700 B.C. where such ships were depicted loading cedar logs. These symmetrical, 'round', oared, sailing ships had high stem and stern posts upon which were carved horse heads. This ship appears to have a hogging truss which indicates an early design. Round trading ships had advantages for the transport of bulk goods.

Phoenician Cargo Ship Considered the best shipbuilders of the time, the Phoenicians designed boats that depended more on wind than on manpower. Phoenician ships could carry more cargo than galley ships, which needed room for oars and rowers...

Phoenician Ships The best seafarers and ship builders of the ancient world were the Phoenicians. The famous Lebanese cedar tress covering the slopes of mountains of their native land was a perfect material for construction of strong seaworthy ships. The Phoenicians made important contributions to the marine science, having been credited with the division of a circle into 360 degrees and having reliable celestial reference points.

Phoenician Ships, Navigation and Commerce The first attempts of the Phoenicians to navigate the sea which washed their coast were probably as clumsy and rude as those of other primitive nations. They are said to have voyaged from island to island by means of rafts.1 When they reached the shores of the Mediterranean, it can scarcely have been long ere they constructed boats for fishing and coasting purposes, though no doubt such boats were of a very rude construction. Probably, like other races, they began with canoes, roughly hewn out of the trunk of a tree. The torrents which descended from Lebanon would from time to time bring down the stems of fallen trees in their flood-time; and these, floating on the Mediterranean waters, would suggest the idea of navigation. They would, at first, be hollowed out with hatchets and adzes, or else with fire; and, later on, the canoes thus produced would form the models for the earliest efforts in shipbuilding. The great length, however, would soon be found unnecessary, and the canoe would give place to the boat, in the ordinary acceptation of the term. There are models of boats among the Phoenician remains which have a very archaic character,2 and may give us some idea of the vessels in which the Phoenicians of the remoter times braved the perils of the deep. They have a keel, not ill shaped, a rounded hull, bulwarks, a beak, and a high seat for the steersman. The oars, apparently, must have been passed through interstices in the bulwark.

Real-size Replica; Uluburun Shipwreck Turkey Bodrum real-size replica; Uluburun shipwreck, St. Peter's castle, Bodrum, Turkey

Reconstruction of the Yassiada shipwreck Turkey Bodrum (partial) reconstruction of the Yassiada shipwreck from Byzantine times (7th c.), St. Peter's castle; Bodrum, Turkey

Turkey Bodrum Replica of the Yassiada shipwreck from Byzantine times (7th c.), St. Peter's castle; Bodrum, Turkey

Turkey Bodrum (partial) reconstruction Turkey Bodrum (partial) reconstruction of the Yassiada shipwreck from Byzantine times (7th c.), St. Peter's castle; Bodrum, Turkey