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Old September 15th 05, 04:17 AM
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Default Bronze-age boat story

An item of interest posted on another (fishing) group

Bronze Age Boat Sets Sail, Sinks
By Paul Garwood
Associated Press
12 September 2005
09:35 am ET

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- It was a quick end for a Bronze Age-style boat
of reeds and tar, sinking just after leaving Oman on a voyage across
the Indian Ocean. But its crew vowed Saturday to try again to prove
that traders 4,000 years ago could have made the journey to India.

The 40-foot boat, dubbed the Magan after an ancient name for Oman,
set sail Wednesday from the Gulf sultanate's port of Sur but several
miles offshore it started to take on water and sank within 30

Its eight-member crew -- two Americans, an Australian sailing master,
two Omani seamen, two Italian graduate students and an Indian
archaeologist -- tried to bail out the water but soon had to escape
on a life raft to an Omani ship escorting the Magan, the crew said in
a statement.

The boat was made from reeds, date-palm fibers and bitumen tar, with
a wool sail and two teak oars. The team was hoping to make the 600
mile voyage across the Indian Ocean to the historic Indian port of
Mandvi to follow what archaeologists believe was a Bronze Age trade

But high seas gushed through a part of the boat's hull just below the
rim that was not covered in the tar used for waterproofing and

"The rim was not waterproof up to the top and the boat's bitumen
amalgam coating finished 30 centimeters (12 inches) below the rim,"
said Maurizio Tosi of the University of Bologna, which was behind the
project when it started in 1999.

The boat tilted more than expected, "which contributed to the faster
entry of water" into the vessel, Tosi said.

The Magan will not be retrieved from the bottom of the Arabian Sea,
said archaeologist Gregory L. Possehl, a co-chairman of the project
and curator at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology
and Anthropology in Philadelphia.

"Everyone was very saddened by the sinking of the boat on the first
day," Possehl told The Associated Press by telephone from Oman. "It
was a tragedy, especially after it had gotten off to a good start."

Tosi and Possehl were both aboard the Omani vessel that, along with
an Indian Navy ship, shadowed the Magan and rescued the crew.

On a positive note, Omani Culture Minister Saeed Haithem told the
members of the boat project Saturday that his government will back
the rebuilding and testing of another boat, Possehl said.

About $250,000 in funding provided by the Omani government had gone
into the project, said Tosi, who believed a greater amount would be
spent on rebuilding two more vessels.

The Magan was skippered by Tom Vosmer, the vessel's American director
of design and construction who know lives in Western Australia.

The project began after excavations on the easternmost point of the
Saudi Arabian peninsula turned up fragments of bitumen with the
impressions of bound reeds and rope lashings on one side and
barnacles on the other side. The find was evidence, researchers said,
of construction of vessels in the Arabian Sea during the Bronze Age.

The boat was built based on that evidence along with ancient texts
and images. Although researchers aren't calling it a replica -- there
isn't enough evidence for that -- it represents their best guess
about how such a vessel might have been built 4,500 years ago.

Researchers had hoped the voyage would help them learn about Bronze
Age boat construction techniques, plus how well such vessels worked,
how to sail them, and what life aboard them might have been like.

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Old September 15th 05, 05:43 AM
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How the F*ck could a 40' reed boat covered in bitumen tar with cotton
sails cost $250,000.00? Was it contracted to Halliburton w/o

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Old September 15th 05, 05:44 AM
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Please excuse my French Chip. BTW, I responded to your email and your
post CAD.


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Old September 15th 05, 11:48 AM
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Got the replies Bryan - thought I replied with a thank-you, apologies if I
didn't ... THANKS for that, I have been practicing being a CADder. Boy, talk
about a learning curve: worse than learning to play the banjo, I think.

French is my second language...


"Flyingmonk" wrote in message
Please excuse my French Chip. BTW, I responded to your email and your
post CAD.


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Old September 15th 05, 02:59 PM
William R. Watt
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The ancient Egyptian equivalent of carboard?
William R Watt National Capital FreeNet Ottawa's free community network
warning: non-FreeNet email must have "notspam" in subject or it's returned

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