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3,000 Year Old Shipwreck to be Pulled From The Deep

Discovered off the coast of Croatia, the hand-sewn vessel will be the subject of extensive study once it’s back on dry land.


Shipwreck discovered in Croatia
Parts of the vessel are still in very good condition | Credit: CCJ

Archaeologically speaking, Croatia is definitely having its moment in the spotlight. Following last month's revelations about the discovery of a submerged 5,000 year old 'stacked stone' road (which is rewriting history), there's now news that roughly 3,000 years ago, a hand-sewn boat sank off the Croatian coast.


Next month, researchers will be endeavouring to pull the wreck from the depths in order to learn more about historical shipbuilding techniques.


Marine archaeologists began studying the 39-foot-long vessel - nicknamed the “Zambratija boat” because of its location in the Bay of Zambratija - after hearing reports from local fishermen in 2008. Researchers were surprised to learn the vessel dated to between the 12th and 10th centuries B.C.E, which they say makes it the oldest entirely hand-sewn boat in the Mediterranean.


Workers painstakingly constructed the vessel by using flexible fibers to stitch together pieces of wood. While that technique was popular around the world both before and after the introduction of metal components, researchers say the Zambratija boat is unique because it’s a rare surviving example of the “ancient naval tradition” of the Istria and Dalmatia regions.


The removal process will start on 2 July. Once the boat is on land, the team will reconstruct it - and begin studying it up close. In their initial examinations, they’ll try to more accurately date the vessel, determine its materials and learn more about the techniques used to shape its wood.


By 2024, if all goes well with the desalination process, the vessel will be on its way to Grenoble, France, where specialists can begin the work of restoring it.

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