March 1, 2013

(Jonathan Blair/National Geographic Stock)

The excavation and recovery of the well-preserved remains of this late-fourth-century B.C. Greek merchant vessel off the coast of Cyprus has yielded substantial information on the construction of classical Greek boats, often seen depicted in paintings on ancient ceramics. The archaeology, led by the late Michael Katzev and now being completed by Susan Katzev, showed that sometime around 306 B.C., the ship, with a four-person crew from Rhodes, was overcome and sank in what seems to have been a pirate attack that left eight iron spear points embedded in the hull. This nearly two-thousand-year-old victim is the earliest physical evidence of piracy. After conservation and reassembly, the hull of the Kyrenia ship is now on display in the Kyrenia Crusader Castle on Cyprus. Also, a sailing replica of the ship, launched in 1985 and christened Kyrenia II, was a successful application of experimental archaeology. It has allowed archaeologists to learn much more about the form and handling abilities of these now-vanished ships.

  • Artifacts July/August 2024

    Etruscan Oil Lamp

    Read Article
    Etruscan Hanging Oil Lamp
    (Courtesy Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca e della Città di Cortona; © DeA Picture Library/Art Resource, NY)
  • Around the World July/August 2024


    Read Article
    (Phillip Parton/ANU)
  • Digs & Discoveries July/August 2024

    Sticking Their Necks Out

    Read Article
  • Features July/August 2024

    Java's Megalithic Mountain

    Across the Indonesian archipelago, people raised immense stones to honor their ancestors

    Read Article
    Indonesia Java Gunung Padang Megalithic Site
    (Courtesy Lutfi Yondri)