Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Paul's sea voyage to Rome: maritime mystery solved?

RECONSTRUCTING HISTORY: Israeli Replica of 2,400-year-old Ship Solves Ancient Mediterranean Mystery. For years, researchers wondered how sailors in ancient times sailed westbound in the Mediterranean Sea, contrary to the prevailing wind. A University of Haifa researcher found the answer with the help of both modern and antique hardware (Gid’on Lev, Haaretz).
This description [in the New Testament Book of Acts] comes from one of the few detailed written accounts of sea voyages that remain from that period. “Until recently, we didn’t understand why the Alexandrian grain ship, that Paul joined in southern Anatolia, bound for Rome, chose that particular route,” says David Gal, a doctoral student in the Department of Maritime Civilizations at the University of Haifa.

The journey from the shores of Caesarea toward Rome was not an easy route. The winds in the Mediterranean are virtually all westerly, and researchers have never understood how sailors in ancient times sailed into the wind with the simple ships at their disposal.

Now Gal is proposing a solution to the riddle.

In order to reach the solution, he used “Big Data” analyses of 750 million sets of weather data. He also embarked on a series of voyages in a replica of a merchant vessel that sank near Kibbutz Ma’agan Mikhael (just north of Caesarea) some 2,400 years ago.

This is a long and detailed article on a fascinating project.

PaleoJudaica posts on the reconstructed Good Ship Ma’agan Michael II are here, here, and here. A second shipwreck (the Ma’agan Mikhael B) was found in the same area in 2020. See here and here.

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