Archaeologists Found "Fabulous" Treasures On A Sunken Ship
Marine archaeologists who examined the bottom of the Levantine Sea off the coast of Lebanon found 12 ancient ships that sank along with very valuable cargo, including an Ottoman ship with a cargo of luxury Chinese porcelain.
According to The Guardian, the vessels found on the seafloor belong to different eras. It is established that the most ancient of them were made and sank in the III century BC. The latest shipwreck in these places is dated to the XIX century AD. Thus it happened relatively recently.
Scientists note that ships from the Hellenistic, Roman, early Islamic, and Ottoman eras suffered shipwrecks here. The wreckage was discovered by members of the Enigma Shipwrecks research project (ESP). They are located at great depth - up to two kilometers. Therefore, their examination lasted for five years.
Marine archaeologists used scanning technology, and special devices were installed on guided deep-sea vehicles. They were used to get a high-resolution image and high-quality video.
One of the sunken ships deserves special attention. It differs from others both in its size and in the value of the cargo it carried. It was an Ottoman merchant ship that sank around 1630. It was probably on its way from Egypt to Istanbul.
Its length was about 43 meters. This vessel was so large that its deck, as archaeologists say, could accommodate two ordinary ships of the era.
In the hold of this vessel were hundreds of artifacts, and researchers were struck by their diversity. These were items made by representatives of 14 different cultures, including those of West and North Africa, China, India, Italy, Spain, and Belgium.
In particular, the earliest Chinese porcelain ever found on ships sunk in the Mediterranean was found in the hold of this ship, as well as Italian ceramics and Indian pepper.
The collection of Chinese porcelain includes 360 painted cups and dishes. Also, a bottle was found made in the furnaces of Jingdezhen during the reign of Chongzhen, the last Emperor of the Ming dynasty.
It was a tea set, but archaeologists have determined that the Ottomans adapted it to their traditions. Chinese porcelain was used for coffee. The Ottomans gradually spread this practice throughout the East.
In the depths of the hold were hidden the earliest Ottoman clay tobacco pipes ever found by archaeologists, not only at sea but also on land. Scientists suggest that this part of the cargo was smuggled. At the time of this shipwreck, there were strict prohibitions on tobacco Smoking.
"Thanks to Smoking tobacco and coffee in Ottoman coffee shops, the idea of relaxation and polite communication - the hallmarks of modern culture - was born and implemented," says study co-author Sean Kingsley. "Europe may think it invented the idea of politeness. But the coffee cups and vessels we found proof that the "Barbarian East" was a pioneer in this respect. The first London coffee shop opened its doors only in 1652, a hundred years after coffee shops appeared in the Levant."