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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsArchaeologyOldest Canoes Ever Found Unearthed off the Coast of Italy

Oldest Canoes Ever Found Unearthed off the Coast of Italy

Oldest canoes ever found in the Mediterranean Sea
Archaeologists found the oldest canoes in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Italy. Credit: Juan F. Gibaja / PLOS One

Researchers found five old canoes deep in the Mediterranean Sea. These were used over seven thousand years ago by people living near Rome. Back then, these canoes were used both for fishing and transportation.

These discoveries came during ongoing digs by archaeologists off the coast of Italy. They were exploring a place called La Marmotta, an ancient settlement now submerged underwater. The findings were detailed in a study released on Wednesday in the journal PLOS One.

The canoes, made from different types of wood such as alder, oak, poplar, and European beech, were dated back to between 5700 and 5100 B.C.

Oldest ever boats found in Mediterranean

These boats are the oldest ever discovered in the Mediterranean, according to a statement.

Mario Mineo, an archaeologist and director coordinator at the Museum of Civilization in Rome, explained that one of the smallest boats was likely used for fishing.

The two largest ones were nearly 36 feet long and 4 feet wide. Mineo thinks they might have been used for trade, especially because the Arrone River made it easy to reach the Tyrrhenian coast.

The boat builders of the time were highly skilled. They used what we call “advanced construction techniques” to make these vessels. One important thing they did was add transverse reinforcements. This made the canoes’ hulls stronger and more durable.

Niccolò Mazzucco, a senior researcher at the University of Pisa, pointed out that the construction methods and materials used show how smart these ancient boat builders were.

They knew a lot about making boats and navigating the waters. This is important because it proves how clever ancient people were at relying on nature to build things that helped them move around efficiently, according to Mazzucco.

Vessels equipped with sails or outriggers

The researchers believe these boats might have had sails or outriggers, which are support floats. Mazzucco mentioned that they found three T-shaped wooden objects near the canoes. These objects had holes in them, which were probably used to attach ropes for sails or other boat-related materials.

Mazzucco emphasized that these advancements hint at a deeper understanding of maritime technology and navigation. It seems these boats were ready for long journeys.

However, there’s still a lot we don’t know. We’re not sure exactly what kinds of boats they were, how they were built, or how the canoes and T-shaped wooden objects were connected—whether with ropes, wooden pegs, or something else.

Mazzucco also made mention of the builders’ cleverness in using different types of wood. They knew which trees were best for making these dugout canoes. This is different from other Neolithic sites, where the same tree species were used for all boats.

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