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Israel says 3,300-year-old sunken ship found in Mediterranean at a depth where time has ‘frozen’

An ancient 3,300-year-old shipwreck dating back to the Bronze Age has been discovered in the depths of the Mediterranean Sea where time has “stood still,” the Israel Antiquities Authority said Thursday.

The agency described the discovery as “the first and oldest sunken shipwreck ever discovered in the deep waters of the eastern Mediterranean,” and said it was first discovered about 56 miles offshore from Israel’s coastline last year by natural gas company Energian, which was exploring in the area.

“The ship appears to have been lost in a storm at sea or eroded during an encounter with pirates – a phenomenon known since the Late Bronze Age,” Jacob Shalabit, head of the IAA’s maritime archaeology department, said in a statement.

“This is a world-class, history-changing discovery,” Sharabit added. Jerusalem Post “This discovery sheds unprecedented light on the navigational skills of ancient sailors who were able to cross the Mediterranean without ever seeing the coastline.”

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Two of the jugs recovered from a shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea. (Israel Antiquities Authority)

The wreck was found more than a mile below the surface, at a depth where “time stood still at the moment of the disaster,” Sharabit said, and unaffected by people and ocean currents that can affect shipwrecks found in shallower waters. The IAA says the wreck occurred between 1400 and 1300 BC.

Sharavit said only two other Bronze Age shipwrecks have been discovered in history, both off the coast of Turkey.

Karnit Vachaltan, head of Energean’s environmental team, said the ship was discovered by an “advanced underwater robot” during an investigation.

“We saw an unusual sight, a huge mass of water jugs on the ground,” she said.

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Jug found in Israeli shipwreck

A jug seen at a shipwreck site deep in the Mediterranean Sea. (Israel Antiquities Authority)

“After surveying the site and mapping it using a robot, it became clear that this was a shipwreck measuring approximately 12-14 metres in length and carrying hundreds of water jugs, only a few of which were floating on the surface,” she added.

The rest of the ship appears to be buried deep in the mud on the ocean floor, researchers said.

Two of the jugs were raised from the ocean depths to be studied for research purposes, the IAA said.

Ancient shipwreck discovered off Israeli coast

The IAA said the wreck site was discovered about 56 miles off the coast of Israel. (Israel Antiquities Authority)

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He added that the jugs were thought to have contained oil, wine and other agricultural products.