Group Title: INA quarterly
Title: The INA quarterly
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 Material Information
Title: The INA quarterly
Alternate Title: Institute of Nautical Archaeology quarterly
Abbreviated Title: INA q.
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Institute of Nautical Archaeology (U.S.)
Institute of Nautical Archaeology (U.S.)
Publisher: Institute of Nautical Archaeology
Place of Publication: College Station TX
College Station TX
Publication Date: Summer 1993
Frequency: quarterly
Subject: Underwater archaeology -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Archéologie sous-marine -- Périodiques   ( rvm )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Dates or Sequential Designation: Vol. 19, no. 1 (spring 1992)-
General Note: Title from cover.
General Note: Latest issue consulted: Vol. 23, no. 2 (summer 1996).
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Bibliographic ID: UF00098800
Volume ID: VID00006
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 26536606
lccn - sf 94090290
issn - 1090-2635
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Preceded by: INA newsletter (Institute of Nautical Archaeology (U.S.))


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The INA Quarterly

Volume 20, No. 2 Summer 1993


3 The Promise of Egypt's Maritime
Cheryl Haldane

8 Giving Good Weight in Eleventh- scientific reports, and book dis-
Century Byzantium: The Metrology counts.
of the Glass Wreck Amphoras Regu ...... $25
Frederick H. van Doorninck, Jr.
Contributor .. .. $50
13 The Ships of Eden. Nautical
Archaeology in Bahrain Supporter ..... 100
Ralph Pedersen Life ......... $500

18 News and Notes Benefactor .... $1000
Student/Retired . $15
Checks should be made payable to

On the cover: Carvings on the walls of Queen Hatshepsut's mortuary temple (ca. 1500 B.C.) at Deir el-Bahri
include this representation of a ship voyaging to Punt, "God's Land," and source of prized incense and perfumes,
spices, exotic animals, precious stones, even dancing dwarfs (Drawing: K. Bowling, after E. Naville, The Temple
of Deir el Bahari, Part III, pl. LXXIIL Egypt Exploration Fund, London, 1898).

01993 by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology. All Rights Reserved.
INA welcomes requests to reprint INA Quarterly articles and illustrations. Please contact the editor for permission.

The INA Quarterly was formerly the INA Newsletter (vols. 1-18).

Institute of Nautical Archaeology
PO Drawer HG
College Station, TX 77841-5137

Hear firsthand of our latest discov-
eries in nautical archaeology. Mem-
bers receive the INA Quarterly,

Editor: Michael A. Fitzgerald



by Cheryl Haldane, INA Research Associate

Each year, winter storms batter the Mediterranean coast
of Egypt, washing away the sediment that is the Nile Delta.
Since construction of the dams at Aswan in Upper Egypt,
the mighty Nile no longer deposits great quantities of soil
along its course. Instead, tons of rich earth that could
replenish the land and enlarge the Delta remain behind the
massive Aswan High Dam as the storms and sea currents
carve away up to four meters of the Delta every year.
While this erosion is potentially catastrophic for both
ancient and modern villages and cities near the Delta coast-
line, it also brings tremendous opportunities to explore the
nautical heritage of Egypt. Ancient Egypt's commercial
and political clout brought to its harbors merchants and
mercenaries, slaves and kings, pirates and warriors. And
each year, the cycle of Nile floods brought sediment to
envelop ships that met violent ends through battle, treach-
ery, ignorance or storms, ships that now lie exposed on the
Waterborne commerce, exchange, and warfare played
crucial roles in the rise of civilization in the ancient Near
East, and Egypt's history is certainly intertwined with the
exploitation and control of water transport. Her Mediterra-
nean and Red Sea coastal areas and the Nile thoroughfare
therefore offer a rich array of Mediterranean and eastern
Arab riverine, seafaring, and shipbuilding traditions. Yet
the vehicles of this highly developed transportation network
remain virtually unexplored, except for hulls that have been
discovered in funerary complexes on the Nile's western
The Institute of Nautical Archaeology's dedication to the
exploration, protection, and preservation of the world's
maritime cultural heritage has resulted in shipwreck
surveys, support for newly established museums of under-
water archaeology, training for American and foreign
archaeologists, and excavation, conservation, study, and
exhibition of shipwrecks in TIrkey, Cyprus, Kenya,
Jamaica, Bermuda, Panama, the Bahamas, Mexico, and the
United States. Now, the Institute is poised to open a center
in Egypt that will coordinate survey and excavation projects
in Egypt and other parts of the Arab world.

Mp: C. Haldao

Major sites in ancient Egypt.

With seed money provided by the Amoco Foundation,
and INA's assistance, I am now organizing a shipwreck
survey of a portion of the Red Sea coast that will com-
mence in mid-1994. With this survey we will take an
important step toward a comprehensive view of Egypt's
links with the world during the last five millennia: the
vessels that brought tribute, cargo, trading partners, con-
querors, even destruction from her subjects; the ships that
embarked upon dangerous trading ventures to far lands;
even warships built by the native Copts for the new
Muslim rulers of Egypt in the seventh century A.D.

INA Quarterly 20.2

Drtwin: C. IHldame
King Ne-woser-re of Egypt's Old Kingdom had this
enormous mudbrick solar boat built outside a temple
dedicated to the worship of Re, the sun god. It is more
than 30 m (nearly 100 ft) long (after L. Borchardt,
Das Grabdenkmal des Koenig Ne-user-rb, fig. 46.

The Nautical Heritage of Egypt
Hundreds of paintings, models, and even gigantic stone
and mudbrick watercraft have been found at sites through-
out Egypt, reflecting the importance of the Nile as a liquid
superhighway and the significant role boats played in both
the practical and cosmological realms. We are most
familiar with Egyp-
tian river craft be-
cause during pros-
perous times full-
sized hulls were
buried with kings.
But the kings,
priests, queens, and
nobles laid to rest
either with actual
hulls or just repre-
sentations of water-
craft lived lives of
lavish wealth and
elegance acquired
through tribute and
trade with other
Ancient Egyp- he Wadi Hammamat winds from 1
tian sailors sailed to From 3500 B.C. to the present, its
Nubia, the Levant, tell of arduous but spiritually (and


the Sinai peninsula, and south to Punt, "God's Land"
(probably modern Somalia), in search of luxury items that
ranged from cedar trees, spices, perfumes, metals and
exotic animals, to dancing dwarfs, semi-precious stones,
and obsidian, a black volcanic glass highly valued for
making tools. The redistribution of these high-status goods
to those favored by a divine ruler helped sustain a political
system based on patronage and tribal allegiance. Along the
Nile, cities that controlled access to trade routes could
accumulate power and influence.
Hierakonpolis, Abydos, and Koptos in Upper Egypt,
just north of Luxor, have provided archaeologists with tem-
ples, graves, and goods from the formative period of
Egyptian society about 5300 years ago. Long a ship-
building center, the area was a launching station for
journeys that began with a trek across the Eastern Desert.
From Koptos, ship's crews hauled their vessels through the
Wadi Hammamat to the Red Sea. Like all nautical laborers
throughout Egypt's history, they were organized into
groups named for the quarters of the ship and the helm.
During the journey they pecked, scratched, and carved into
the rock walls lining the wadi, or dry stream bed, records
of their passage and sacred mission to obtain offerings for
the gods. At nearby Abydos, University of Pennsylvania
archaeologists recently uncovered 12 watercraft, each more
than 20 m long. Buried in white-plastered mudbrick graves
outside huge, rectangular funeral monuments to the earliest
kings of Egypt (see INA Quarterly 19.2:12-13), these are
the world's most ancient planked hulls. David O'Connor
and his team from the University Museum, where George
Bass began his
work, have invited
me to join their ex-
cavation at Abydos
in January, 1994.
As the boat graves
date to the dawn of
Egyptian civilization
(the first and second
dynasties), it is vital
that we learn as
much as possible
about the role the
long and narrow
hulls within them
played in the es-
tablishment of an
economic system
Photo: D. Hidane b
ptos to Quseir on the Red Sea. based on warfare,
ck walls have allowed travelers to taxation, and the
ten financially) rewarding journeys. redistribution of

INA Quarterly 20.2


goods among the peoples of
the Nile valley.
The vessels were also
central to a religious cosmolo-
gy that included the boat as
one of its supreme symbols.
More than thirty different
kinds of boats are described in
the Pyramid Texts that cover
the interiors of Old Kingdom
tombs dated to ca. 2400 B.c.
The boats of the various gods
are described, each with a
special determinative that in-
dicates a specific hull shape
or decoration. Also men-
tioned are "justice" boats
(probably used by agents of
the king for tax administration
purposes and the adjudication Ancient Egyptians used
of disputes), and solar boats, ing point for expeditions
which carried the sun across relief in the foreground c
the heavens. wall in the background r
Khufu, who built the great the same way.
pyramid of Giza, had at least
five ships buried along the southern and western sides of
his pyramid. Three empty boat-shaped pits, one unexcavat-
ed pit filled with stacked hull components, and the reassem-
bled royal ship of Khufu (or Cheops, as the Greeks called
him) are known. This royal ship, magnificently conserved
and restored by Hag Ahmed Youssef and the Egyptian
Antiquities Museum, is displayed in a glass museum beside
Khufu's pyramid. When I first saw it, I caught my breath.
Reading about a 44-meter-long ship more than 4,500 years
old did not prepare me for confronting a work of art and

Drawing: C. HMldaoe
This gently curved model of a Late Predynastic or
Early Dynastic hull provides a possible hull shape for
the 12 wooden hulls to be excavated at Abydos under
the auspices of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization,
and David O'Connor and other archaeologists from
the University of Pennsylvania.

Koptos, modern Qutb, as its inhabitants do today: as a stag-
crossing the Eastern Desert to the Red Sea. The pharaonic
:ommemorates a sacred transaction; the paintings on the
record a pilgrimage to Mecca by a devout Muslim in much

supreme technical craftsmanship measuring just less than
half the length of a football field.
About 500 years after the Khufu ships were interred,
five, or perhaps six, cedar boats were buried at Dashur as
tribute to the recently dead king Senwosret (Sesostris in
Greek) I and to honor, through emulation, the legendary
rulers of the Old Kingdom. A planked model only one-
fifth the size of the Dashur hulls, buried outside the tomb
of a highly respected official at Lisht, suggests that the
Dashur hulls represent a significant investment.
Also at Lisht, planking from a freighter or freighters
was used in the foundations of construction ramps and
roadways at the early Middle Kingdom pyramid complex
of Senwosret I. Metropolitan Museum of Art excavations
at Lisht under the direction of Dieter Arnold and earlier
this century have revealed about 90 timbers, including ele-
ments of a massive frame assembly. Planks with similar
shapes have been reported from several other Middle
Kingdom pyramid sites that all date to a single 100-year
period. This relatively broad distribution within a close
temporal context, in combination with the hull construction
techniques used, may hint at standardized, prefabricated
hull designs and timbers. Old hulls ultimately were
dismantled and their timbers reused as building materials,
a procedure that was planned for in their manufacture.

INA Quarterly 20.2

The royal ship of Khufu I is too large to fit into this rockcut boat beside the causeway of Khephren at Giza, but the hull
design and cabin proportions are almost identical This drawing is based on the work of Selim Hassan, who excavated
four sand-filled "reverse-molds" of Old Kingdom ships at Giza in the 1930s. I have added the dashed lines in the sheer
view to illustrate how a hull with extremities like those of the Khufit ship might have appeared.

The traditions of hull construction seen in all of these
excavated vessels continued through the end of the sixth
century BC and, with the substitution of nails for mortise-
and-tenon joints, into the present. A cargo vessel was
stripped of its internal timbers and abandoned on a small
branch of the Nile near Heliopolis modernr Mataria, north
of Cairo) almost 2500 years ago. It provides the first in-
stance of pegged mortise-and-tenon joints in an ancient
Egyptian hull. Although not all of the joints were through-
fastened, and the pegs, or treenails, may also have fastened
frames to the hull, the appearance of this joinery method
marks a dramatic departure from previous Egyptian ship-
building practices, which involved lashings and/or un-
pegged mortise-and-tenon joints to hold the hull together.
The remains of twenty different ancient Egyptian vessels
probably represent only five of more than 100 documented
types of watercraft that carried people, cattle, gods, obe-
lisks, and foreign traders on the Nile between 5,000 and
2,500 years ago. By studying how these hulls were built,
and where they fit into the fabric of society, we can gain
some sense of the complex solutions to practical problems
that were developed by Egyptian shipwrights. For exam-
ple, Queen Hatshepsut, who ruled about 1500 B.C, built a
river boat large enough to carry two obelisks that together
were about as long and heavy as a transatlantic jet airplane

loaded with 40 elephants. Learning how riverine ships
were built could therefore answer some questions about
how this task might have been accomplished, but would not
provide many clues to life aboard such behemoths, nor to
what resources Egyptian rulers could turn to meet the de-
mands of construction.

Shipwreck Survey in Egypt
Although ancient Egypt's pivotal role in local and
regional trade networks has been traced through archaeo-
logical excavations on land and in historical documents,
modern Egyptians and scholars around the world know
very little about the ships, ports, and traders that helped
maintain her relationships with other lands and peoples.
The successful search in Egypt for wrecks of ancient
seafaring craft and their cargos therefore will increase our
knowledge exponentially. For example, the city of Alexan-
dria, founded in 331 B.C by Alexander the Great, became
one of the most magnificent ports of the ancient world.
Perhaps its most notable feature was the Pharos, a light-
house so large it was visible to sailors 27 miles from land.
Alexandria thrived under Roman rule, as Egypt became the
primary supplier of wheat to the Empire, and most of the
Roman trade with the Arabian Gulf region also coursed
through Alexandria by means of the Red Sea-Nile route

INA Quarterly 20.2

and overland caravans. Locating and exca-
vating the wreck of a superfreighter that bore
grain to Rome would be a spectacular achieve-
ment, as would that of one of the ships that
sailed the circuit linking the Red Sea coast and
India, to mention only two possibilities. In the
seventh century A.D., the Arabs built a pow-
erful naval empire that came to dominate the
Mediterranean and Red Seas for hundreds of
years, but no Arab warship has ever been dis-
covered or studied.

The Institute of Nautical Archaeology Center in
My husband Douglas Haldane and I moved
to Egypt in July of this year to open the Insti-
tute of Nautical Archaeology Center in Egypt.
Beyond the direct archaeological benefits of sur- Wo oJ
veying in the Red Sea in 1994, we envision the S1850
survey as an opportunity to lay the groundwork recons
for a Middle Eastern partnership modelled on Anothe
the close association enjoyed for the past three Natura
decades by INA and the Turkish government.
Their combined efforts have resulted in hundreds of
scholarly and popular publications centered upon artifacts
now housed in the Bodrum Museum of Underwater
Archaeology, which has been described by the Turkish
press as one of Turkey's two premier museums.
INA's long range goals for the Center in Egypt, in
cooperation with Egyptian archaeologists and scholars,
focus on the preservation of Egypt's nautical heritage
through education, surveys, excavations, conservation, and
museum partnerships. The Center will serve as a resource
for Arab archaeologists throughout the Middle East as they
continue their own voyages of discovery into the maritime
legacies of their countries.

Acknowledgements. Many institutions and individuals
have provided assistance and cooperation during my studies of
ancient Egyptian watercraft. Dr. Mohammed Saleh and Dr.
Shawky Nakhla of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo; Dr. Dieter
Arnold of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Dr. James B.
Richardson I and the Anthropology Section of the Carnegie
Museum of Natural History; Mr. Elie Rogers of the National
Geographic Society; and the Field Museum of Natural History
in Chicago; all have my grateful thanks. Research was also
supported by the Texas A&M University College of Liberal
Arts Technology and Society Dissertation Award.

r=(0; U. juamirm
fEgypt's most ancient watercraft can be seen in the United
One of the four known boats from Dashur (dated to ca.
.c.) is displayed in a corner of the Old Kingdom mastaba
tructed in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.
r Dashur hull can be seen in the Carnegie Museum of
il History in Pittsburgh.

Suggested Reading
Haldane, C.
1992 "'A Pharaoh's Fleet:' Early Dynastic Hulls from
Abydos." INA Quarterly 19.2:12-13.
Haldane, C.W.
1993 Ancient Egyptian Hull Construction. Unpublished
Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology,
Texas A&M University, College Station.
LandstrOm, B.
1970 Ships of the Pharaohs. 4000 Years of Egyptian
Shipbuilding. Doubleday, Garden City, NY.
Miller, P.
1988 "Riddle of the Pyramids." National Geographic
173: 534-550.
Patch, D.C., and C. W. Haldane
1990 The Pharaoh's Boat at the Carnegie. The Carnegie
Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh.

INA Quarterly 20.2




by Frederick H. van Doorninck, Jr. Frederick R. Mayer Professor in Nautical Archaeology

The Byzantines measured wine and other goods by
weight, not by volume. In the Book of the Prefect, an
early-tenth century handbook of regulations governing the
guilds of Constantinople, written for the chief magistrate of
Constantinople, it is stipulated that innkeepers should use
3- and 30-litrai measures when selling wine. (The Byzan-
tine litra, or pound, was equal to about 320 g.) We know
from this and other sources that these measures were called
the mina and the thalassion metron, or "sea measure,"
respectively. Because white and red wine differ in specific
gravity, any particular measure of white and red wine
differed in volume. The Byzantines defined the difference:
a measure holding 30 litrai of white wine held 32 litrai of
red wine.
In a recent article, Dr. Igor Volkov (1989:92-94), a
Russian archaeologist who studies Byzantine amphoras
found in Russia, wonders to what extent potters made
amphoras that were in conformity with the official Byzan-
tine system of weight-capacity measures for wine. The
amphoras recovered from the eleventh-century shipwreck
we excavated at Serge Limam, Turkey, and now called the
Glass Wreck because of its cargo of Islamic glass (see INA
Newsletter 15.3), shed considerable light on this and a
number of other related questions.
The capacities of the Glass Wreck amphoras were first
measured about a decade ago. Amphoras that were more or
less complete and did not leak were weighed both empty
and when filled to the rim with water. The difference in
weights gave the maximum capacity in both kilograms and
liters. The capacities of amphoras that were more or less
complete but leaked were determined by measuring how
many liters of styrofoam beads they held.
Although it proved possible to measure the capacities of
as many as 80 of the 106 transport amphoras belonging to
the wreck, the results of these efforts were not encourag-
ing. The amphora capacities did tend to fall into clusters
that conceivably might represent different capacity sizes,
but the seemingly excessive number of clusters, their often
poor definition, and the irregular intervals between them
suggested that any attempt to relate the capacities to known
Byzantine weight-capacity measures would be very prob-
lematic indeed.

So the matter stood until the fall of 1992, when one of
our graduate students, Elizabeth Garver, attempted in her
M.A. thesis to relate to Byzantine measures the capacities
of a collection of Byzantine amphoras in the Bodrum
Museum. Due to the relatively small number and broad
chronological range of the amphoras in her study, this
effort was not entirely successful, but it did serve to bring
the problem more clearly into focus and inspired me to take
another look at the capacities of the Glass Wreck ampho-
Using Erich Schilbach's Byzantinische Metrologie
(1970:112-115) as my point of departure and constant
reference, I quickly concluded that the amphoras in one of
my largest capacity clusters had probably held 30 litrai of
white wine. Starting from this one fixed point, I had
managed to assign to the amphoras in each cluster a
tentative weight capacity of so many litrai of white or red
wine before leaving for Turkey in early April of this year.
Two amphoras with globular bodies that were not lined
with pitch (and thus anomalous to the group) appeared to
have capacities more appropriate for olive oil than for
wine. I also noted that the weights of relatively complete
amphoras tended to be close to some multiple of the litra
and that the maximum diameter of the amphoras tended to
increase in 0.5-daktylos increments as amphora size
increased. (The daktylos, or "finger," is equal to 1.95 cm;
there are 16 dakyloi in a Byzantine foot.)
Although these observations were potentially of great
interest and importance, it had at the same time become
clear that they were based on what was sometimes insuffi-
ciently precise data. The scale used to weigh the amphoras
and measure their capacities had not been a precision
instrument and had been increasingly inaccurate at higher
weights; no attempt had been made to approximate the
original weight of the many amphoras that were no longer
completely intact; capacity measurements made with
styrofoam beads can be very inconsistent and unreliable,
particularly because the beads gradually take on an electri-
cal charge as they are being used and consequently occupy
an ever-increasing volume; linear measurements of the
amphoras had not always been taken in a consistent
manner; and concretion deposits remained on the interior
and outer surfaces of some of the amphoras that were

INA Quarterly 20.2

sufficient to introduce significant error in measurements of
capacity and weight.
Thus it was that I spent most of this past summer further
cleaning and then remeasuring the Glass Wreck amphoras.
Particularly time-consuming was the removal of concretion
deposits from the interiors of some of them. The remeas-
urement of capacities, on the other hand, was very much
facilitated by a highly accurate digital scale recently
acquired by INA for the Bodrum Museum's conservation
The relatively complete amphoras were reweighed. Ib
make sure that the recorded weights did not include that of
any excess moisture present in the fabric, the amphoras
were first set out in the sun until their weight no longer
decreased through moisture evaporation. Moreover, before
each amphora was weighed, any missing parts or damaged
areas were reconstructed with modeling clay having a
specific gravity approximately equal to that of the amphora
The weight capacities tentatively assigned to the ampho-
ras indicated that, as a general rule, they had probably
been designed to be filled to the point of transition between
the shoulder and the neck. Since this transition is often
fairly gradual and therefore not very well defined, I
decided to measure the capacity of the amphoras when
filled to the level at which the neck opening is narrowest.
This level is normally located somewhere near the lower
end of the neck and with few exceptions is sufficiently
evident to permit one to fill the amphora to exactly this
same level each time its capacity is measured.
Amphoras that did not leak were set upright in a stand
on the pan of the digital scale. Each amphora was filled
with water to the narrowest point in the neck. More water
was added to maintain this level as water within the
amphora was absorbed into the clay. When the rate of
absorption became negligible, the weight was recorded, the
amphora was emptied and replaced in the stand as quickly
as possible, and the weight was again recorded. The
difference in weights gave the capacity in kilograms and
liters, and because the scale pan is constructed so that any
water dripping down the sides of an amphora or seeping
through cracks in its walls remained within its confines, no
error was introduced into the data through water loss
during the capacity-measurement procedure. The proce-
dure was so accurate that in the great majority of cases, the
results did not differ by more than a few grams when the
measurement was repeated.
Every effort was made to measure the capacity of as
many amphoras as possible with water. To this end, thin
cracks and small holes in leaking amphoras were sealed
with either an adhesive or modeling clay. In most of the
few cases in which styrofoam beads had to be used, an
amphora of the same size whose capacity had been mea-
sured with water was first filled with beads to the narrow-
est point in the neck. As the amphora was being filled, the

beads were compacted by shaking the amphora vigorously
until no more compaction could be achieved. The beads
were then transferred to the amphora whose capacity was
to be measured, the amphora being filled up to the narrow-
est point in the neck and the beads again being compacted
as much as possible. Whatever small deficiency or super-
fluity of beads there might be was then measured. In this
way, error due to variability in the volume occupied by the
beads was minimized.
Amphora dimensions were carefully remeasured in a
uniform manner. Height was determined by placing the
amphora in a horizontal position on a level surface and
then using a drafting triangle to project vertically down to
the surface the locations of, and thus the distance between,
base and rim. The maximum diameter was measured with
calipers both adjacent to and midway between the handles,
and the two measurements were averaged. The height of
the maximum diameter was determined by placing the
amphora in a vertical position on the level surface and then
using a drafting triangle with a ruled edge to measure the
distance between the surface and the maximum diameter
next to both handles and midway between the handles on
both sides; the four readings were averaged. The average
outer and inner rim diameters were also calculated.
The work of remeasuring the amphoras was already well
advanced when my wife and I traveled to Greece for a
week in mid June of this year. I had been invited to the
Fifth International Congress on Graeco-Oriental and
Graeco-African Studies, being held at Delphi, to deliver a
progress report on my study of the Glass Wreck amphoras.
During my talk, I presented a graph that plotted the
capacities in Byzantine litrai of 89 piriform amphoras
(called piriform because their bodies have the shape of an
inverted pear), the best-represented class of wine amphoras
from the Glass Wreck; the capacities of these amphoras
range from 15 to 60 litrai. About 75 percent of the
piriform amphoras with measurable capacities had been
remeasured by this time, and the graph as it then stood
seemed to indicate that the capacities of the piriform
amphoras occurred at intervals of 2.5 litrai, in quantities of
from 15 to at least 40 litri. The fact remained, however,
that for the most part the capacity values still clustered
rather poorly and at seemingly irregular intervals. Further-
more, capacity sizes at intervals as close together as 2.5
litrai seemed impractical if not impracticable for all but the
smallest sizes involved.
The problem began to be resolved soon after we
returned to Bodrum. Among the amphoras yet to be
remeasured were seven piriform amphoras belonging to a
single, distinct type. Remeasurement of these amphoras
revealed that their capacities occurred at intervals of 3
litrai, not 2.5. It was now clear that the Glass Wreck
amphoras belonged to more than one capacity system, and
that the only way to disentangle and identify the different
systems involved would be first to disentangle and identify

INA Quarterly 20.2

all the types, subtypes, and variants of subtypes within the
various classes of amphoras.
This was to be a formidable task. The Glass Wreck
amphoras constitute an extremely heterogeneous collection,
and not without reason (see INA Newsletter 15.3:22-23).
Marks of ownership carved on the amphoras, coupled with
the fact that amphoras with the same mark of ownership
had been stowed together in the same location on the ship,
make it clear that the amphoras had been the property of
somewhere between a half-dozen and a dozen owners at the
time of the shipwreck. These owners were accustomed to
using their amphoras as transport jars over and over again,
selling the contents but keeping the jars until they became
too worn or damaged for further use. As a result, ampho-
ras tended to range in age from new to very old, to have
been obtained from a number of different sources, and even
to be of quite a number of different sizes.
It was not until the end of July that I finished the task of
sorting out the amphoras. Among the piriform amphoras,
by far the largest class of amphoras from the Glass Wreck,
I had distinguished five distinct types and a total of at least
29 subtypes and variants of subtypes. Having returned to
College Station early in August, I had completed a prelimi-
nary analysis of my new data by the time fall classes began
at the end of the month. Three distinct but interrelated
capacity systems emerged during the course of this analy-
Approximately 60 percent of the amphoras have capaci-
ties that are some multiple of 1 mina, or 3 litrai, of either
red (r) or white (w) wine. One amphora with an elongated
piriform body and handles rising higher than its rim, the
sole representative of its class, has a capacity of 12(r)
litrai. Five jars representing a class of flat-bottomed
amphoras have capacities of 30(w), 36(r) or 36(w) litrai.
The other amphoras belonging to the 3-litrai system are all
piriform. Their capacities include 21(w), 27(w), 30(r&w),
33(r&w), 36(r&w), 39(r), 39(w)/42(r), 42(w)/45(r),
45(w)/48(r), 48(w)/51(red), 51(w)/54(r), 54(w), and 60(r)
litrai. It should be noted here that 45 litrai of white wine
and 48 litrai of red wine occupy the same volume. In
addition, the volumetric difference between 39(w) and
42(r), 42(w) and 45(r), 48(w) and 51(red), and 51(w) and
54(r) is so small that it would not have been really practi-
cable or, for that matter, even desirable to make jars of
two different sizes in these instances.
The most common type of piriform amphora found on
the Glass Wreck belongs to the 3-litrai system. Figure la
shows how the volume capacities of these jars relate to the
system when the litra is given a value of 319 g. These
amphoras, belonging to quite a number of different sub-
types, were undoubtedly made in different places and at
different times by potters using different sets of weights.
In view of this and the fact that we are dealing with coarse-
ware jars, the close correlation of the actual volume
capacities to the ideal weight capacities is truly remarkable.

Twenty-one jars, all belonging to the smallest type of
piriform amphora, exhibit a 2.5-litrai interval between
sizes. This is illustrated in Figure lb, where the litr has
been assigned a value of 320 g. The capacities of 18 of the
jars are 15(r&w), 17.5(r&w), and 20(w) litrai The
remaining three amphoras, two of them with abnormally
small mouths and the other with a more ovoid body and
underlined rim, have a volume capacity midway between
that of the 15(r)-litrai and 15(w)-litrai jars. Perhaps they
had been made for some sort of ros6 wine.
Amphoras belonging to the third system, which is
closely related to the second, have capacities that are some
multiple of 5 litrai of red or white wine. Four jars
representing a class of small amphoras with a conical-
shaped body have a capacity of 5 litrai of red wine. The
other amphoras belonging to this system are piriform and
have capacities that include 25(w), 30(w), 35(r&w),
40(r&w), 45(w), and 60(r) lirai. This can be seen in
Figure Ic, where the litra has been given a value of 318 g.
The amphoras with capacities of 30, 45, and 60 litrai are
easily distinguished from amphoras with these capacities
belonging to the 3-litrai system by virtue of the fact that all
piriform amphoras belonging to the 5-litrai system have a
finger-groove on the inside of the neck that is not displayed
by the other piriform amphoras; the groove served as a seat
for a stopper that sealed the jar.
Such sophisticated capacity systems could not have been
practicable unless potters were able to produce over and
over again jars of a particular type and capacity that were
virtually identical in terms of their basic dimensions and
the amount and composition of the clay used to make them.
The new data obtained last summer document this ability.
The maximum diameters of the Glass Wreck amphoras
give the clearest evidence that Byzantine potters were able
to impart precise dimensions to their jars. These dimen-
sions strongly tend to cluster at regular intervals that
correlate well with the value of the daktylos. The maxi-
mum diameters of the piriform amphoras belonging to the
2.5-litrai system tend to cluster at 0.25-dakryloi intervals,
while those of piriform amphoras belonging to the 3-litrai
system tend to cluster at 0.5-daktyloi intervals. In the case
of piriform amphoras belonging to the 5-litrai system,
white-wine amphoras with a 35-litrai capacity have a
maximum diameter of 16 dakryloi, while white-wine
amphoras with a 40-litrai capacity have a maximum
diameter of 17 dakryloi. This close correlation of maximum
diameter measurements to multiples of the daktylos sug-
gests to me that potters must have controlled closely the
exterior dimensions of amphoras through the use of calipers
or some similar device. Dr. Volkov's recent research
inRussia (1992:147) suggests that from the late eleventh
century to the early thirteenth century it was common for
potters to check internal dimensions instead. This was
done with a measuring rod while the amphora was being
made and its interior was still accessible.

INA Quarterly 20.2

3+ + *
33w 36w

42w 45w

46w 51w 54w

30 3 36r 59r 42r 4r 486 Sir 4r 57r

9 4 a 1 3 4 a 1 re 19 20



)30. 4. 45w 50w 55w

I4 ii a 15 4 A1 1 l4 20d


Gmph: T. Peny
Figure la. Correlation of the volume capacities (in liters) of the most common type ofpiriform amphora to weight
capacities in Byzantine litrai of 319 g each.

Figure lb. Correlation of the volume capacities (in liters) of the 2.5-litrai system amphoras to weight capacities in
Byzantine litrai of 320 g each.

Figure c. Correlation of the volume capacities (in liters) of the 5-litrai system amphoras to weight capacities in
Byzantine litrai of 318 g each.

Despite the fact that handles and, in all but a few
instances, necks, were separate, added components,
amphoras of the same type and capacity had the same
weight, which was normally very close to some multiple of
the litra. For example, of the four relatively intact exam-
ples of white-wine amphoras belonging to the 2.5-litrai
capacity system, two have a capacity of 15 litrai and a
weight in both cases of 10.13 litrai; one, a capacity of 17.5
litrai and a weight of 11.02 litrai; and one, a capacity of
20 litrai and a weight of 12.06 litrai. In this instance, each
2.5-litrai increase in capacity is accompanied by a 1-litra
increase in amphora weight. As for the most common type
of piriform white-wine amphora belonging to the 3-litrai
system, each 3-litrai increase in capacity is accompanied by
a 0.5-litrai increase in amphora weight. Therefore, we
have three such amphoras with a capacity of 30 litrai and
a weight of 18.94, 19.03 and 19.10 litrai respectively; one
with a capacity of 33 litrai and a weight of 19.45 litrai;
one with a capacity of 39 litrai and a weight of 20.57
litrai; and one with a capacity of 54 litrai and a weight of
23.02 litrai. Among amphoras of the 5-litrai system, each
5-litrai increase in capacity is normally accompanied by a
2-litrai increase in amphora weight.
It should be noted here that in calculating the original
weights and weight capacities of the amphoras, I have for
each different amphora type or subtype assigned a gram
value to the litra that yields amphora weights and capacity
weights that as a group within each type or subtype most

closely approach theoretical ideals. Almost all of the Glass
Wreck amphoras belong to types whose weights and weight
capacities collectively come closest to theoretical ideals
when values from 318 to 322 g are assigned to the litra.
These values for the litra accord well with those indicated
by the Glass Wreck weighing equipment. Dr. Fred
Hocker, who is studying this material, informs me that the
most complete set of Byzantine pan-balance weights
recovered points to a litra that weighed somewhere be-
tween 318.5 and 325 g.
The weights of coins in Byzantine coin hoards indicate
that the normal value of the litra fell from ca. 322 g in the
seventh century to ca. 319 g by the eleventh century. The
Glass Wreck amphoras, which we should keep in mind
were made in quite a number of different places, suggest a
normal value of ca. 319-320 g. Thus it would appear that
as a general rule Byzantine potters of the eleventh century
were accustomed to making amphoras that gave good
The fact that amphoras of a particular type and capacity
had a standard weight is particularly remarkable when one
keeps in mind the fact that they would have decreased in
weight due to water loss when fired. This means not only
that potters had to use a precise amount of clay in making
a jar, but also that the clay had to contain a precise amount
of water.
When red-wine and white-wine amphoras having the
same weight capacity were made, there were two basic

INA Quarterly 20.2



27w 3w





+* + +
45w 175 20.
15' 175, 20l

I -= -"

C 1

n I

I, Is II r r, no

+ ** 4

+ +

methods available to achieve the required difference in
volume capacity. For some amphora types it was done by
giving the red-wine and the white-wine amphoras the same
outer dimensions, but at the same time adding a precise
weight of clay to the red-wine amphoras. As a result, the
red-wine amphoras had thicker walls and thus a reduced
volume capacity. With regard to other amphora types, the
white-wine amphoras had a slightly greater maximum
diameter and/or height than did the red-wine amphoras of
the same weight capacity.
The ability of Byzantine potters to produce jars in accor-
dance with precise standards is revealed by the Glass
Wreck amphoras in yet another way. Neck dimensions do
not change as the overall dimensions of the amphoras
change. Instead, necks were made in just a few sizes so
that the mouths could accommodate standard-sized stop-
pers. Standardization of stopper sizes would have been
particularly desirable for amphoras that were reused.
The stoppers for the Glass Wreck amphoras had diame-
ters that were some multiple of 0.5 dakrylos. Diameters
ranged from 1.5 dakryloi for the amphora with the elongat-
ed body and high-rising handles, to 4 daktyloi for the flat-
bottomed amphoras. In the case of the piriform amphoras
with preserved rims, a stopper with a diameter of 3.5
dakryloi would have fit perfectly in the mouths of all but
two of those with a capacity greater than 20 litrai. For the
smaller piriform amphoras, 3-daktyloi or, for the two
"ros6" amphoras, 2.5-daktyloi stoppers were used.
Normally, the mouths of the piriform amphoras were
formed so that the outer face of the stopper was recessed
only slightly below the rim. Regarding the amphoras
belonging to the 5-litri system, however, the location of
the finger-groove seat for the stopper was such that the
stopper would have been somewhat more recessed. Thus,
both with and without stoppers, these amphoras would have
been recognizable as belonging to the 5-lirai system.
The metrology of the Glass Wreck amphoras has
important historical implications. If we look back to the
Roman period, we find as a general rule that each wine-
producing region made its own more or less standard
amphora in only a full and a half size and with a volume
capacity that often varied considerably from jar to jar.
When and why did the much more complex and controlled
system represented by the Glass Wreck amphoras come
into being? Do the different capacities of the seventh-
century Yassi Ada cylindrical amphoras (see INA Quarterly
19.4:22-23) reflect an early or even advanced stage in the
development of this system? Certainly, amphoras of a
standard and precise capacity and weight would have
helped facilitate state economic controls and the calculation
of customs and freight charges, while a multiplicity of such
standard sizes would have helped facilitate marketing. It
appears likely, therefore, that the system came into being
as a consequence of higher levels of state control over

commerce and a growth in the role of market forces in
determining the distribution of goods.
One hopes that the research results summarized here
will serve to stimulate among archaeologists and economic
historians alike a greater interest in Byzantine amphoras
and their metrology. If studied properly and extensively
enough, they could tell us much about the origins and
development of economic practices that helped lay the
foundations for those of the Italian Renaissance and
ultimately our own day. Shipwrecks are obviously the best
source for the data required, and a considerable number of
Byzantine amphora carriers, unfortunately in some instanc-
es partially looted, are now known in Turkish waters.
Clearly, one easy way for INA to retain its prominent
leadership role in archaeological research is to maintain and
expand the program of research, so well begun at Yassi
Ada and Serge Limam, that continues to yield a rich
harvest of exciting and significant new information.

Acknowledgements. I wish to express my graditude to Oguz
Alp6sen, the Director of the Bodrum Museum, and Aykut
Ozdet, the Assistant Director, both of whom have often gone
out of their way to facilitate my work at the Museum. My
thanks also to Selma K. Oguz and Peter van Alfen, who
assisted me in remeasuring the amphoras.

Suggested Reading
van Doominck, Jr., F.H.,
1989 "The Cargo Amphoras on the 7th Century Yassi Ada
and 11th Century Serge Limam Shipwrecks: Two
Examples of a Reuse of Byzantine Amphoras as Trans-
port Jars." In Recherches sur la cdramique byzantine,
BCH Supplement 18, edited by V. Ddroche and J.-M.
Spieser, pp. 247-257. Boccard, Paris.
1988 "The Amphoras: Old Jars from the North." INA
Newsletter 15.3: 22-23.
1992 "Amphora Research Continues in Eastern Europe
and in Bodrum." INA Quarterly 19.4: 22-23.
Schilbach, E.
1970 Byzantinische Metrologie. CH. Beck, Munich.
Volkov, IV.
1989 "Importnaya amphornaya tara zolotoordinskogo
goroda Azaka (Imported amphora containers from
the Golden-Horde town of Azak)." In Severnoe
prichernomor'e i povolj'e w vzaimootnosheniyah
vostoka i zapada v XII-XVI vekah, edited by G.A.
Fedorov-Davidov, pp. 85-100. Rostov-on-the-Don.
1992 "0 proiskhozhdeniy i evolyutsiy nekotor'ykh tipov
srednevekov'ykh amphor (On the provenance and
evolution of some types of medieval amphoras)."
Donskie Drevnosti 1: 143-157.

INA Quarterly 20.2




by Ralph Pedersen, INA Research Associate

The expanse of land and sea was stunning as our touring
boat sped across the Arabian Gulf, whipping the wind
about us and churning still waters into white froth. The
flat island of Bahrain clung to the horizon, barely definable
in the moisture-laden air. To the west there was little to
demarcate the body of water between Bahrain Island and
the haze-shrouded strip of land we knew to be Saudi
Arabia. This was what George Bass and I had flown thou-
sands of miles to see. Here, no cliffs plunged into the sea,
no mountains towered against the sky, no lagoons beck-
oned. An underwater archaeological survey in these waters
would include no placid bays to investigate, no wine-dark
depths to explore. We would have to search among the
treacherous reefs and coral heads lurking just beneath the
surface for the many shipwrecks that must have befallen
the unfortunate and the unwary over the centuries. But
have any wrecks survived the millennia? What mysteries
lie beneath this warm sea? Nautical archaeology in Bahrain
would be a challenge and an adventure, an opportunity to
seek answers to a lifetime of questions.
Nearly halfway between the coast of Iraq and the Strait
of Hormuz lies the nation of Bahrain. An archipelago of
thirty-one islands, of which only the two largest Bahrain
and Muharraq are inhabited, the country has long had
intimate links with the sea. Until the discovery of oil
earlier in this century, pearling was the major industry.
Today, Bahrain refines and transships Saudi oil and is a
major processor of bauxite. Although mostly low and
sandy, Bahrain Island is an oasis in an arid region. Forests
of date palms thrive, blanketing the island's northern end.
Fresh-water springs fed by aquifers flow on land and under
sea. The word bahrain means "two seas" and is a refer-
ence to the sweet sea below ground and the salt sea above.
This verdant oasis has attracted settlers and sailors for
at least six millennia. A cosmopolitan civilization flour-
ished here 4,000 years ago, as merchants and businessmen
profited from Bahrain's station on the organized trade route
between India and Mesopotamia. Legends arose and the
island acquired mythical status. To the people of the
ancient Near East, Bahrain was known as "Dilmun, The
Paradise Land."

Drawing: R. Pdmnm
A typical depiction of a boat on a Dilmun seal. Such
enigmatic scenes represent the sum of our knowledge of
ancient seafaring in the Arabian Gulf (after Kjaerum

Seven thousand years ago, Bahrain was joined to the
Arabian peninsula. Earlier still, during the last (Wirm)
glaciation, the floor of the entire Persian, or Arabian, Gulf
was a plain. Four rivers, including the Euphrates and the
Tigris, converged at what is now the head of the gulf and
flowed through the plain to the Indian Ocean. This conver-
gence may be that referred to in Genesis 2:10, the place
God planted His Garden, and some scholars believe the
plain was Eden, a Sumerian word that means "fertile
plain." Others believe Bahrain to be the original Eden.
Indeed, in the island's desert stands a lone acacia tree of
unknown age known as Shajarat Al-Hiya, "The Tree of
Life." Even if it was not Eden, however, this was surely
an echo of paradise. In addition to the plentiful water and
lushness, there was security from nomads and bandits on
the mainland because of Bahrain's insularity.
Evidence of man's earliest presence on Bahrain consists
of pottery dating to approximately 4,000 B.c Sumerians
of this era, termed the "Ubaid Period" after a site in Iraq,
migrated south from the head of the gulf along its western
littoral toward the Indian Ocean. The presence of their
pottery on Bahrain makes it possible that these Sumerians,
or Ubaidians, were the first people on the Island, and that
they reached it as well as the Indian Ocean by boat.

INA Quarterly 20.2

Map: R. Pedcrac
Top: The Arabian Gulf region. Bottom: The major
islands of Bahrain and the adjacent reefs, before land
reclamation projects altered the coastline.

Sumer was located in Mesopotamia, the "Cradle of
Civilization," where many roots of western culture can be
found. Our systems of time and geometry were first
devised in Mesopotamia, as was writing. Codified laws
promulgated by Hammurabi in the second millennium B.C
anticipate aspects of the Ten Commandments by centuries
and still influence modern judicial systems. Ur on the
Euphrates was the birthplace of Abraham, patriarch of
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
In Mesopotamia, Greek for "land between the rivers,"
agriculture was revolutionized through irrigation, which
transformed the environment, influenced settlement pat-
terns, and facilitated urbanization. The Mesopotamians
built temples that were virtually unequalled in size until

Medieval Europeans erected their cathedrals. Metallurgy
was developed in the Near East and brought about a tech-
nological revolution in weapons and tools.
Sociopolitical systems evolved rapidly throughout the
fourth and third millennia B.C Power and influence passed
from the religious to the secular as the En, or priest,
slowly became secondary to the Lugal, or king. Burgeon-
ing populations created conflicts between independent
cities. The quest for control over limited resources
resulted in organized warfare. By the end of the third
millennium, these processes gave rise to the world's first
empire, the Akkadian, which ruled both land and sea.
Sea-borne trade was an integral part of these develop-
ments, as Mesopotamia relied on trade for copper, the most
precious commodity of the day. First used alone and later
alloyed with tin to produce bronze, copper was the material
preferred for making tools, ritual objects, and luxury
goods. Most important, copper was needed for the
manufacture of weapons. Vastly superior to stone, copper-
alloy projectile points could be mass-produced in molds to
create weapons more accurate, lighter, and sharper than
stone. In a world in which land and resources were be-
coming dear, copper-based weaponry enabled armies to
conquer and empires to rise. In the third millennium, the
only source of copper was a land called "Magan," now
believed to be modern Oman. There was a direct land link
to the mines, but until the domestication of the camel it
was easier to sail to Magan. By the time copper was being
sought in abundance, man had been sailing on the gulf for
at least a thousand years.
Ancient texts record trading links between Mesopotamia
and the lands of Meluhha, Magan, and Dilmun. Meluhha
has been identified with the Harappan civilization of the
Indus River Valley, artifacts of which have been found on
Mesopotamian and gulf sites. Dilmun was the closest of
the three to Mesopotamia, and has been identified as

Dilmun was a sacred land, a place where, the Sumerians
believed, disease and death did not exist. It was the land
to which the gods sent Ziusudra, the Sumerian Noah, to
live out eternity. Dilmun was where Enki, god of the vast
subterranean sea, poured out his blessings. Its lushness
was legendary.
Early in the third millennium, Dilmun comprised much
of the Arabian coast from present-day Kuwait to Qatar, but
shrank to island status in the later centuries of the millenni-
um, for reasons unknown. Possibilities include changes in
climate and sea level, and the activities of marauders on
the mainland. As an island-based state Dilmun consisted

INA Quarterly 20.2

of Bahrain and what are now Thrut Island in Saudi Arabia
and Failaka Island in Kuwait.
Archaeological materials found on Bahrain Island attest
to its importance in antiquity and constitute the best
grounds for identifying Bahrain as Dilmun. In the 1950s,
Danish excavations at Barbar and Qal'at al-Bahrain re-
vealed a long-buried civilization that was assumed to be
Dilmun, previously known only through Mesopotamian
documents. Excavations of Dilmun-period sites on Bahrain
Island over the past thirty years have demonstrated that a
vibrant maritime culture existed there in the third and sec-
ond millennia B.C. Able to offer few local products aside
from "fish-eyes" (possibly pearls), dates, and "Dilmun
onions" (perhaps garlic), the traders of Dilmun were pri-
marily middlemen who profit-
ed from the island's attractive-
ness to passing ships. Supplies
could be taken aboard, goods
could be transferred safely
from one vessel to another,
and captains and crews in need
of rest and relaxation were
permitted shorter voyages.
The ancient civilization on
Bahrain was a unique synthesis
of indigenous, Mesopotamian,
Harappan, and possibly Egyp-
tian elements that could have
reached the island only via
water transport. Artifacts
found on Bahrain and Failaka
Island exhibit iconography that
is a blend of Sumerian and
Harappan motifs. The archi-
tecture of ancient Bahrain
shared some characteristics
with Mesopotamian styles, but
the ashlar masonry used to duliz Ali Sowaileh
Abdulaziz Alh Sowaileh
construct the Dilmun-period The excavation of this te
temple at Barbar is alien to redefining our knowledge
Mesopotamia and the gulf. Its
nearest parallels are found in
Dilmun thrived as an island-based entity for approxi-
mately five centuries, falling into decline about 1800 ac.;
a drop in sea level may have made the island inaccessible
to larger ships. Little is known of the ensuing periods,
except that various Mesopotamian and Persian powers
controlled the gulf in turn. With the arrival of Alexander
the Great, Hellenistic Greeks penetrated the region. The
Greeks knew Bahrain as "Telos," and although they settled

there, we have little evidence of their presence. Romans
followed on the heels of the Greeks, sailing to India and
possibly beyond. By the age of European exploration,
major maritime routes were bypassing the gulf in favor of
the Red Sea. Nevertheless, both the Portuguese and the
Ottoman Turks struggled for control of the region and the
lucrative spice trade. The Portuguese won control of
Bahrain after fighting various naval battles, some just
offshore of the modern capital, and built fortresses on Bah-
rain and Muharraq. But their rule was short, as the
archipelago eventually became a British protectorate. The
State of Bahrain achieved independence in 1971.

Photo: R. Pcdcrun
(left) and George Bass at the Dilmun-period temple at Sar.
.mple and the surrounding city, lost for nearly 4,000 years, is
'e of Dilmun.

Modern Bahrain
Like its ancient predecessor, modern Bahrain is both an
oasis and a trading entrep6t. The capital, Manama (pro-
nounced Man-ahh-ma), is a cosmopolitan mix of traditional
and high-rise buildings. From the sea, the city resembles
Miami. Modern shops are found along side the traditional
souq, or marketplace, where one can walk narrow, winding
streets and feel transported into a story from the Arabian
Nights. Ruled by His Highness Shaikh Isa bin Sulman Al

1NA Quarterly 20.2

Khalifa, Bahrain is home to people of many nationalities,
including several thousand Britons and Americans.
Connected to Saudi Arabia by the King Fahd Causeway
and a favorite vacation spot in the Gulf, modern amenities
abound, including video shops and fast-food restaurants.
Satellite technology links the nation to Wall Street and the
world. A modern-day Eden in the midst of a frequently
turbulent region, Bahrain fully embraces past, present, and

INA in Bahrnin
Acting on the advice of Dr. Robert Killick of the Insti-
tute of Archaeology in London, currently excavating the
Dilmun-period site of Saar in Bahrain, George Bass and I
traveled to Bahrain in June of 1992 to investigate the possi-
bilities of surveying its waters for wrecks of ancient water-
Upon our arrival, Dr. Bass and I were graciously
received by His Excellency 'ariq A. Almoayed, the
Minister of Information. We were provided with accom-
modations and a chauffeured car for our nine-day stay.
His Excellency The Minister was enthusiastic about our
plans and, being a fan of National Geographic magazine,
is familiar with INA's work. He lost no time granting us
permission to conduct a survey and subsequent shipwreck
excavations in Bahrain. His Excellency also kindly
arranged for Dr. Bass and me to tour the National Muse-
um, in which burial mounds from the Dilmun period are
displayed, as are boat models, examples of traditional
crafts, and artifacts of all periods. It is one of the finest
museums either of us has seen anywhere.
His Excellency The Minister made appointments for us
with other government officials as well, one of whom was
the Superintendent of Archaeology, Abdulaziz Ali Sowai-
leh, who is eager to see what explorations under water may
mean for his country. He organized a tour of several
archaeological sites and a boat excursion to give us a feel
for the offshore environs.
During a meeting with the Director General of Ports,
Eid Abdulla Yusuf, it was suggested that we contact Kevin
Patience, a professional diver. A phone call brought an
invitation to dine with Kevin and his wife Kay at their
home that evening. Kevin had not only heard of INA, but
had been one of the first divers on the Portuguese wreck at
Mombasa, which INA excavated under Robin Piercy's
direction (see INA Newsletter 18.2). A friendship quickly
developed. Since then, Kevin and Kay have given me
sound advice regarding the work I hope to do in Bahrain.
Dr. Bass and I found Bahrain to be a pleasant, friendly
place. The government and people are interested in their
past and are committed to the development of their cultural

resources. They are eager to see INA locate and excavate
shipwrecks and set up a regional headquarters in Manama
for further investigations in the Arabian Gulf. As we left
Bahrain, we both knew we would be back.

Why the Arabian Gulf?
Over the past few decades much has been learned about
Dilmun and the archaeology of Bahrain. Even more has
been learned about the Mesopotamian civilizations, after a
century of excavations. Yet we know less about ancient
seafaring in the Arabian Gulf, the waters upon which the
art of navigation and organized maritime trade may have
developed, than we did a century ago about ships of the
ancient Mediterranean. How much traffic did the gulf bear
in antiquity? What did Mesopotamia export in exchange
for copper, and what were the Harappans trading? We
have no direct evidence of sea-borne contact between
Mesopotamia and Egypt, a topic about which much has
been written, but nothing yet proven. Does such evidence
exist? What were the sailing practices of these gulf mari-
ners? Did they sail year-round, hugging the coast where
they could, or did they wait for seasonal winds and journey
out into the Indian Ocean? What did their ships look like,
and how large were they? The evidence currently available
to help us answer these questions is sparse: artifacts of
Indus and Omani origin found on sites around the gulf;
texts describing some of the traded goods; a few boat
models, probably representing river craft; and depictions of
boats on seals. Seals of both the cylinder and stamp type
definitely exhibit craft built of reeds, and until now, reed
vessels have been taken to be the type used in ancient
maritime commerce in this part of the world. Thor
Heyerdahl popularized this view by constructing such a
boat for his attempt to sail from Mesopotamia to Egypt.
Seals of the period also clearly depict another type of
craft that I believe was wooden, however. While none of
the depictions can be identified as being of merchant ships,
I propose that these wooden vessels were utilized for trade
on a larger scale, while reed boats were for local and river
use. Reed vessels are less effective and dependable than
wooden ones, and long-distance journeys on the open sea
would have been too risky to both cargo and crew. In
Egypt, finely crafted wooden vessels were in use at least by
the middle of the third millennium, as the funerary boat of
Cheops, or Khufu, demonstrates. It is unlikely that the
Mesopotamian cultures, with their extensive Egyptian
contacts, would not have built similarly advanced ships.
Ancient texts show that ships from Meluhha tied up to the
quay at the Mesopotamian city of Agade. These ships
were therefore probably capable of sailing the entire
distance from the Indus River to the Euphrates, and their

INA Quarterly 20.2

crews were probably the world's first long-distance sailors
and navigators. Yet we do not know if contemporaneous
gulf ships shared construction and design methods with
Egypt, were uniquely Mesopotamian in character, or had
Harappan origins.
Bahrain, adjacent to the ancient shipping lanes, is the
logical place to begin searching for wrecks in the Gulf.
Maritime traffic to and from Mesopotamia must have been
heavy, and as a trading entrep6t, Dilmun's existence relied
on ships in great numbers. That wrecks were common is
suggested by a section of the Law Code of Hammurabi that
addresses the issue of compensation in the event a rowboat
should ram and sink a sailboat. In addition to this is the
of the network of
reefs, shoals, and
coral heads sur-
rounding the
islands of Bah-
rain. These are
hazardous even to
modern ships. In
the past two
decades there
have been numer-
ous shipwrecks in
the area, includ-
ing the loss of a
dhow with its
cargo of 40 tele-
vision sets! The
shallowness of
Bahraini waters,
only 10 m (33 ft)
deep on the route 7he author (left) and Mohammed Al-
between Bahrain Arabian Gulf. The sparse vegetation
and Tarut, is
another cause of maritime accidents. Swells and currents
that in deep, open water are harmless, become intensified
and dangerous in shallow water.
Archaeologically, the floor of the Arabian Gulf is
unexplored territory. No shipwrecks have been excavated
yet, and there are no reported instances of the looting of
wrecks. The Institute of Nautical Archaeology therefore
has a unique opportunity to explore an important nautical
facet of Near Eastern archaeology. Never before, to our
knowledge, has an individual or an institute been granted
permission to conduct an underwater archaeological survey
in the Gulf. We do not know what we will find there.
Perhaps the only ancient wrecks to be discovered are of
small, local fishing craft. Or, we may find shipwrecks


rivalling the splendor of the one at Uluburun, Turkey of
royal vessels bearing enormous wealth.
INA's long-term goal is to add a new dimension to Near
Eastern archaeology by excavating shipwrecks that will
help build an understanding of maritime commerce and
shipbuilding in the gulf in all periods of history.
In September of 1993, I returned to Bahrain with a
small group of nautical archaeology students from Texas
A&M University to begin an underwater survey. Our first
task is to delineate search areas by correlating modern
shipwreck data with nautical charts to determine where
wrecks are most likely to have occurred over the centuries.
We also hope to befriend and interview local divers who
may know of
anomalous fea-
tures that could
prove to be
wrecks. Then the
underwater work
will begin.
Thanks to fund-
ing from INA and
its members, this
Arabian Gulf
Expedition will
extend for several
months, under
my direction. All
recovered arti-
facts will remain
in Bahrain for
study and eventu-
al display, of
Photo: G. Bae course. As part
ryegh on a small desert island in the of a joint expedi-
typical of the region. tion to Sharjah,
United Arab
Emirates, with Professor Daniel T. Potts of the University
of Sydney, I hope to expand the Arabian Gulf Expedition
in January of 1994. While a team from Sydney surveys
land sites, my team and I would conduct a shipwreck
With the help of INA's members and supporters, many
questions about ancient Near Eastern seafaring will be
answered through our investigations in Bahrain and the
Arabian Gulf. Many more will arise with our discoveries.
We have embarked upon a thrilling journey.

INA Quarterly 20.2

Acknowledgements. On behalf of George Bass and myself,
I thank His Excellency Tariq A. Almoayed, Minister of
Information, for permission to conduct investigations in
Bahrain, and for his generosity in receiving us. I also thank
Ahmed A. Al Sherooqi, Director of Media and Public
Relations, for his support. Additionally, I thank the following
for receiving us: Shaika Nayla A. Al Khalifa, Director of
Museums and Heritage; Dr. Kadhim E. Rajab, Director of
Tourism and Archaeology; Khalil Ebrahim Althawadi,
Assistant Undersecretary of Culture and National Heritage;
and Eid Abdulla Yusuf, Director General of Ports.
I extend special thanks to Abdulaziz Ali Sowaileh, Superin-
tendent of Archaeology, for taking time to tour with us; to
AbdulrahmanMusameh, Supervisor of MuseumEducation, for
the National Museum tour; to Ole Gravgaard, Head of
Hydrography, for his time and aid; to Kevin and Kay Pa-
tience, for their friendship; to Mohammed Al Sayegh and
Majed Al Skafei for their assistance and patience; and to Dr.
Rick Roberts of the U.S. Department of State, for his aid.

I particularly thank Robert K. Vincent for his support, and
George F. Bass for helping me turn a dream into reality.

Suggested Reading
Kjaerum, P.
1983 Failaka/Dilmun, The Second Millennium Settlements.
Volume 1.1: The Stamps and Cylinder Seals.
Jysk Arkaeologisk Selskab, Moesgird, Arhus.
Potts, D.T.
1983 Dilmun: New Studies in the Archaeology and Early
History of Bahrain. D. Reimer Verlag, Berlin.
1990 The Arabian Gulf in Antiquity. Clarendon, Oxford
and New York.
Rice, M., and S.H.A. al Khalifa (editors)
1986 Bahrain Through the Ages: The Archaeology. KPI,
London and New York.
Woolley, C.L.
1929 The Sumerians. Clarendon, Oxford.

News & Notes

Donny L. Hamilton New
Head of Nautical Program
Professor Donny L. Hamilton was
appointed Head of the Nautical Archae-
ology Program at Ibxas A&M Universi-
ty in April, 1993. One of the four
original Program faculty members,
Hamilton is a pioneer and leading au-
thority in the conservation of submerged
archaeological resources. Since 1978 he
has been teaching courses in Historical
Archaeology and Conservation, the
latter at the Conservation Research
Laboratory at Texas A&M's Riverside
campus. Donny expects to be able to
move the laboratory into the Anthro-
pology Building on the main campus in
the summer of 1994. This will greatly
facilitate the ongoing conservation and
study required for publication of his
excavations at Port Royal, Jamaica,
which he directed from 1981 through
1990. Thus his new responsibilities will
make him busier than ever as he brings
his broad experience and inimitable style

and personality to the business of ad-
ministrating the Program. He will con-
tinue to devote most of his free time to
a consuming interest, his and his wife
Betsy's family tree.

15th Caribbean Congress
Convenes in San Juan
From July 26 to 31, 1993, scholars
and enthusiasts congregated at the beau-
tiful Tapia Theater in downtown Old
San Juan, Puerto Rico, for the Fifteenth
International Congress on Caribbean
Archaeology. For those accustomed to
the somewhat carried format of the
annual Conference on Underwater Ar-

chaeology, the Caribbean Archaeological
Conference presented a most refreshing
alternative. The week-long congress al-
lowed participants the opportunity to
attend all presentations, instead of hav-
ing to chose between "back to back"
lectures in distant auditoriums. Seminar
topics ranging from Pre-Columbian rock
art to underwater archaeology were well
planned, moderated, and delivered. Be-
cause of the truly international nature of
the gathering, headsets were provided to
audience participants, who could listen
to lectures translated into Spanish, Eng-
lish, or French. Evening entertainment
included a wonderful government recep-

INA Quarterly 20.2

New Telephone Area Codes for Turkey

The Bodrum telephone area code has changed. Formerly -6146-,
it is now -252-316-. The last four digits of the Institute's
Bodrum phone numbers have not been altered.


tion, as well as visits to regional muse-
ums such as Juan Ponce de Leon's
Nautical Archaeology Program stu-
dent Juan Vera organized the section on
underwater archaeology, which featured
papers on currentunderwater projects in
Puerto Rico (Consejo Para La Conserva-
cion y Estudio De Sitios y Recursos
Arqueol6gicos Subaquaticos de Puerto
Rico), Cuba (Carisub), and the Domini-
can Republic (Pan-American Institute of
Maritime Archaeology and INA). Doc-
toral Candidate Jerome Lynn Hall pre-
sented a paper entitled "Across the
Indigo Sea: The 1993 Field Season
Interim Report for The Monte Cristi
Shipwreck Project." The 1994 confer-
ence will be held in Havana, Cuba.
-Jerome Lynn Hall

Five Deliver Papers in
Mayer Professor Frederick H. van
Doorninck, Jr., spoke and also chaired
a session at the Fifth International Con-
gress on Graeco-Oriental and Graeco-
African Studies, which was held June
17-20 in Delphi. His paper was entitled
"The Byzantine Amphoras from the
11th-Century Shipwreck at Serge
Limam: Sophisticated Vehicles for a
Well-Developed Commerce in Wine."
The Fifth International Symposium
on Ship Construction in Antiquity was
held in Nauplia, Greece, from the 25th
through the 28th of August. The con-
ference, which attracted participants
from fourteen countries, was organized
by the Hellenic Institute for the Preser-
vation of Nautical Tradition. Over 50
papers were presented on various as-
pects of ancient ship construction and
related topics.
INA and the Nautical Archaeology
Program were well represented. Yamini
Professor Emeritus J. Richard Steffy
contributed a paper discussing the signif-
icance of ancient ship repairs. Yamini
Fellow Fred Hocker addressed the de-
velopment of the keel in ancient Medi-
terranean ships and proposed a function-
al typology. Siegfried Graduate Fellow

David C. Langworthy

David Langworthy, an INA board member since 1981, died on July 26 in
New York City. Some of his wide-ranging activities are manifest in a fond
remembrance by George Bass: "We will miss the presence of David at our
INA board meetings and trips. We will miss the ever-present bow-tie, and
the impish gleam in his eyes that gave away the humor behind his straight-
faced quips. To me he was a fine combination, a gentle man of action; he
flew his own plane from Pennsylvania to the first board meeting he attended
in Texas, and dived with me on the famous reef at Yassiada, Turkey, but he
did these things with quiet modesty rather than macho displays. His love of
the theater was apparent not only from our many discussions, but from the
framed picture I once noticed in his New York home of a younger David and
Norma, his wife, that could have come from the cover of a playbill." David
Swas also an accomphshed sailor and a founding board director of the Coriell
Institute, a medical research firm in New Jersey.
David is survived by sons Wilson and Keith, daughters Collie Hutter and
Leslie Beller, seven grandchildren, and his wife Norma. "Norma was always
. with David at our annual dinners and meetings, whether in Texas or Turkey
or Jamaica, and we are most pleased that we will continue to see her as she
joins the Institute's board of directors," adds Dr. Bass.

Cemal Pulak, arriving directly from the
1993 Uluburun, Turkey, field season,
presented the latest findings from the
Late Bronze Age wreck, including
information about the hull portions
newly raised. Meadows Assistant Pro-
fessor Shelley Wachsmann offered a
reinterpretation of the Pylos Rowers
tablets, arguing that these Linear B texts
could reflect preparations for a maritime
emigration. Nautical Archaeology
Program Students Roxani Margariti,
Edward Rogers, and Mark Smith were
also in attendance.
Patrice Pomey discussed the latest
discoveries from Marseille, among
which are several Roman vessels that
may be interpreted as dredges; Carlos
Le6n Amores reported on the Roman
wreck of Crum de Sal in the Balearic Is-
lands; the fourth-century B.c. wreck at
Alonisos, Greece, was described by
Elpida Hadjidaki; and the season's find-
ings from the Bronze Age wreck off
Point Iria, Greece, were presented by
Haralambos Pennas.
The symposium concluded with a
general discussion of the future of ship-

wreck archaeology, chaired by Harry E.
Tzalas, president of the Hellenic Insti-
tute. Proceedings from the conference
will be published as 72opis V by the
Hellenic Institute.
-Mark A. Smith

Wachsmann Addresses Sym-
posium in Annapolis
Shelley Wachsmann, Meadows Assis-
tant Professor of Biblical Archaeology
in the Nautical Archaeology Program at
Texas A&M, recently participated in the
Eleventh Naval History Symposium in
Annapolis, Maryland, held from 21 to
23 October, and sponsored by the U.S.
Naval Academy. Wachsmann served as
respondent for the underwater archae-
ology session that comprised the follow-
ing papers: "The Anticythera Device,"
by Robert Rice; "Reconsidering the
Battle of Actium," by William Murray;
and "Documentary Evidence for Greco-
Roman Shipbuilding," by Lionel

INA Quarterly 20.2



George F. Bass, Archaeological Director
Donald G. Geddes II, Treasurer

John H. Baird
George F. Bass
J.R.R. Chilton
Gregory M. Cook
Harlan Crow
Claude Duthuit
Daniel Fallon
Danielle J. Feeney
Donald G. Geddes Il
William Graves
Nixon Oriffia

Robert K. Vincent, Jr., President
Rebecca H. Holloway, Secretary


Bruce Heafitz
Bengt O. Jansson
Harry C. Kahn H
Michael L. Katzev
Jack W. Kelley
Sally R. Lancaster
Samuel LeFrak
Robert E. Lorton
Frederick R, Mayer
William A. McKenzie

Donald A. Frey, Vice President,

William H. Mobley
Alex G. Nason
Ray H. Siegfried U, Chairman
William T. Sturgis
Robert L. Walker
Lew 0. Ward
Peter M. Way
Garry A. Weber
Martin A. Wilcox
Richard A. Williford
George O. Yamini

George F. Bass, George T. & Gladys H. Abell Professor of Nautical Archaeology
Kevin J. Crisman, Assistant Professor
Donny L. Hamilton, Associate Professor
Frederick M. Hocker, Sara W. & George O. Yamini Faculty Fellow
J. Richard Steffy, Sara W. & George O. Yamini Professor of Nautical Archaeology, Emeritus
Frederick H. van Doorninck, Jr., Frederick R. Mayer Professor in Nautical Archaeology
Shelley Wachsmann, Meadows Assistant Professor of Biblical Archaeology


Cemal Pulak, Mr. & Mrs. Ray H.
Siegfried EI Graduate Fellow
Elizabeth Robinson, Mr. & Mrs. J.
Brown Cook Graduate Fellow


Selma Karan
Sheila Matthews, M.A.
James Parrent, Ph.D.
Robin C.M. Piercy
Cemal Pulak, M.A.
Sema Pulak, M.A.
Murat Tilev
Tufan Turanli
Patricia Turner
Jane Pannell-Yildunm


Michael A. Fitzgerald


Jeremy Green
Cheryl Haldane, M.A.
Douglas Haldane, M.A.
Margaret E. Leshikar, M.A.
John Neville
Kathleen McLaughlin-Neyland, M.A.
Robert Neyland, M.A.
Ralph Pedersen, M.A.
Donald Rosencrantz


Cynthia I. Eiseman, Ph.D.
John Gifford, Ph.D.
Faith Hentschel, Ph.D.
Carolyn Koehler, Ph.D.
David I. Owen, Ph.D.
David C. Switzer, Ph.D.
Gordon P. Watts, Jr., M.A.

COUNSEL James A. Goold

Australian Institute of Maritime Archaeology
Boston University
Brown University
Bryn Mawr College
University of California, Berkeley
University of Cincinnati
Cornell University
Corning Museum of Glass
Department de Arqueol6gia Subacuatica de
la I.N.A.H., Mexico
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
New York University, Institute of Fine Arts
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Partners for Livable Places
University Museum, University of
Shell of Turkey, Ltd.
Texas A&M Research Foundation
Texas A&M University
University of Texas, Austin

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