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Wreck of Punic warship from Marsala

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Wreck of Punic warship from Marsala
Wreck of Punic warship from Marsala

In 1971, the remains of a Punic military ship were discovered in the port of the Sicilian city of Marsala. They are the oldest surviving remains of this type. Researchers refer to the ship as “Punta Scario” and believe it was either a reconnaissance vessel or was used to tare smaller boats.

Scientists know about the origin of the ship thanks to the letters preserved on the hull of the ship. In the remains of the ship, numerous vessels of various shapes and bones of animals (deer, sheep, goats and pigs) were found. Interestingly, archaeologists also found marijuana stalks – researchers suggest that these may have been chewed by rowers.

The ship measured up to about 35 meters and its width was about 4.8 meters. The immersion depth had around 2.7 meters. Researchers believe that the ship could have participated in the lost by Carthage sea battle of the Aegadian Islands in 241 year BCE. Later wood research points to 235 BCE, suggesting that the ship could have been taken over by the Romans and used as a smaller reconnaissance unit (e.g. navis actuaria or navis speculatoria). The hull was made of oak and had a delicate and slender structure.

The artifact is in the Parco Archeologico di Lilibeo in Marsala (Sicily).

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