Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Fair Copies; Modern Replicas of Ancient Vessels

Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Fair Copies; Modern Replicas of Ancient Vessels

Article excerpt

Fair copies

Modern replicas of ancient vessels The sea trials of full-scale replicas of a number of ancient ships have successfully demonstrated the seaworthiness of early craft as well as contributed to our knowledge of naval construction techniques and the art of navigation. (1) In 1987, for the first time in over 2,000 years, a trireme of the Greek navy cut through the waters of the Mediterranean. The trireme, a reputdely invincible, fast and manoeuvrable warship with three tiers of oarsmen on each side, was fundamental to the naval strength of Ancient Greece. The modern replica, named Olympia, was built in a Greek naval shipyard to a design by a team of British researchers. As no remains of a trireme have ver been found, the designers relied on descriptions by classical writers, surviving illustrations of the ships, and experience gained from other ancient shipwrecks. The warship, 37 m long and over 5 m broad, displaces 1.5 m of water for 45 tons weight and is armed with a bronze ram at the bow. She soon showed her paces, reaching a speed of 7 knots in her first sea trials, propelled by a crew of almost 200 rowers. Use of the trireme will lead to a better understanding of the tactics employed by the Ancient Greek fleet. …

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