Ancient Sumerian ship discovered in Iraq

(ORDO NEWS) — In Iraq, archaeologists have successfully carried out an operation to rescue and preserve an amazing artifact – a 4,000-year-old light ship that was discovered in the vicinity of the ancient Sumerian capital.

According to The History Blog, a unique 4,000-year-old watercraft has been discovered by an international team of archaeologists near the ancient city of Uruk in southern Iraq. The team conducted a special rescue operation, as the unique artifact was threatened with complete destruction.

This ancient vessel was first seen back in 2018. It was found by archaeologists excavating ancient irrigation canals in the archaeological buffer zone around Uruk.

As a result, not only numerous canals were discovered, but also the remains of settlements that were located near this ancient capital of the Sumerians. By the way, the population of this city reached 80 thousand people, which made it the largest metropolis of its time.

As for the ship, it was rather a very large boat. Unfortunately, its sides were subjected to powerful erosion. Therefore, from the moment of discovery, archaeologists only closely monitored the state of the artifact, not daring to excavate. And only in March 2022, the rescue operation began.

Judging by the description, the boat is almost completely preserved, but it is rather fragile, as it is made of organic material. According to experts, reeds and palm leaves were used as building material, and the surface was covered with bitumen. The ship was seven meters long and 1.4 meters wide.

Organic materials have not been preserved, therefore, scientists judge the size and shape of the vessel only by the bitumen layer that has survived to this day, the thickness of which did not exceed 1 cm. Organic remains were preserved only in the form of imprints on bitumen.

Probably, the boat sank near the river bank and turned out to be silted up. Archaeologists covered it with a shell of clay and gypsum, which made it possible to create a kind of sarcophagus for stabilization.

This “sarcophagus” helped to excavate and remove the boat from the petrified river silt. It will be fully restored and put on public display at the Iraqi Museum in Baghdad.


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