A well-preserved shipwreck lying in shallow water just a few hundred feet away from the coast of Israel is providing new evidence of what life was like in the area when it sank, involving the mid-seventh and mid-eighth century A.D. Volunteer pupil sailors, that are part of a team headed by archaeologist Deborah Cvikel at the University of Haifa, discovered almost 200 amphoras comprising commodities such as olives, fish, dates, pine nuts, grapes, and raisins.
This breadth of goods is surprising, as it has generally been presumed that trade in the region declined greatly after the transition from Byzantine to Islamic rule from the midseventh century. “Here we have a large ship with cargofrom all around the region,”states Cvikel. “I think we have demonstrated there was a few largescale maritime commerce at the moment. “The team has also found signs that the boat’s crew may have included members of various faiths. A few of the amphoras bear Islamic benedictions, while others are painted with spans, and the word”Allah”in Arabic was found burned into the ship’s timber.