When most of us think of ancient seafaring we think of something along lines of Christopher Columbus and his voyage to the New World using three ships. Those ships, however, were very small compared to ancient ships built by the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, et al. Columbus only had about 88 men on board his three ships and two of his ships were only 50 feet long! That’s about the size of a small fishing boat.
Chinese trading ship of Admiral Zheng He
When we look at the history of China we get a clue at just how much more advanced these people were than Europeans when it came to ship building and exploration. For example, there is a tiny island off the coast of Africa called “Pate” which is just off the coast of Kenya. People living on that island claim that they are the descendants of Chinese sailors who were shipwrecked on the island several centuries ago! These Chinese sailors traded with local Africans and they even took a few giraffes back to China for the emperor’s pleasure! People on this island have an Asian appearance, somewhat and many have antique porcelain heirlooms in their homes that resemble those made by the ancient Chinese.
History tells us that some six centuries ago a mighty Chinese armada sailed westward to Ceylon, East Africa, and Arabia for trade. Some of the ships (junks) had giant nine-masted sails and accompanying them were smaller escort vessels carrying patrol boats, horses, soldiers, supply ships, etc. This armada was anything but small because in total there were more than 27,000 soldiers and sailors! The biggest ships were recorded as being over 400 feet long and 150 ft wide! In comparison, Columbus’ ship named the Santa Maria was only 90×30 feet. These ancient Chinese ships were massive, to say the least. Continue Reading
It’s not uncommon to find odd objects after hurricanes have washed them onshore but in this case what was found is significant. Randy Lathrop a fine arts photographer was riding his bike this past Monday morning looking at some of the damage left behind by Hurricane Irma in the coastal community of Cocoa which is east of Orlando. He spotted an odd shaped object on the banks of the Indian River and text a friend to come help him take the object. That friend just happened to be a specialist in underwater archaeology.
The pair struggled in waist high water but eventually got the canoe onto a truck. Turns out the object is a canoe 15 feet long and weighing about 700 pounds hallowed out of tree trunk. The canoe also has square iron nails in its construction so it’s not prehistoric but it’s still significant. It may have been made and used by early pioneers during the 1700s. The canoe is presently in the custody of the State and carbon dating is being done to determine its age.
The “Indian River Canoe” found last week in Florida after Hurricane Irma 2017
Luckily this guy was observant and didn’t just pass it off as nothing and pass it by. I think most likely it is a canoe once used by pioneers on the Indian River. I’ll be interested to see what the C14 analysis comes up with for age. Save for the square iron nails it looks pretty much as hallowed out canoes have always looked. Even those from prehistoric times. Funny how some things never change and some only slightly change over the eons of time. Continue Reading
H/T to JR Bentley for providing this link 🙂
“Uh Oh, The paradigm is shifting again… New find from Fels Cave. A MAMMOTH IVORY ROPE MAKER! More importantly it is a four strand rope maker unlike even the modern Rope, Wire Rope and Cable makers that are a standard three strands! A four strand Rope would have been by physical nature not only stronger, but much more flexible and actually easier to hold varied knotting patterns! I hope they are right on this… Shows a whole world of difference in assumed Cognitive abilities… If true, this is huge!”
JR Bentley is absolutely right! The paradigm IS changing and more and more it is changing rapidly. This latest find at Hohle Fels Cave in Germany is amazing and it changes everything we THOUGHT we knew about rope making and our ancestors. Apparently, they were making 4 strand rope 42 kya and would have been a very strong rope indeed. I have a 4 strand rope from a ship and over the years I’ve used it for a variety of things, even pulling trucks bigger than my own! And that rope is still as good as new! So our ancestors in Germany were making 4 strand ropes using ivory technology and the question is what were they using such a strong robe for?
Ivory rope maker tools found in Germany
The tool used to make these 4 strand robes is carved from ivory. Four small holes were placed close together on an 8 inch long strip of mammoth ivory. What is even MORE fascinating is that the maker of the tools intricately carved a spiral pattern in the holes much like the spiral patter we see today inside a modern gun barrel. Continue Reading
The following link from Archaeology Southwest’s Preservation Archaeologist Allen Denoyer describes how to tan a hide which is a relatively simple process. The more you smoke it, the darker it gets!
See the link at:
Hands-On Archaeology: How to Tan a Hide