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The Ship  

"Phoenicia" successfully re-created the Phoenicians' epic voyage around the continent of Africa in a traditionally built replica Phoenician / Mediterranean vessel.

Research and Design
In 2004 the Phoenicia team, led by Philip Beale, undertook a research project studying the archaeological data of the Phoenician era.  Having researched the type of vessel which would have been used for such a voyage, a number of leading maritime archaeologists and historians were consulted to develop the design specification based on archaeological data from shipwrecks of this era.

The Phoenicia Ship
Elevation Plan

Shipwrecks found in the Mediterranean provided detail as to the likely dimensions and construction methods used within ships of this era.  Other artefacts such as coins and pottery have also been examined in a thorough investigation of Phoenician artefacts to ensure that the design and construction techniques for this replica vessel is as authentic as possible.

Professor Patrice Pomey assisted the research team by providing exclusive access to information on the Jules Verne 7 shipwreck excavated off the coast of Marseille, which provided the primary source of information for the reconstruction.


Building the Ship
Khalid Hammoud (pictured right), a renowned wooden shipbuilder, was selected from a number of candidates to manage the construction of the replica vessel in the ancient Phoenician city state of Arwad.  The Hammoud family have been building wooden vessels in Arwad for generations and are proud of their own Phoenician ancestry.

Khalid worked with a small team of shipwrights with 5-10 people working on the ship at any one time.  The build process was assisted by regular visits from members of the design team.

Khalid Hammoud
The Phoenicia ship builder

Khalid and his team used traditionally sourced materials (including Aleppo pine, Mediterranean oaker walnut, Mediterranean pink pine, cypress pine, handmade olive wood tenons and iron nails) according to the design specification.  Information on the materials was sourced from shipwrecks.

Ship Specifications

  • Length overall: 20m
  • Beam: 5.8m
  • Draft: 1.5m
  • Freeboard (amidships): 1.3m
  • Displacement: 50 tonnes
  • Rig: Square rig
  • Number of sails: 1
  • Mast: Single tree 14 meters long
  • Yard: solid timber long
  • Steering oars/rudders port & starboard: 2

The Ship Building Process
The ship build began in mid November 2007 on Arwad Island when the keel of the Phoenicia was laid. Over a period of nine months the ship was successfully constructed ready for the expedition. Sea trails took place in August 2008 before Phoenicia set off. You can view the photographic documentation of the ship building in the expedition Photo Gallery .

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