Mappings of Potential Sailing Mobility in the Mediterranean During Antiquity

D. Gal, H. Saaroni, D. Cvikel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A comprehensive mapping of potential sailing mobility was performed for the eastern and central Mediterranean basins. The mapping is based on newly developed methods for measuring potential sailing mobility of merchant ships with a loose-footed square sail in antiquity, both for direct passages and for coastal sailing. The metrics of the measured direct and coastal sailing passages generate new measures of potential sailing mobility that provide new insights into the functioning of maritime links. The study also applies the measurements to several case studies in historical context including mapping of potential sailing mobility for the grain shipments from Egypt to Rome and the potential sailing mobility of Phoenician maritime links between the Levant and colonies to the west. The mappings reveal the bottlenecks for westward sailing from the Levant in the summer months. The mappings also highlight the bi-directional sailing links that could be maintained throughout the summer season despite the prevailing Etesian winds. The mappings contribute to deeper understanding of seafaring options and challenges during Antiquity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Archaeological Method and Theory
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was partially supported by a Sir Maurice and Lady Irene Hatter Research Grant for Maritime Studies. The authors received a seed grant from the Data Science Research Centre (DSRC) of the University of Haifa to develop a high-resolution reanalysis database mapping coastal winds for the central and eastern Mediterranean basins.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

Keywords

  • Ancient sailing routes
  • Experimental archaeology
  • Maritime connectivity
  • Mediterranean
  • Seafaring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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