The field of underwater archaeology has made significant strides in recent years, with one of its most remarkable discoveries being the “Zambratija boat”, an ancient shipwreck estimated to be around 3,000 years old. Found off the coasts of Istria and Dalmatia, this discovery could shed light on naval traditions from centuries past.

The shipwreck was initially spotted by local fishermen who noticed something unusual in their nets. Archaeologists from the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) took over and were amazed to uncover a 39-foot-long hand-sewn boat, one of the oldest ever found in the Mediterranean Sea.

Despite being underwater for centuries, the vessel is surprisingly well-preserved. A 23-foot section appears almost new, indicating minimal contact with oxygen or other elements since it sank. To prevent any damage during transportation or restoration, researchers are handling these remains with extreme caution.

Plans for the ancient vessel include:

  • Reconstruction using 3D techniques
  • Determining more accurate construction dates
  • Identifying materials used for sewing and shaping wood components
  • Applying a water-soluble wax called polyethylene glycol to wooden remains to prevent disintegration when removed from water

After restoration and desalination at the Archaeological Museum of Istria, this well-preserved shipwreck could provide invaluable insights into maritime history dating back thousands of years – a feat made possible by advances in underwater archaeology technology.

Photo Credits: Philippe Groscaux/Mission Adriboats/CNRS/CCJ