"Phoenicia" successfully re-created the Phoenicians' epic voyage around the continent of
Africa in a traditionally built replica Phoenician / Mediterranean
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
The Phoenicia Ship
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
(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
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.
- Length overall: 20m
- Beam: 5.8m
- Draft: 1.5m
- Freeboard (amidships):
- 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
Photo Gallery .