The team led by the University of Haifa (Israel) excavated and studied the ancient shipwreck. “Unusual source of information”, as the paper called it Ancient Origins, are tiny skeletons, as terrifyingly intact as the ship itself.
According to a publication published on the website of the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies, the Ma’agan Mikhael B was a 25-meter-long merchant ship that sank at a depth of only 3 meters in an area 70 meters off the coast of Israel. No one has seen the ship for centuries, possibly because it was buried in the sand.
The ancient shipwreck “appears” in an amazingly intact condition, from the main frame structures to the bulkheads, the masts are as if they had just sunk a few days. The entire hull of the ship with the crew’s cargo and daily necessities was also intact.
According to the report just published on Journal of the Council for British Research in the Levant, This is the largest Byzantine maritime archaeological find along the coast of Israel ever. Ancient Islamic pottery on board is particularly historically valuable, including a variety of amphora – antique vases with two handles, gourds, and tapered necks.
Inside the ceramic vases – most of them with lids – intact goods include Turkish walnuts and a traditional fish sauce of the Sea of Galilee. Repair tools, wood artifacts, glassware, coins… and even remains were found on the ship.
But most striking are the tiny skeletons: mouse bones, most likely mice carrying the “black death” from the fleas they carry.
According to Business Insider, It’s not clear whether these rats carried diseases, but they are tangible evidence of how rats hitched their way on merchant ships and roamed the world in the 1400s. This was a terrible period of plague, rampant. many parts of the world, especially Europe – where an estimated two-thirds of the population has been wiped out.
Bone analysis showed it was a black rat, which is known to have arrived in the Middle East on merchant ships from South Asia more than 2,000 years ago, but the tooth morphology shows strange hybrid characteristics. Maybe they lived in Tunisia or Corsica before boarding.
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