Ancient Mediterranean

Digital Project

Ship with furled sails

Cat. No.



LH IIIC1 (12th century B.C.)


Ekron, level VIIa



Two sherds from a locally made krater

Accession Number


Ben-Shlomo 2010: 54, fig. 3.13.2; Knapp 2019: 129, fig. 29; Meehl et al 2006: fig. 3:27:2; Mountjoy 2005: 425, pl. XCVIIIb; Wachsmann 2013: 64-65, fig. 2.36

The top sherd shows a brailed sail furled to the yard depicted with semicircles attached to a horizontal bar, similar to one of the depictions from Kynos. Two lines on either side of the mast could be halyards for raising and lowering the mast, or alternatively according to Wachsmann, brails. An interpretation as lifts is also possible.

The smaller sherd shows part of the rower's gallery (four individual 'rooms' are preserved), with a triangular device which has been interpreted differently depending in which direction the sherd is placed. If facing down, the element could only be a steering oar, yet it is at an odd angle to the hull. Alternatively, Wachsmann prefers to see it as the sternpost device recurving over the hull. A third possibility is that it is the handle of the quarter rudder.

The parallels with LH IIIC pottery bearing ship depictions from the Aegean itself is notable, including the choice of medium, the representation of the open rower's galley, and the straight yard.

Ben-Shlomo, D. 2010. Philistine Iconography: a wealth of style and symbolism. Fribourg: Academic Press & Vandenhoeck.

Knapp, A. B. 2019. Seafaring and Seafarers in the Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean. Leiden: Sidestone Press.

Meehl, M. W., T. Dothan and S. Gitin (eds). 2006. Tel Miqne-Ekron Excavations, 1995–1996, Field INE East Slope: Iron Age I (Early Philistine Period). Jerusalem: W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological research and Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Mountjoy, P.A. 2005. “Mycenaean Connections with the Near East in LH IIIC: Ships and Sea Peoples,” in R. Laffineur and E. Greco (eds.) Emporia: Aegeans in the Central and Eastern Mediterranean: Proceedings of the 10th International Aegean Conference. Athens, Italian School of Archaeology, 14–18 April 2004, (Aegaeum 25). Liège: Université de Liège, pp. 423–427.

Wachsmann, S. 2013. The Gurob Ship–Cart Model and Its Mediterranean Context. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.

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