Ancient Mediterranean

Digital Project

Ship model

Cat. No.



LC I/II (1650-1200 B.C.)


Maroni, Zarukas, Site A, tomb 7


L: 58.7 cm; H (amidships): 14 cm; beam (amidships): 21.5 cm


Terracotta model, Painted White handmade ware, faint traces of white colour outside the hull

Accession Number

British Museum nř 1998,1201.121


Basch 1987: 73-74, no. 143, 145; Carbillet 2011: 227-229, fig. 6; Göttlicher 1978: 34, no. 147, pl. 9; Gray 1974: G 20, 48, pl. G. IIb; Johnson 1980: 18-19, no. 60, pl. XVI: 60; Knapp 2019: 142, no. 2, fig. 37a; Wachsmann 1998: 63-65, figs. 4.6, 4.7; Westerberg 1983: 13, 81, no. 7, fig. 7

Deep and beamy crescentic hull that is broad amidships, with a flat topped incurving sheer. The bottom part of the hull is missing, which likely explains why no mast-socket recorded. Just below the gunwale (c. 1 cm below) is a row of evenly spaced horizontal holes running from stem to stem on either side (18 on each side). These are of even size and were pierced prior to firing. The stems project c. 5 cm above the gunwale. One of the stems (likely the stern) has two tall, narrow inward-curving prongs. Below them about 3.5 cm below the gunwale inside the hull is a narrow transverse molded beam or thwart (6 cm long, 1.5 cm wide). At either side roughly amidships (4.5 cm below the gunwale) is a horizontal ledge (2 cm wide, 1.5 cm projection from hull) pierced by a vertical hole. This feature may have served as support for a mast thwart. Wachsmann has argued that the bifurcation of the sternpost was meant to receive a single steering oar that rested on a stanchion. A good parallel for such a steering apparatus placed over the sternpost comes from Egyptian riverine craft, from the First intermediate period and throughout the second millennium B.C.(Wachsmann 1998: 64; Cf. Carbillet 2011)

Site: The tomb was excavated by a British Museum team in 1897. Walters lists 26 tombs for Site A (Maroni Tsaroukkas) although he reports that many other tombs were opened but were deemed uninteresting due to the fact they contained predominantly local wares. A re-examination of the site during the 1990s shows that the records of the early excavations were not comprehensive, with many objects considered not worthy of mention and preservation. The most notable omissions are skeletal remains, information on tomb size and architecture, as well as locally made pottery. Some 500 m from Tsaroukkas, the site of Maroni-Vournes boasted an ashlar built complex (late 14th-13th centuries B.C.) that was used for a mixture of storage and manufacturing with administrative as well as possibly ceremonial functions. Adjacent to it was a building that served as a large storage magazine, while traces of a similar ashlar building was located at Aspres further to the west. This indicates a large-scale centralized control of agricultural products in the Maroni area.

In addition, an underwater survey revealed a likely sheltered anchorage or inlet immediately off the coast of Tsatoukkas. The cultural remains recovered there date predominantly to the LBA, and include over 45 stone anchors (both one holed and three holed composite type) as well as an important ceramic assemblage that included at least 6 Canaanite jars (late MBA) and late MC/LC sherds. Additional imported pottery from the buildings at the coastal site includes a few Minoan pithoid jars, Egyptian amphorae, and large quantities of Canaanite jars. Luxury items were also noted, such as a glass kohl bottle, an LC seal and a faience scarab. The importance of the cemetery itself, located on a low cliff overlooking the key liminal area of the seashore and anchorage, is indicated by the abundance of imported goods of both Mycenaean and Eastern origin. The overall chronological span appears to be from the 15th to the 13th century. Walters' listing of only 26 tombs that contained imports and valuable objects points towards the existence of an elite group engaged in overseas trade, showcasing these contacts both through imports and imitations. The considerable body of Mycenaean imports ranges in date from LH II A to LH III B, with most being LH III A. Overall, the assemblage is typical of 14th century imports found at sites throughout Cyprus. The most common shape is the amphoroid krater (some with decorated chariot scenes). The overwhelming majority of this assemblage comes from tomb contexts. These were complemented by LC finewares restricted to shaped associated with drinking.

Tomb: Only three items are recorded, ranging from LC I to II in date. In addition to the boat model, a terracotta bull figurine is mentioned.

Basch, L. 1987. Le musée imaginaire de la marine antique. Athens: Institut Hellénique pour la preservation de la tradition nautique.

Carbillet, A. 2011. “Naviguer vers l’éternité. Les modèles de bateau en terre cuite chypriotes et leur association à la navigation eschatologique,” CCEC 41: 223-238.

Göttlicher, A. 1977. Materialien für ein Korpus der Schiffsmodelle im Altertum. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern.

Gray, D. 1974, Seewesen. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht.

Johnson, J. 1980. Maroni de Chypre. Göteborg: P. Åström.

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

Wachsmann, S. 1998. Seagoing Ships & Seamanship in the Bronze Age Levant. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press.

Westerberg, K. 1983. Cypriote Ships from the Bronze Age to c. 500 B.C. (SIMA, Pocket-books, 22). Göteborg: P. Åströms förlag.

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