Ancient Mediterranean

Digital Project

Ship model

Cat. No.



LH IIIA-B (1420/10-1200-1190)


Tanagra, tomb 19 (child)


L: 12 cm; W: 3-4 cm; H (bow): 3-3.5 cm


Clay model, pale cream almost yellowish slip, orange-brown paint. Starboard side broken and mended

Accession Number

Thebes Archaeological Museum


Basch 1987: 141, fig.293.1; Demakopoulou and Konsola 1981: 87, Case 8 bottom shelf; Wachsmann 1998: 148-49, fig.7.39; Wedde 2000: 311, no. 319

The hull is roughly made, with an irregular keel line and gunwale and curving pointed extremities. The posts are too similar to distinguish bow from stern. The inside has a painted keel line and thirteen ribs. Occupying the central area of the hull on the outside is a painted horizontal ladder, comprised of two horizontal parallel lines – one along the gunwale, the other a third of the height down – joined by 28 short vertical lines As on pictorial pottery, Wachsmann has argued that this motif represents an open rower's gallery with vertical stanchions. In this scenario, the 27 rower's 'rooms' are likely an approximation of a penteconter. Wedde however classifies this model as the Minoan Type IV ship, highlighting the difficulties in reading. There are seven irregular semi-circles on the keel line, and a line encircling the post at the right end.

From a large chamber tomb cemetery with over a hundred burials spanning from LH IIIA1 to early LH IIIC.

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

Demakopoulou, K. and D. Konsola. 1981. Archaeological Museum of Thebes. Guide. Athens: General Direction of Antiquities and Restoration.

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

Wedde, M. 2000. Towards a Hermeneutics of Aegean Bronze Age Ship Imagery. Peleus Studien zur Archäologie und Geschichte Griechenlands und Zyperns, vol. 6. Bibliopolis: Mannheim and Möhnsee.

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