The Phoenician ship of Mazarrón, the most complete ancient ship found in the Mediterranean

To be exact, there are two Phoenician ships found on the coast of Mazarrón in Murcia. The first was discovered in 1988 about 50 meters from the shore and two and a half meters deep on Playa de la Isla.

Only the keel and remains of four frames and some fragments of strakes remained, all covered with a layer of dead oceanic poseidonia that contributed to its conservation. Along with the remains of the ship, more than 8,000 ceramic pieces of all kinds such as amphorae, plates, glasses, etc., appeared. and even fragments of metallic weapons.

This ship was excavated, extracted and restored, and today it is exhibited in the National Museum of Underwater Archeology in Cartagena.

Remains of Mazarrón I / photo Public domain in Wikimedia Commons

But the most important discovery was made up of the second ship, whose discovery took place in 1998 and which up to now is considered to be the most complete ancient ship found in the Mediterranean. Since then older wrecks have appeared, but none with the degree of conservation of the so-called boat Mazarron II.

It is almost complete from bow to stern, with a length of 8.10 meters and a beam of 2.25. It presents almost all the frames and the vegetable fiber with which they were sewn and with which the joints of the hull were caulked.

El Mazarrón II / photo Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport

All the elements retain their original position and curvature, and since the year it was found it has been kept in the same place it was discovered, underwater and protected by a metal sarcophagus covered in sand.

Abundant fragments of pottery, a hand mill, animal bones and even the anchor have also been recovered from it, in perfect condition, and the first of its kind. of cane, stocks and nails to be discovered in the world.

Both ships, which were built with cypress, Aleppo pine, fig and olive wood, are dated to the second half of the 7th century BC.

Its main cargo, which has been almost completely preserved in the almost 3 tons of the Mazarron IIwere blocks of litharge (lead monoxide), a mineral used to separate silver.

El Mazarrón II / photo Video of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports

This is generally found in nature combined with other metals, and smelting and cupellation with lead ores is necessary to obtain it.

At the end of 2015, the archaeological commission that studies the ship decided to bring it to the surface in 2017 to treat it and preserve it for its public exhibition in a museum. as close as possible to the place of the shipwreck.

Sarcophagus of Mazarrón II / photo Video of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports

Previously, it was agreed to carry out a comprehensive study that includes a geophysical survey and the corresponding immersions with soundings. However, we have not been able to find information about the start of the project as of today.

Apart from the remains of Mazarron I that can be visited in the National Museum of Underwater Archeology of Cartagena, in Mazarrón itself an Interpretation Center has been opened, located on Avenida Tierno Galván, with information panels about the wreck, models and graphic material, as well as a reproduction of the Mazarron II.

It can be visited from Wednesday to Saturday between 10 in the morning and 8 in the afternoon.


Mazarrón Bay / La Verdad / National Museum of Underwater Archeology / Wikipedia.