Image 1 of 0

The military and political events on Cyprus in the summer of 1974, however, brought all of this growth and potential to an unexpected halt. Many members of Katzev’s team left the island due to the presence of military forces, and Michael and Susan stayed only until the end of 1975. Following their departure, interaction with the collection was intermittent, whereas research was confined to the information that could be gleaned from the team’s extensive documentation of the artifacts. Some of the excavation’s key publications appeared during this period, such as Steffy’s detailed reports on the hull in the American Journal of Archaeology in 1985 and among the Tropis papers in 1989. Perhaps the most significant contribution, however, was a recreation of the ship, named Kyrenia II, built in the Manolis Psaros shipyard between 1982 and 1985 and sponsored by the Hellenic Institute for the Preservation of Nautical Tradition and the Institute of Nautical Archaeology. Assembled in the same manner as the original vessel with pegged mortise-and-tenon joints, partially loaded with replicas of the amphorae and driven by a linen sail, this vessel was the first opportunity for scholars to experience life on board an ancient merchantman, and to test a variety of theories related to its performance.
Image9

After departing the Piraeus harbor in 1986 with captain Glafkos Cariolou at the helm,
Kyrenia II completed its first voyage to Cyprus after 25 days at sea, landing at Paphos on September 30th. The ship completed the return trip the following year, departing Paphos on April 8th and, as ancient authors warned sailors voyaging in the Spring, it encountered storms along the way. On April 12th, Kyrenia II encountered winds gusting up to 50 knots (over 55 miles per hour) and, throughout the day, the ship averaged almost 6 knots; at best, the ship reached 12 knots. Kyrenia II met a similar storm three days later, resulting in a slightly better average speed of 7 knots, but also leading to unexpected repairs. After midnight, the intense winds and waves broke the port quarter rudder, while the stress of trimming the sail tore off many of the brailing rings attached to its surface. Despite repairs in Astipalaia, the rudder broke a second time - necessitating temporary repairs under sail - and a stay in Syros. On April 26th, Kyrenia II arrived in Zea Harbor, Athens, after 19 days at sea.

These journeys tested more than the resilience and speed of the vessel, however. Despite the storms, the voyage demonstrated that ancient merchantmen could sail westwards during the winter sailing season, and that four crew members and a captain could live aboard, handle the ship and sail it at night. The 35 replica amphorae stowed in the hold did not shift during the poor weather, demonstrating both the stability of the vessel and an ideal manner of stowage, while very little water washed into the hold despite the conditions. Lastly, the voyage demonstrated that the ship could sail much closer to the wind than expected. Modern yachts with fore-and-aft sails may sail from 40 to 50 degrees off the true wind direction;
Kyrenia II, despite its anachronistic square sail, could sail approximately 60 degrees off the true wind direction demonstrating that ancient craft were much more maneuverable, and their choices of ports and routes were much more varying, than previously suspected by scholars.

In addition to these scientific voyages,
Kyrenia II also represented the country of Greece in the Tall Ships Parade in New York city in July, 1986, and is now a museum object itself in the Thalassa Museum in Agia Napa, Cyprus. Two other replicas of the ship have been constructed, the last of which - Kerynea Liberty - still sails off the coast of Paphos, Cyprus, and which has been used for additional archaeological research.



© 2012 Matthew Harpster