Ship of Thira (Santorini)
In the second millennium b.C. the shipyard presents exceptional interest. The wall paintings of Thira (Santorini) illustrate fleet of ships, whose characteristics indicate their Minoan origin. The shape of these vessels has the form of crescent, which is the main characteristic of ships’ representations on Minoan seals.
According to the findings of the researchers, these ships were larger than 30 meters and had 18-21 pairs of paddles. Approximately in the middle of the ship was a mast with a large square sail over it. According to researchers’ estimations, the mast was coming down and was based on fork columns, keeping it in horizontal position. Its length was about four times bigger than its depth, until the top rigging of the shrouds.
Another feature of the ships of that era was the cabin of the stern, in which the commander or other honoree was sitting. According to prevailing theories so far, this cab has Egyptian roots. However, according to two subsequent independent researches, the eruption of the volcano of Thira, which destroyed the Minoan civilization, was a century earlier, thus the addendum of stern’s cabin, began in Minoan times and transferred to Egypt.
Most of the deck was covered by a roof, protecting the occupants from sun and rain. At the bow there was long antenna, probably used for fastening and for the anchoring in bottomless and small bays.
In the stern there was probably movable, triangular termination and there have been many discussions for its usefulness. It seems however that it was movable bridge with a small wheel at the tip, which was used during boarding and disembarkation.