5. Ship

It’s hard to miss this cut-away view into the hold of an 8th century BC Phoenician cargo ship. The long-distance transportation of trade goods across the ocean was not without risk. The artifacts exhibited in our replica ship were recovered in 1999 from two shipwrecks off the coast of modern-day Israel. The sinking would have been a major loss. Ships themselves were valuable, and the cargo of wine would likely have brought a good profit if it had arrived at its destination. Of course, there was also the tragic fate of the crew, who probably went down with their ships.

One poignant reminder of the tragedy is the discovery of the incense burner exhibited here. This hand-held chalice was used for the offering of aromatics like frankincense to the maritime gods. A 14th century BC Egyptian wall painting from the tomb of Kenamun shows just such a chalice in the hands of a ship’s captain as he gives thanks to the gods for a successful journey. Clearly though, the gods did not protect the owner of our incense burner. Look carefully at what’s inside this ship and you may find an unwanted stowaway—one that probably carried its own cargo—fleas.

Your next stop is #6, located in the section marked “Language of Trade”.