60ft ship to be rebuilt by Mary Rose team

The most complete ancient Greek ship ever found has arrived in Portsmouth to be rebuilt by the Mary Rose Trust.

The timbers of the 2,500-year-old Greek trading vessel have arrived at the Mary Rose Centre for what is expected to be a 10-year programme of preservation and reconstruction.

The 60-ft ship will be pieced back together by marine archaeologists. After being discovered in silt off the coast of Sicily, the 700 sodden timbers were submerged in water-soluble wax for four years, in a process similar to that used to conserve the hull of the Mary Rose. They were then freeze-dried in a huge vacuum chamber and are now ready to be reassembled.

Archaeologists believe the craft was heading for Gela, then a Greek colony, when it was caught in a storm and sank with its cargo. Discovered in 1988 about 800 metres from the coastline off the city of Gela in Sicily, the ship dates to between 500 and 430 BC.

It was found in several layers of silt at a depth of five metres (16 feet), but wasn’t excavated until summer 2004 when some 700 timbers and fragments were raised to the surface.