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Ancient Merchant Networks


A recreated ancient Egyptian ship

Recently while updating his book, Our Common African Genesis (see below), US author Larry West began to ponder something he had not much considered in earlier years. He began to wonder about the ancient Mediterranean world, and apart from known human migration patterns, about patterns of movement on seas. What might they have been? We are not here reporting on his book, which is about quite other topics in ancient history, just on his latest ponderings and notes on matters maritime. - Ed

Arrow graphicOn 13-9-2012: Upload of something unexpected for this website, for the use of anyone interested: By way of a few remarks on ancient maritime history (Ancient Egypt) from a contributor in Texas, USA, Larry West, author of Our Common African Genesis. West here with a 16-page PDF file makes his third major attempt to explain his views on the African genesis of humanity´s fondness for Civilization, and has some views on the ancient Egyptian use of shipping and trade as part of his argument. You can download his PDF file from a link here.

Ancient Maritime Trade

Shipbuilding was known to the Ancient Egyptians as early as 3000BC, and perhaps earlier. Ancient Egyptians knew how to assemble planks of wood into a ship hull, with woven straps used to lash the planks together, and reeds or grass stuffed between the planks helped to seal the seams. The Archaeological Institute of America reports that the earliest dated ship, 75 feet long, dating to 3000BC, may have possibly belonged to Pharaoh Aha.

Among the Amarna letters (1338-1332BC) was a request to the King of Cyprus to construct ships for the Egyptian navy.

These letters consisted of cuneiform tablets mostly written in Akkadian - the regional language of diplomacy for this period.

The earliest possible date for this correspondence is the final decade of the reign of Amenhotep III, who ruled from 1388 to 1351BC. The latest date any of these letters were written is the date for the desertion of the city of Amarna, commonly believed to have happened in the second year of the reign of Tutankhamen later in the same century in 1332BC

[Why was Amarna deserted? It was the City of Akhetaten (The Horizon of the Aten), built c.1353-1346BC by the Heretic Pharoah, Akhenaten. As a new capital it was short-lived when traditionally-minded Egyptian priests confronted this heretical new religion, Atenism. (It was about 312km south of Cairo.) Atenism lasted only 20 years as an official (Pharoah-backed) religion in Egypt. (See www.amarnaproject.com/ plus a wikipedia page on Atenism.)]

Arrow graphic See also: T. E. Peet and C. L. Wolley, The City of Ahkenaten. Part 1. Excavations of 1921 and 1922 at El-Amarneh. London, Egypt Exploration Society, 1923.

Larry West says: I feel, that there is still too-little solid evidence about this ancient maritime history. Besides the shipwreck and data from other digs, plus pictures, the most/best documented evidence comes from the voluminous tablets at Ugarit. Indeed, Ugarit appears to have been a Trade Emporium where ships came in with orders that were filled from the goods stockpiled there. Quite interesting. The ports were all connected to overland trade routes. It had become an Age of the Middle Man. The trade networks had been in place in Neolithic times, with unique goods from their areas of origination found thousands of miles away. Egyptian wealth is discernible in all of the sources and at the sites, and contacts were regular and often. I can easily imagine a brotherhood of mariners that would meet now and then at different ports. (Some of the matters West is referring to here are alluded to further below - Ed.)

Gebel el-Arak knife

Inspect the Gebel el-Arak knife on the left.
c.3500BC? Images in the lower left show a naval battle
in a stylized way.

Larry goes on, I went net surfing (September 2012) and found a great deal of materials on the subjects and have copied snippets for a webpage. It appears that the Bronze Age was facilitated by immigrants set moving by the Sahara desertification, and/or the use of shipping, and international trade. Cyprus shows up more and more. Translators and multinationals were on the ships, and just one shipwreck off the coast of Turkey yielded a lot. I also caught some references about Egypt buying boats from Byblos and Cyprus ...

Dating matters as early as 3500BC?

The Gebel el-Arak Knife

Gebel el-Arak was south of Abydos, about 3300-3200BC. The knife depicted may have been made from hippopotamus teeth.

Item: Excavations at an ancient Egyptian shipyard have unearthed remains of the world’s oldest seafaring ships. Some 4,000-year-old timbers were found alongside equally ancient cargo boxes, anchors, coils of rope and other naval materials just as old, at what archaeologists are calling a kind of ancient military administration site.

On the Nile, The Egyptian elite was using ceremonial boats by 2280BC if not before. Early Egyptian fishing boats used a sickle-shaped hull and were perhaps partly-made of reeds.

Today, the tomb of the female Phoaroah, Hatshepsut, is found deep in the dry Egyptian desert. She is associated with an obelisk at Karnack and a funerary temple at Deir -el-Bahri. But she once made an expedition to Punt, possibly to negotiate about trade with a view to cutting out the middleman. It is now regarded as one of first oceanographic expeditions recorded by any art history. (And one wonders afresh, of course, about the derivation of the old name for the camel, as, The Ship Of The Desert.)

Punt was also known as God´s Land. Scholars since the 1850s have remained puzzled as to just where it was, but it offered incense, myrrh, ebony wood and gold, electrum (a natural alloy of gold and silver). One view is that Punt could also be reached, finally, by moving upriver on the Nile. The suggestion then is that it could be reached either up the Nile or by sailing down the Red Sea. Another view is that Punt was, more or less, Arabia. Artefacts from Hatshepsut´s time point to African animals such as giraffe and rhonoceros. Yet another view could be that ¨Punt¨ was anywhere coastal, not of Egypt, that was worth trading with. Meaning, Punt might have been anywhere abroad.

Recreating an ancient ship

The history of the Aegean ships and naval trades does not have a concrete point of beginning. Its roots are lost in the depths of centuries of the history of mankind.

See also, egyptexperience.wordpress.com

DR. CHERYL WARD, a maritime archaeologist, recreated an Egyptian ship of these old times, around 3,800 years ago, using traditional materials and local craftsmen. (She is lately an associate professor of History and a maritime archaeologist and Coastal Carolina University, Centre for Archaeology and Anthropology, and has particular interests in oldest boats and ships). And one of her webpages supposes that Egyptians had been blue-water sailing for up to 1000 years before 2500BC. Also that Egyptian society relied heavily on boats and maritime travel. One factor was the transport of large stone monumental objects.

Min of the Desert arose as a reconstruction of an ancient sea-going ship of the first quarter of the second millennium BC. It was built in the modern shipyards of Hamdi Lahma and Brothers at Rashid (Rosetta), Egypt, costs met by a French production company.) The reconstruction is hypothetical as no useful models exist for a workable boat, although some sketchy ancient designs were consulted, such as one from the time of Amenhotep II. There are also shapes known from the Punt ships of the temple of Hapshetsut. The resulting new ship used 120-year-old Douglas fir timber similar to cedar from Lebanon. Much work was done by hand tools but some modern tools were used (eg, electrical band saw).

Min of the Desert was 20 metres (66 feet) long and 16 feet (five metres) wide. Its cargo capacity was about 17 tons and it displaced nearly 30 tons of water.

The team succeeded in launching her and navigating down the Red Sea for a considerable way, and a remarkable journey. Sometime later, she was sailed south from Safaga toward Sudan along a route actually used by Egyptians.

Cheryl Ward book on Levant seagoing ships

Min of the Desert.

Excavations at an ancient Egyptian shipyard have unearthed remains of the world’s oldest seafaring ships. The 4,000-year-old timbers were found alongside equally ancient cargo boxes, anchors, coils of rope and other naval materials just as old, at what archaeologists are calling a kind of ancient military administration site.

CHERYL WARD, a maritime archaeologist, some years ago recreated an Egyptian ship of these old times, around 3,800 years ago, using traditional materials and local craftsmen. They succeeded in launching her and navigating down the Red Sea for a considerable way, and a remarkable journey. (Full story here).

By October 2008, the 66-foot-long by 16-foot-wide ship, which Ward dubbed the Min of the Desert, was completed using the techniques of the ancient Egyptians - no frames, no nails, and planks that were designed to fit together like the pieces of a puzzle.

Tools made of Melian obsidian (volcanic glass) also found on Crete (Knossos) and on Cyprus, substantiate the existence of sea routes in the Aegean from the Early till the Final Neolithic (6800-3200 BC).

The earliest shipwreck so far discovered dated around 2200 BC has been found near the island of Dokos at the entrance of the Argolikos Kolpos gulf. This ship was carrying many ceramic objects dated around 2700-2200 BC coming from different Peloponnesian areas.

The ship’s cargo is listed below and was stowed as shown in the figure(s) given.

By October 2008, the 66-foot-long by 16-foot-wide ship, which Ward dubbed the Min of the Desert, was completed using the techniques of the ancient Egyptians -- no frames, no nails and planks that were designed to fit together like the pieces of a puzzle.

The crew was surprised at how fast the ship was able to travel -- approximately 6 knots, or 7 mph.

The now-famous Uluburun wreck

The Uluburun wreck

The Uluburun wreck.

The Uluburun wreck is located at Uluburun, which is on the southwestern coast of Turkey near Kas. The wreck is located at a depth of more than 40 meters. The ship has been dated to the Late Bronze Age, with the more specific date of c.1300BC.

The cargo included nearly a ton of tin ingots (to be used for the alloy with copper known as Bronze) and around ten tons of copper ingots from Cyprus. Other cargo finds included elephant and hippopotamus ivory and glass ingots plus bronze tools and weaponry.

(If the copper probably came from Cyprus, where did the tin come from? Larry West suspects, that it came from a mine somewhat north of Ugarit. Which would have meant, that mined tin found a market at the then-equivalent of an international entrepot port.)

Amongst the weaponry were: arrowheads, spearheads, maces, daggers, lugged shaft-hole axe, four swords of different types. Amongst the tools were sickles, awls, drill bits, a saw, tongs, chisels, axes, a ploughare, whetstones and adzes. Also part of cargo were different sorts of Late Bronze Age weights.

Food items found included: almonds, pine nuts, figs, olives, grapes, safflower, black cumin, sumac, coriander, whole pomegranates, and some charred wheat and barley.

NB: See Wikipedia: Uluburun shipwreck.

Larry West reports: On Uluburun Artifacts (detailed list with links to pictures), see: sara.theellisschool.org/shipwreck/artifacts.html

As a general matter, artefacts found with the remains of an ancient ship can nevetheless give only patchy information on ancient life. (See articles on a wide variety ancient shipping at www.artsales.com). Some of the earliest historic records of seafaring (blue-water) ships can be found on Neolithic depictions (rock art) found in the eastern Egyptian desert for the period 4500-3100BC. (The Maqada period of Egyptian pre-history.)

This desert area is between the Nile River and the coasts of the Red Sea. Shipping remains ¨a silent witness¨ to much ancient Egyptian history, but it seems likely that ships to or from Egypt sailed as far as the Persian Gulf and the Euphrates River (Mesopotamia).

Evidence of a double-ruddered sailing vessel has been dated about 3100BC.

Replica of the Uluburun wreck

Uluburun II:
Replica of the LBA Uluburun
shipwreck. Experimental Archaeology
Project. (Photo by Murat Akar.)

Chemical analyses of the copper and tin were conducted in order to determine the origin. The conclusion of the lead-Isotope tests on the copper pointed to Cyprus. The tests on the tin, however, showed only the exclusion of an eastern European, Cornish or Spanish origin. (An in-depth search finds nothing. It must have been the most valuable commodity on the ship.)

Aboard the Uluburun wreck were artifacts representing cultures in the Mediterranean from areas such as Cyprus, Canaan, Israel, Arabia, tropical Africa, Syria, Palestine, Mycenae, Egypt, Old Babylon and Syria. The combination and variety of contents on the wreck depict a diverse trade industry. The cultures were mixing socially, or at least commercially, as shown by the relics of two Mycenaean travelers on board the ship in addition to the Syrian-Palestinian crew.

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Ulurubun cargo

Ulurubun cargo.

Uluburun Cargo

This cargo consisted of: Copper and tin ingots Raw copper cargo totalling ten tons, consisting of a total of 354 ingots of the oxhide shape

Ingots in oxhide shape

Ingots cast in
an oxhide shape
for transport.

Approximately 175 glass ingots of cobalt blue turquoise and lavender were found (earliest intact glass ingots known). The chemical composition of cobalt blue glass ingots matches those of contemporary Egyptian core-formed vessels and Mycenaean pendant beads, which suggests a common source.

At least 149 Canaanite jars (widely found in Greece, Cyprus, Syria-Palestine, and Egypt). Jars are categorized as the northern type and were most likely made somewhere in the northern part of modern-day Israel. One jar filled with glass beads, many were filled with olives, but the majority contained a substance known as Pistacia (terebinth) resin.

More on an ancient cargo

A wikipedia page on the Uluburun shipwreck indicates that the wreck was first discovered in 1982 by a local sponge diver, Mehmed Cakir, who shortly sketched some ¨metal biscuits with ears¨, that is, ingots case in an oxhide shape, oxhide ingots.

Later, several caches of copper ingots were found. Artefacts from the wreck, which seem to have been a matter of royal gift-giving, had their origins in Northern Europe to Africa, as far west as Sicily and as far east as Mesopotamia.

The vessel had been made with cedar from Lebanon plus oak tenons, with the ¨shell-first¨ method, using mortoise-and-tenon joints and no frame, methods later used to built ships of the Graeco-Roman period.

It had 24 stone anchors aboard, the stone apparently similar to that used for the temples of Syria-Laestine and on Cyprus, but not known in the Aegean Sea.

Gold scarab

Gold scarab.

Also included in cargo were: Logs of blackwood from Africa (referred to as ebony by the Egyptians)

Ivory in the form of whole and partial elephant tusks.

More than a dozen hippopotamus teeth

Tortoise carapaces (upper shells)

Murex opercula (possible ingredient for incense)

Ostrich eggshells

Cypriot pottery

Cypriot oil lamps

Bronze and copper vessels (four faience drinking cups shaped as rams heads and one shaped as a woman’s head)
(Faience is an English name from the French for fine tin-glazed pottery made of a delicate pale buff earthenware.)

Two duck-shaped ivory cosmetics boxes

Ivory cosmetics or unguent spoon


More than two dozen sea-shell rings

Glass ingots

Glass ingots.

Beads of amber (Baltic origin)







It also carried:

A collection of usable and scrap gold and silver Canaanite jewellery

Biconical chalice (largest gold object found from the wreck)

Egyptian objects of gold, electrum, silver, and steatite (soap stone)

Gold scarab inscribed with the name of Nefertiti

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Book on Levant seagoing ships

This large stone anchor weighing
approx. 220 kg. was one of
24 recovered from the Uluburun wreck.
(Picture sent by Larry West)

On the Uluburun wreck, see online, Cemal Pulak, ´The Uluburun Shipwreck: an overview¨, The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 1998, 27.3, pp. 188-224. Article No. na9890164. Pulak is with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University, Texas, USA. Indicating that the wreck, about 15-16m etres long, was found in 1984. Works on its remains have been regularly reported in journal articles, eg., 1986 by Bass, 1988 by Pulak, 1989 by Bass. Excavation work continued till 1994. A Late Bronze Age shipwreck circa 1300BC found about 6 miles due south-east of Kas, south-western Turkey, off Uluburun, (Grand Cape). The wreck was only about 60m-70m off the east face of Uluburun and 400m from the tip of the cape.

Divers have made about 22,413 trips to the site, to a depth of 42m-61m, taking about 6,613 hours to work. Ecavated have been ¨one of the most spectacular Late Bonze Age assemblages ever to have been found in the Mediterranean region. The shipwreck is in an area long known for its maritime hazards, and in 1960 a Late Bronze Age shipwreck was found to date at about 1200BC, by a team lead by George F. Bass from Pennsylvania University and work on it provided great practice for later nautical archaeological work.

Research on the wreck has involved some small animals species, such as house mice (Mus musculus domesticus) which have been found as stoaways, and were seemingly from Syria, and a suggestion is that the ship had been to the serviciing port of Ugarit (Minet el Beida). It may have been heading for Cyprus when it struck trouble, and that its final destination was Rhodes, which was then a noted redistribution centre.

Arrow graphic See also: Cemal Pulak, ´Discovering a Royal Ship from the Age of King Tut: Uluburun, Turkey´, in George F. Bass, (Ed.,) Beneath The Seven Seas, New York, Thames and Hudson, 2005.

Robert Payton, ´The Ulu Burun Writing-Board Set´, Anatolian Studies, Vol. 41, 1991, pp. 99-106.

Cheryl Ward, ´Pomegranates in Eastern Mediterranean Contexts during the Late Bronze Age´, World Archaeology, Vol. 34, No. 3, February 2003, pp. 529-541.

On sources of tin

On sources of tin? Larry west finds that:

Wikipedia: “K. Aslihan Yener”: In 1987 cassiterite (tin ore) crystals in a stream in the Taurus foothills were found by geologists. The teams she researched an Early Bronze Age mine called Kestel that proved to hold a tin mine. Inside, there were veins of bright purple tin ore. The Kestel mine has two miles (3 km) of tunnels.

In 1989, on a hill opposite the mine, Bronze Age pottery, an estimated 50,000 ground stone tools, and evidence that this site had been continuously occupied from 3290 BC-1840 BC. The pottery at the site, named Göltepe, provided the final proof of the tin industry in the Bronze Age. Many thick crucibles, lined with slag were found at the site and tests revealed the slag to have very high concentrations of tin, 30% to almost 100%. It is likely that after the ore nuggets were washed, stone tools were used to grind them to a powder, and then the powder was smelted to obtain the tin metal. All of this can be accomplished with Bronze Age tools and methods.

In 1993, Yener had found enough evidence to state that tin mining in Anatolia was "a fully developed industry with specialization of work" by 2870 BC around the beginning of the Bronze Age. This meant that trade in the Bronze Age was probably more complicated than had been thought, as competition for tin existed (and other sources of tin were a long way off, eg., Cornwall by the coast of south-west England).

Levant seagoing ship design

Because of the intensive commercial trade between
the Aegean population and the Near Eastern Kingdoms
some of the early Aegean ships show several similarities
in general shape and design with the Egyptian ships
of the same period, as well attested in this Aegean vase
dated around 1700BC.

Aegean Trade Routes

The Uluburun wreck cargo came from different locations, as we see from a possible route for the ship´s voyage:

The trade routes used in the Aegean region in the Late Bronze period are thought to have been quite complex, linking ¨a few mighty empires¨ and many small nation-states. The western Mediterranean boasted the settlements of Italy, Sicily and Sardinia. The people of Cyprus were already known as Cypriots. The Eastern Mediterranean was dominated by the 18th-20th Egyptian dynasties, the Hittites of Central Anatolia, the Babylonians and Assyrians of Mesopotamica, plus the people of Syria-Palestine. The Aegean was the domain of the Mycenaeans of mainland Greece and the Minoans of Crete. Trade embargoes on less-dominant people were not unknown.

In general, the Aegean, as a notable region of the Later Bronze Age, as a body of water, is taken to have included waters about Greece, Asia Minor and the Aegean Islands. Or, an arm of the Mediterranean between Greece and Turkey, and as such a major trading route for Greece, Rome, Crete (Minoans) and Persia. Or, perhaps as an elongated embayment located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas. To the north it is connected to the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea by the Dardenelles and the Bosporus. Islands included Crete and Rhodes, Kythera, Antikythera, Kasos, Karpathos. The Aegean islands are divided into seven groups. Including in the naming are many gulfs. The Aegean is said to have been named for the Greek town of Aegae, or, after the Queen of the Amazons, Aegea. Or, after the ¨sea goat¨, Aigaion. Some opinions are that the Aegean region gave a home to the first known appearances of democracies in the known world. It may be important to note that most parts of areas of the Aegean were probably no more than 150km from the sea.

The present-day coastlines date from about 4000BC. About 16,000 years ago, at the peak of the Ice Age, sea levels were up to 130 metres lower. In the area, obsidian was found at Milos, which at some point was not disconnected from the mainland. The Aegean also included the island of Thera, or Santorini, part of the island group Cyclades, which about 3600 years ago (about 1500BC or by radiocarbon datings, about 1645-1600BC) exploded volcanically and with extraordinary violence, the Thera eruption, sometimes also called The Minoan Eruption. It is thought that the eruption contributed to the demise of the Minoan civilization, and the settlements of Thera were Minoan in character. One major settlement was Akrotiri, excavated from 1967, at one time a major port. Therans used looms and wove textiles for export. Their imports included objects from Anatolia, Cyprus, Syria, Egypt and the Greek mainland.

Thera is today classified as having a hot desert climate. After its demise as a Minoan centre, Greeks occupied Thera for the rest of the Bronze Age.

The Hittites were based in the interior of Anatolia-Turkey, and their Great King resided at Hattusa near the Kizhrmak River. (See Aramco World, Sepember-October, 1994.) It was in about his time that the Egyptians (New Kingdom Pharoahs) were building temples at Luxor, Karnak and Abu Simbel. Writing was used for administrative work.

Uluburun route

Sources of some cargo and a hypothetical Uluburun route.

What of Troy?

What of the famous city of Troy, so buried in all of poetry, history and legend as it is? It had walls up to seven metres (about 22 feet) thick. It is not impossible that the fall of Troy to the Greeks coincided with the strange period known as the time of the Sea People, invaders from about 1208BC from the seas who bothered as important a power as the Egyptians. Attacks from the Sea People came apparently out of nowhere and had no obvious motive, yet they were bothersome. Did they lead to the demise of power structures during the Late Bronze Age? Scholars are still unsure if they were the cause or the effect of collapses of power, or whether they were conquerors, pirates, deserters or refugees?

The Hittites were attacked at their capital at Hattusa in Turkey, but their enemy there may have been their usual neighbour, the Kashka. One view is that their neighbours to their west had allied against them.

Tactically, the Sea People mostly attacked government buildings, palaces and temples, leaving residential areas and the countryside mostly untouched. (This may also acted as a protection of resources likely to be found valuable for future commerce, once war was over?) Their attacks moved south, into Ugarit, Anataolia, Syria and Palestine. But not even the final fate of the Sea People is known, whatever their motives.

It has even been suggested that Troy, a powerful enough city to confront 10,000 of the Greek army, might have become aggressive enough to bother both Greece and Egypt. Could the Sea People have been Troy and its allies, rampaging about the Eastern Mediterranean? Such a theory assumes that allies of Troy would have been poeple from around the Aegean who might otherwise have been allies of Greek rulers.

Troy at some time had enjoyed control of some Aegean islands and the trade route (Bosphorus) from the Dardanelles into the Black Sea. Meantime, as Minoan power on Crete had waned, and kings on mainland Greece had adopted Minoan forms of rule, took over Crete´s former role with metal trades. Both Troy and mainland Greece were at their peak-power-period between 1375BC and 1250BC. Certainly long enough to foment a rivalry, more so if Greeks wanted to rove the Black Sea. But rivalries may have abounded? The Great King of Hatti (Eastern Anatolia) took control of the island so important to the Bronze Age, Cyprus and then employed trade embargoes on ports to bother trade between his rivals. This scenario might suggest that the sea People were Western Anatolians? (Plus allies from Kashka, who pillaged Hatti about 1190BC?) And if they did overwhlem the Hatti, the Western Anatolians (led by Troy, or allied with Troy?) had power from the Aegean south to Palestine, and a weakened Egypt could not stop them. So mainland Greece stepped into the fray (this view would date the Trojan War at about 1186BC). When Troy fell, it might not be surprising if Trojans and their allies, as losers, moved to areas such as Sicily, Sardinia, to the Estruscan lands, the Philistine area (Canaan?) and Thrace. (Some of the above is based on an online view of the Sea People as developed by German geo-archaeologist Eberhard Zangger, from his book, Ein neurer Kampf un Troia.)

Arrow graphic See also: E. H. Cline, ´Amenhotep II and the Aegean: A Reassessment of Egypto-Aegean Relations in the 14th Century BC´, Orientuliu, 56, (1J:1-36), 1981.

An Achaean ship

The Tragana pyxis offers a depiction of a Late Achaean ship from the Tragana tholos tomb near Pylos, dated about 1200BC. It is a long, lean ship with a low gunwale, swift-looking and narrow, according to a website. It was more a warship or used for piracy, than a merchantman. (Merchantmen were wider than warships and probably moved more sluggishly.) Sails were used only when the wind was in the right direction. In The Iliad, the Achaean ships are referred to as black, probably because their keels were tarred, but they might have been painted any colour anywhere else on the ship. (See www.salimbeti.com/)

Replica of an Achaean ship

An interesting and reasonable reconstruction
of the Achaean ship depicted in the Tragana pyxis
has been made by Peter Connoly. This heavy warship
had 50 oars and it is shown with both sails and oars.

Interestingly, it is thought by some that Achaean-style ships were used by the Sea Peoples. If so, this would mean that some of the Sea People were Philistines.

(It might be mentioned here that the movie Troy (starring Brad Pitt as Achilles, made in 2004, screenplay by David Benioff) seems to have been based on recent historical and archaeological research, at least for some facets of the movie, such as a secret passageway out of Troy for use by fleeing Trojans, losers to the Greeks. The emphasis is on human interactions, not on semi-magical interventions by the Gods as in the original Homeric poetry. On the other hand, many of the movie´s scenes show no grass to be seen anywhere, rather hard to believe, but which seems to be a way to highly-stylize various scene and plot developments, making things seem more stark.)

See also, Michael Ventris and John Chadwick, Documents in the Mycenaean Greek. Cambridge University Press, 1956.

For more detail, it is recommended that anyone interested netsurf on the Pylos-Tragana pyxis. Anyone doing so will shortly notice that websites encountered will move on to discuss not just warship design, but related warfare equipment, chariots, the use of horses, and otherwise, dsicussions of pottery, questions of dating settlements, or remains of settlements. And then, questions of artwork, or decoration.

Shipping of the Levant


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Papers Presented at the Conference held at Rewley House, Oxford, in December 1989, Edited by N.H. Gale

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A valuable book

Seagoing Ships and Seamanship in the Bronze Age Levant

By Shelley Wachsmann

During the Bronze Age, the ancient societies that ringed the Mediterranean, once mostly separate and isolate, began to reach across the great expanse of sea to conduct trade, marking an age of immense cultural growth and technological development. These inter-societal lines of communication and paths for commerce relied on rigorous open-water travel. And, as a potential superhighway, the Mediterranean demanded much in the way of seafaring knowledge and innovative ship design if it were to be successfully navigated.

In Seagoing Ships and Seamanship in the Bronze Age Levant, Shelley Wachsmann presents a one-of-a-kind comprehensive examination of how the early eastern Mediterranean cultures took to the sea--and how they evolved as a result. The author surveys the blue-water ships of the Egyptians, Syro-Canaanites, Cypriots, Early Bronze Age Aegeans, Minoans, Mycenaeans, and Sea Peoples, and discusses known Bronze Age shipwrecks. Relying on archaeological, ethnological, iconographic, and textual evidence, Wachsmann delivers a fascinating and intricate rendering of virtually every aspect of early sea travel--from ship construction and propulsion to war on the open water, piracy, and laws pertaining to conduct at sea.

Wachsmann book on Levant seagoing ships

From author Shelly Wachsmann

More from Larry West

Lost Worlds has lately (18 March 2009) had e-mail from US (East Texas) writer, Larry West, who is now promoting a new edition of his self-published book, which he has been working on since 2003 if not earlier. The book is Our Common African Genesis, and it's not a little explosive. For which Larry West makes no apology at all.

Our Common African Genesis, 2nd Edn, 2008-2009. Here, Larry West blows the lid off of 3000 years of racist Western history and religion, including pseudo-science about evolution and genetics, as only a white man might do from the inside.

Wanting always to pen the errata to three millennia of tribal animosity turned canon and curriculum, he turns the tables on the fraudulent 20th century history of the great Mediterranean White Race and exposes the literary genocide of the whole race of Cushites.

Sunset in Egypt (generic)
Generic sunset near pyramid of Egypt
Photo lifted from a book

A full chapter is devoted to the notorious publication, Not Out of Africa (Lefkowitz, 1996), its truths, its lies, and its intent, a late 20th century lynching by academia. Its billing as academic work is exposed as a smoke screen for its appeal to white popular belief in their white supremacy.

Its reviewers are also pilloried with the same derisiveness; unqualified praise and inflation of conflict from clueless reviewers exposes the sham as much as the essay itself. Were it not so tragic, their lame attack on Afrocentrism would be laughable. Recognizing what chronic liars are trying not to say helped break this case.

The Bible does not escape West's scrutiny as the animosity towards Ethiopians and the subsequent name-calling crept into our languages and thoughts, affecting everything we think and do.

He says In the finger pointing [that] the Hebrews used to rationalize the Exodus and Conquest, the Egyptians and Canaanites became the most maligned race in history. The racial profiling in the Old Testament is prima facie evidence of the race of the [Jewish] authors and it all continues unabated.

Black Christians' belief that Mary and Jesus were black is revealed as a remnant of the previous cult of the Egyptian Black Madonna whose temples covered the Greek and Roman empires. Those temples were ordered destroyed and Roman Christian churches were built in their place with a white Madonna presiding.

The Christian mythology goes back so far that we don't know its origins except for the ancient Ethiopian celebration of the Reborn Sun every year at Xmas under the constellations Virgo and the Stable with the Three Kings in the belt of Orion pointing to the Star of the East.

West says, "The Pope is seen as a remnant of Pharaoh but don't expect the Vatican to buy into that even though an obelisk to the Egyptian Jesus is smack in the middle of Vatican Square."

It took four tries to get Western Civilization off the ground, with three intervening Dark Ages, the Hebrew, Greek and Roman, all four grafted onto an Ethiopian rootstock, including the long tap root of the hybrid Hebrew and Christian religions.

The Levites, Alexander, Jesus, and Paul were all schooled in the Ethiopian mythologies and rituals.

Analysis of scientific work on Genetics traces the flow of Ethiopian genes into Canaan, Phoenicia, the Aegean, and on into Florence, Italy, implying their strong influence on, if not descent to, to the greatest thinkers of ancient Western Culture.

This scientific evidence alongside a mountain of circumstantial evidence and expert testimony should close the case for good.

The dark ¨Whites¨ whom Toynbee said started ten civilizations are the Ethiopians of Greek fame and the Cushites of the Bible. The Family of Ham coincides with findings from genetics.

The book is heavily referenced and indexed. In the apology at the end, the author wryly remarks that he tried to gore everyone's ox; if he left anyone out, he apologizes. The author is mindful of the Rules of Evidence and the Fallacies of Logic and apologizes for his failings in that vein.

Larry West takes no solace in recognizing the race and religion of every author he reads, a chronic side-effect of sixteen years of painful research into Our Common African Genesis.

Nubians of Egypt
Nubians depicted in Ancient Egypt
Nubians depicted in Ancient Egypt

Larry West - Biography

Price: $15.95 - Our Common African Genesis, 2nd Edition, by Larry West, traces the origins of modern humans and early civilization through genetics, linguistics, archeology, history, and the Books of Moses. The author contends that despite the widespread predominance of ancient Africans, they are persistently slandered in the Old Testament and, in turn, dismissed from modern history.

Writes the author, In the finger-pointing used, the Hebrews contrived to rationalize the Exodus and Conquest, the sins of the world were dumped on Egyptians and Canaanites making them the most maligned race in history.

Desecration of Our Common African Genesis continued unbelievably into the 20th century, historians deluding Egyptians were Caucasians, ranting that Africans developed no civilization, by 1996, babbling their history obscure, their Aegean influence NOT Out of Africa. This literary genocide swept an entire race of people from history, the pen a continuation of Joshua's swift sword, a psychopathic denial of the Nilotic gene flow north.

Introducing Larry West

Meantime, the webmaster of Merchant Networks Project has for several years been following the work of Larry West on ancient times ... e-mail exchanges have led to the production of this individual webpage.

Larry West in 2008
Writer Larry West in 2008
The author of Our Common African Genesis.

As the publicity has run ... Mr. West turns the tables on deniers-in-history ... Historians´ tales of the Mediterranean Caucasians are the most Afrocentric history in existence, quite opposite the intent. Educational, derisive, yet entertaining, Our Common African Genesis weighs energetically into heated dialogues about science, history, race, religion and religious heritage.

Larry West has been a laborer, musician, scientist, engineer, teacher, and author, wanting always to pen the errata to three millennia of tribal animosity turned into canon and curriculum.

In American terms, West comes "from deep country". He is the only son of a farm hand, and the second family member to finish high school, he nonetheless graduated from the universities of Illinois and Maryland. A lifelong disgust with the bigotry of religion led to Our Common African Genesis.

Says Larry West, "After forty years, I met the Children of Ham, re-assessed my own history, was shocked by the genocide and by religion's subliminal control, and academia's brazen goose-stepping."

He is married with two grown children and currently resides in East Texas.

To explain: The webmaster by 27 November 2003 had email from US writer Larry West who was then promoting the second edition of his book. - Ed

His publisher's press release is reproduced below simply because the book's topic is an excellent example of some of the material this website likes to help circulate in order to promote some rethinking on fascinating topics.


Vantage Press Inc. 516 W. 34th St., New York, NY 10001


The work of Chancellor Williams
Destruction of African Civilization
Anyone who has read Chancellor Williams's book, Destruction of African Civilization, will enjoy Larry West's new revised edition.

Disturbing conclusions

Vantage Press is proud to announce the release of the second edition of OUR COMMON AFRICAN GENESIS by Larry West.

OUR COMMON AFRICAN GENESIS attempts to trace the origins of modern humans and of early civilization in Africa and the Middle East through genetics, linguistics, history, and the Hebrew Books of Moses. The author's conclusions will disturb true believers of Judaeo-Christian scriptures.

Mr. West questions the teachings of churches and their influences on perceptions of race in history. For example, the predominance of the ancient Africans and their culture at the dawn of history is well attested, but they are persistently slandered by the authors and/or editors of the Books of Moses. He concludes that we have been "programmed" by this ancient stereotype. And, we're still paying for the sins of Abraham. The only way Black folks can accept these tales is to colour everyone in the Bible Black.

Mr. West takes us back in time, trying to recover Our Common African Genesis, but finds it now obscured by the imposition of Yahweh/God between ourselves and our ancient past.

He concludes that this aberration, still aggressively marketed by Christianity, has left society with highly distorted views of race, religion, and history. The ancient African gods of the Old Testament were replaced by the God of the Christians, the Egyptian temples of the Black Madonna razed, and the scriptures edited to tell a "new story" suitable to the fathers of the early Roman Christian Church. The Jewish holidays were separated from the African holidays and the Christian holidays separated from their Jewish counterparts. History and religion now begin with white men, not their African teachers. Nevertheless, Christmas still falls on the Winter Solstice. Noblesse oblige.

Mr. West has been a labourer, musician, scientist, landscaper, teacher, engineer, and unemployed, the last position kindling the urge to write. His writings have come from a lifetime of unanswered questions, twelve years and more of in-depth studies, and several painful revelations.


Red Sand divider

Select Bibliography

Aegean vase c1700BC depicting Egyptian ship features

Aegean vase circa 1700BC
depicting Egyptian ship design features.

John Baldwin, Prehistoric Nations. 1869, Nabu Press, SC USA February 2012.

57. Bamshad, M., Wooding, S., Salisbury, B.A., Stephens, J.C., “Deconstructing the Relationship between Genetics and Race”, Nat. Rev. Genet. 5: 598−608 2004.

B. Bower, “Gene Data Place Home of ‘Eve’ in Africa”, Science News, Sept. 28, 1991.

T. Buggey, “Greek and Phoenician Colonies”, tjbuggey.ancients.info/colonies.html.

25. Rebecca L. Cann, Mark Stoneking, Allan Wilson, “Mitochondrial DNA and Human Evolution”, NATURE, Vol. 325, January 1987.

Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, “Genes, Peoples, and Languages”, Scientific American, November 1991.

55. L. L. Cavalli-Sforza, P. Menozzi P., and A. Piazza, The History and Geography of Human Genes. Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1994.

Cheikh Anta Diop, The African Origins of Civilization: Myth or Reality. (Edited and translated by Mercer Cook). Westport, Lawrence Hill and Co, 1974. After the first French edition of 1955. The 1974 edn, ISBN 0-882080-021-0.

Santolamazza Cruciani, Macauly, Shen, Olckers Moral, Holmes Modiano, Coia Destro-Bistol, Uefner Wallace, Torroni Cavalli-Sforza, and Scozzari, Underhill, “A Back Migration from Asia to Sub-Saharan Africa is supported by High-Resolution Analysis of Human Y-Chromosome Haplotypes”, American Journal of Human Genetics, Vol. 70, Issue 5, 1197-1214, May 2002, www.cell.com/AJHG/abstract/S0002-9297(07)62513-0.

41. Alan M. Fildes, and Joann Fletcher, “Alexander in Egypt”, www.touregypt.net/featurestories/alexanderthegreat.htm.

Robert Garland, Daily Life of the Ancient Greeks. USA, Hackett Pub. Co., 2008.

N. S. Gill, “What Does Punic Mean?”, About.com Guide.

See also Michael Grant, The Ancient Mediterranean. Meridian, 1988. (Treating matters from 15,000BC to 337AD)

Herodotus, The Histories. (Translated by Aubrey de Selincourt, revised by John Marincola). New York, Penguin Books, 1996.

George J. M. James, Stolen Legacy: Greek Philosophy is Stolen Egyptian Philosophy. New Jersey, USA, Africa World Press, 1993.

Kenneth Katzner, The Languages of the World, London & New York, Routledge, 1977, Revised, 1986.

Mary Lefkowitz, NOT Out of Africa. New York, Basic Books, 1996.

Miletus (Site), www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/artifact?name=Miletus&object=Site.

Scrimshaw art
from USA

A ship in serious trouble: American scrimshaw art.

John Roach, “Massive Genetic Study Supports Out of Africa Theory”, National Geographic News, 21 Feb., 2008.

Cyril E. Robinson, A History of Greece. New York, Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1929, Apollo Edition, 1965.

Charles Seignobos, History of Ancient Civilization, pp. 17, London, T. Fisher/Unwin, 1907.

Arnold J. Toynbee, A Study of History. Abridgement of Volumes I-VI by D. C. Somervell, London, Oxford University Press, 1947, 1974.

Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times. Princeton University Press, 1992.

Shelley Wachsmann, Seagoing Ships and Seamanship in the Bronze Age Levant. Texas USA, A&M University Press, 1998.

H. G. Wells, An Outline of History. 1920, 1931, 1940 by Mr. Wells, 1949, 1956, New York by R. W. Postgate, Garden City Books.

Larry West, OUR COMMON AFRICAN GENESIS. New York, Vantage Press Inc. 516 W. 34th St., New York, NY 10001, 2008

Wikipedia: “Aegean Civilizations”.

Wikipedia: “African Admixture in Europe”.

Wikipedia: “Alexander the Great”.

Wikipedia: “Amarna letters”.

Wikipedia: “Ancient Egypt”.

Wikipedia: “Archaic human admixture with modern Homo sapiens”.

Wikipedia: “Balkans”.

Wikipedia: “Bronze Age”.

Wikipedia: “Bronze Age Collapse”.

Wikipedia: “Colonies in Antiquity”.

Book with wax pages

Book with wax pages.

Wikipedia: “Curse of Ham”.

Wikipedia: “Cycladic civilization”.

Wikipedia: “Early Human Migrations”.

Wikipedia: “Egypt”.

Wikipedia: “Etruscan origins”.

Wikipedia: “Genetic Markers”.

Wikipedia: “Greece”.

Wikipedia: “Greek Dark Ages”.

Wikipedia: “Haplogroup E1b1b1a (Y-DNA)”.

Wikipedia: “Holocene”.

Wikipedia:: “Ionians”.

Wikipedia: “Iron Age”

Wikipedia: “Indo-European (disambiguation)”

Wikipedia: “Jericho”.

Wikipedia: “Kurgan Hypothesis”.

Wikipedia: “Library of Alexandria”˙

Wikipedia: “Linear A”.

Wikipedia: “Maritime Trade”.

Wikipedia: “Miletus”.

Wikipedia: “Milos”.

Canaanite pottery

Canaanite jar.

Wikipedia: “Minoan Civilization”.

Wikipedia: “Mycenaean Greece”.

Wikipedia: “New Kingdom of Egypt”.

Wikipedia: “Papyrus Harris I” (The hieratic text (41m long with 1500 lines) consists of a brief summary of the entire reign of king Ramesses III of the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt).

Wikipedia: “Phoenicia”.

Wikipedia: ”Population History of Egypt”.

Wikipedia: “Pre-Pottery Neolithic A”.

Wikipedia: “Proto-Indo-Europeans”.

Wikipedia: “Ramesses III” (Ramses III in any text above).

Wikipedia: “Sahara”.

Wikipedia: “Sea Peoples”.

Wikipedia: “Stone Age”.

Wikipedia: “Three-Age System”.

Wikipedia: “Ugarit”.

Wikipedia: “Uluburun Shipwreck”.

Wikipedia: “White People”.

Chancellor Williams (and see the wikipedia page on Williams), Destruction of African Civilization: Great Issues of a Race between 4500BC and 2000AD.. Kendall Hunt, 1971. Chicago, Third World Press, 1987. See also Chancellor Williams, The Rebirth of African Civilization. 1961 United Brothers and Sisters Communications Systems, 1993.

Booklist added by the webmaster:
Miriam Eliav-Feldon (editor of Historical Atlas of the Jewish People), Benjamin H. Isaac and Joseph Zeilger, (Eds.), The Origins of Racism in the West. Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Erich S. Gruen, (Ed.), Cultural Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean. Getty Publications, 2011. (24 essays.)

Ralph W. Mathisen, Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations: From Prehistory to 640CE. Oxford University Press, 2011 or earlier.

Robin W. Winks and Susan P. Mattern-Parkes, The Ancient Mediterranean World, From the Stone Age to 600AD. USA, Oxford University Press, 2004.

NB: Volume One of a new Cambridge World History of Slavery surveys the history of slavery in the ancient Mediterranean world.

E-mail Larry West at: Larry West (USA)

E-mail the Webmaster: Dan Byrnes

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