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Wreck from 18th century and hundreds of artifacts found in Saudi Arabia

In the northern Red Sea, Saudi Arabian archaeologists have found a sunken wreck from the 18th century and hundreds of artefacts on the bottom. Underwater archaeologists from the Saudi Heritage Authority have discovered an 18th century shipwreck at the bottom of the Red Sea.It lies about 300m off the town of Haqal, 35km south of
Published: February 27, 2022 - 09:00
Updated: July 23, 2023 - 00:09
Wreck from 18th century and hundreds of artifacts found in Saudi Arabia

In the northern Red Sea, Saudi Arabian archaeologists have found a sunken wreck from the 18th century and hundreds of artefacts on the bottom.

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Underwater archaeologists from the Saudi Heritage Authority have discovered an 18th century shipwreck at the bottom of the Red Sea.It lies about 300m off the town of Haqal, 35km south of Aqaba in Jordan. During the excavations they carried out at the site, they discovered hundreds of artefacts linked to the sunken vessel.

Ceramics from an 18th century shipwreck in the Red Sea
Ceramics found on an 18th century shipwreck in the Red Sea

At the moment, researchers have not been able to identify the individual. It is possible, however, that with so many preserved objects, this will be done in the near future. As for the sinking of the ship itself, according to the Saudis, it may have collided with one of the surrounding coral reefs. This would explain, among other things, the large number of artefacts scattered in its vicinity.

Among the objects that archaeologists from Saudi Arabia have found at the bottom are navigational tools, coins, personal effects and ceramics. Specifically, amphorae, whose origins researchers have identified as being in the Mediterranean. According to the underwater archaeologists, the wreck they are investigating dates back to the final period of the 18th century. In addition to photographic and film documentation of the wreck, the specialists also made a photogrammetric 3D model.

Artefact discovered on wreck in Red Sea
Artefacts found on shipwreck in Saudi Arabia

Search for wrecks in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Heritage Authority seeks and explores wrecks in the Red Sea in cooperation with foreign universities and research organisations. This international cooperation is yielding very good results. So far, it has already resulted in the discovery of more than 50 sunken shipwrecks. The vessels found vary in terms of their origin as well as their historical and archaeological significance.

Wreck from 18th century Saudi Arabia
Fragment of an 18th century wreck at the bottom of the Red Sea

So far, archaeologists from the University of Naples have found the largest and most complete wreck. At the site located in the Al Wajh lagoon, the researchers discovered jars, porcelain and spices, among other things. They determined the origin of the vessel to be between 1725 and 1750. The research team is still collecting and cataloguing the finds, which will be shared between the Red Sea Museum in Jeddah and The Red Sea Project.

In contrast, a combined Saudi-German team that explored the waters off the western coast of the Red Sea between 2012 and 2015 discovered the remains of an ancient Roman vessel. So far, it is the oldest wreck that archaeologists have discovered in the waters of the Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia.

Photo: Saudi Press Agency – SPA

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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