Replica of Ancient Vessel to Sail from Bulgaria to Cyprus

On the edge of Lake Varna in Bulgaria, an unusual looking vessel is under construction as a team of Europeans and Bolivians race to complete their work, binding, packing and cutting reeds under the burning Bulgarian sun, reports Deutsche Welle.

The aim — to complete the reed boat and sail it 3000 kilometers to Cyprus.

A crescent-shaped sailboat is being constructed primarily of reeds imported from Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. The head of the team is Dominique Görlitz, a 53-year-old German experimental archaeologist leading his fourth such expedition, Abora IV.

Görlitz and his team aim to sail from Bulgaria to Cyprus, crossing three seas to prove that ancient Egyptian merchants sailed north into the Black Sea and back.

Egyptian seafarers brought iron to Egypt from the Caucuses in order to build the pyramids, says Görlitz. He was part of a group that studied iron traces in the mammoth blocks of the Great Pyramid of King Khufu, dating back to the third millennium B.C., 1,000 years earlier than the generally understood beginning of the Iron Age.

The team plans to sail the 14-meter reed boat later this month from Varna, Bulgaria, 3,000 kilometers to Cyprus, crossing through the Bosporus and the Dardanelles and into the Aegean Sea.

"This is the most stable vessel you can imagine," explains Görlitz, pointing to a pre-dynastic drawing of a boat with leg-like structures from Egypt from which he drew inspiration.

Prehistoric vessels could navigate and even tack against the wind thousands of years ago by employing what Görlitz calls "a secret weapon": leeboards, a type of adjustable keel, bound to the hull, which can be raised or lowered 1.5 meters underwater to control and stabilize maneuvers.

The boat's construction is...

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