Ancient Impossible (2014) s01e07 Episode Script

Greatest Ships

How did the greeks create one of the deadliest warships of the ancient world? Were the first armored battleships built hundreds of years before the industrial age? It's the grandfather of the modern warship.
And why did Rome's most notorious emperor build his famous pleasure ships? The man who built this is clearly the master of the universe.
Monuments more colossal than our own, ancient super weapons as mighty as today's, technology so precise it defies reinvention.
The ancient world was not primitive.
Their marvels are so advanced, we still use them now.
Travel to a world closer than we imagine, an ancient age where nothing was impossible.
2,000 years ago Caligula, Rome's most insane and murderous emperor, demanded the impossible.
He commissioned two ships of such size, luxury and technical sophistication, that even modern vessels can't compete.
How could terrified Roman engineers turn his deranged dreams into reality? And did such impossibly large and sophisticated vessels even exist? Here at lake Nemi, 19 miles south of Rome, Italy, two incredible ships, the biggest to survive from the ancient world, were recovered from these waters.
Lake Nemi had revealed its dark secret.
Behind me, lake Nemi.
It's full of muck and debris, but there was discovered one of the greatest discoveries from antiquity, the ships of Nemi.
These incredible vessels sat on the bottom of this lake for nearly 2,000 years, but no-one knew that they once belonged to Caligula, an infamous Roman emperor who reigned for just four savage years.
It wasn't until the renaissance that the exploration of these amazing wrecks began.
For hundreds of years scholars and treasure hunters were obsessed with what lay beyond their reach under lake Nemi.
Until in the 1920s, the incredible challenge of raising these sunken ships began.
The fascist dictator Benito mussolini decided that he wanted these Nemi boats excavated Making an association between himself, his regime and the Roman emperors that were before him.
He sets in motion this extraordinary task to raise the Nemi ships.
It takes five years, but finally they come to the surface.
To expose the ships, the waters of the lake were lowered 75 feet using an ancient drainage tunnel.
The 2,000-year-old ships were the size of a football field.
And packed in airtight mud, they were in incredible condition.
These were the greatest ancient ships ever found.
What they then needed to do was see where they were going to put these boats, they're so enormous, and so they actually had to build a purpose-built museum on the shores of the lake.
The Italians built a wonder of the modern world to house these two wonder ships of the ancient world.
But today this museum houses a mystery.
The ship museum of Nemi is absolutely extraordinary.
This space is gigantic.
Now what you see here today is largely an open space, but it was originally entirely filled with two massive ships.
But where are the ships today? And how was the greatest archaeological discovery since tutankhamen lost in a single night? On the 31 may, 1944, during the second world war, the allies were bombing the area, and a German artillery division was nearby, and they knew that the game was up.
And what they decided to do was to get into this boat museum and set fire to the two boats.
And I think probably because of the way the Nazis were quite indoctrinated with their history and their archaeology, these prize exhibits were something that they didn't want to see survive because they weren't German.
Today what you see is a lot of reconstructions, some models of the ships themselves and a lot of the technology that was involved and used in ancient times.
It was a technological wonder.
But the remaining metal and wooden parts of the Nemi ships reveal incredible technology that matches modern luxury ships.
They were the largest and most elaborate surviving boats in antiquity.
But how were these amazing vessels linked to Caligula? This surviving lead pipe found on board has priceless information.
These Latin words cast into the lead say "Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus," the emperor known as Caligula, best remembered for his cruelty, sadism and the wild excesses that almost bankrupted the Roman empire.
The romans have got a reputation for opulence and ambition and megalomania.
And you could say that all those characteristics are encapsulated in the single character of Caligula.
Now, Caligula is not the emperor's proper name.
Caligula's father, Germanicus, was Rome's greatest general.
On campaign he brought his son with him, dressed as a mascot in military uniform, complete with little combat boots.
The Roman soldiers loved him, and called him Caligula, meaning "little boot," or "bootikins.
" You always get the sense that psychologically, this really annoyed him.
He didn't think he was being taken seriously enough.
Caligula was desperate to prove himself a mighty emperor, ruler of the known world.
He would go to any extreme to build objects of impossible extravagance and opulence.
We're told that Caligula delighted in things that were believed to be impossible.
These two boats, they were quite extraordinary creations.
Both these massive vessels were nearly 250 feet long.
For size alone, the ships are remarkable, but inside, they were filled with extraordinary features, previously thought impossible on ancient ships.
One of them was a floating palace, a huge thing decorated with marble, with alabaster bathrooms, with hot and cold water, with underfloor heating, with mosaics, and it seems like this was really just a giant floating party palace for Caligula.
The other boat was really a floating temple.
The construction of these advanced ships would enable the romans to build on an impossible scale.
When we think of shipbuilding, we think of planks nailed onto a skeleton to form the hull shape, but incredibly, the romans started with the hull itself.
The romans used mortise and tenon joints to fix the enormous hull together.
No modern ships use such a precise technique.
It seems impossibly difficult to form the hull shell first.
The ribs and frame were added last.
This incredible technique, which all but vanished with the fall of Rome, created an impossibly precise and self-supporting hull.
Modern shipbuilders can replicate this by using glass fiber, but only the ancients could build a self-supporting hull on such a vast scale.
It is a testament to Roman power.
But their sheer size was just the beginning of Caligula's ambition to create the impossible.
Caligula's barges are a bit like Disneyland.
They're designed to impress.
They're designed to say the man who built this is clearly the master of the universe.
It wasn't just ambition that made Caligula demand the impossible.
Historians believe that during his reign, he became totally insane.
He considered himself a god.
He had an incestuous relationship with hisister drusilla.
He made his sister pregnant.
He's thought to have ripped the fetus from her womb, and when she was dead, he gave her the status of being a goddess herself.
All Roman leaders had pretty exalted ideas of themselves, but Caligula takes things that bit further.
He seems to believe he has a kind of divine power.
At lake Nemi, Caligula didn't just build impossible ships.
He used them to fulfill the impossible dream to be a god himself, lover of the goddess Diana, on his temple ship out in the middle of lake Nemi.
At this floating luxury Summer retreat, the emperor could demand whatever he wanted from his fearful guests.
You just have to imagine what it would have been like to have visited those boats.
You would be fearful of Caligula, because people think he's mad at this point.
You go into these boats, which were absolute incarnations of genius but also incarnations of excess.
And we're told that he used to sit in the rooms of these floating party palaces, staring around the halls, and pointing his finger and saying, "I could have you killed.
" The impossible ambition of the Roman emperor Caligula created the greatest ships to survive from the ancient world.
But they weren't just big and opulent.
Inside was incredible technology that even modern luxury yachts don't have.
The ships give us an insight into Roman technology in the 1st century a.
D.
Some of the technology on the lake Nemi ships would not be seen again for 1,500, 2,000 years.
2,000 years ago, the Roman emperor Caligula commissioned two super yachts to luxury standards that have never been repeated.
Caligula's Nemi ships represent the best technology of the ancient world.
What represents the best of today? This is the Galactica star, winner of a world super-yacht award.
It's fitted out with all the latest gadgetry that money can buy.
Surely the Nemi ships can't rival this.
Or can they? Behind the gold and the marble, beneath the statues and even trees was advanced Roman technology thousands of years ahead of its time.
Like this bronze tap, which looks too modern to be in a Roman ship, which precisely controlled the flow of water to the onboard baths and heating system.
This exceptional discovery is engineered to such high tolerances, it is still watertight after 2,000 years.
Beneath the exquisite mosaic floors of Caligula's floating palace was a sophisticated heating system.
Hot air from a furnace passed through this space and heated the floor above.
Technological innovations like this gave the Nemi ships levels of luxury unmatched even by modern ships.
One of the most vital components of our modern machines was first found on the Nemi ships 2,000 years ago- ball bearings.
An amazing find were the platforms that were designed to act like turntables on a series of ball bearings to support the statue of the goddess Diana so that she could rotate around the room as you walked in.
Now what's great about this technology is that before the discovery of the Nemi ships, ball-bearings technology was attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci 1,500 years later on.
So here I have one of these marvels from the ships at Nemi.
This is a ball bearing.
Now the thing is when we think about ball bearings today we think of something from the modern world.
But here it is 2,000 years ago.
This kind of discovery is what tells us how sophisticated, how innovative the ancients were.
Experimental model maker Richard windley is recreating this technology to see just how unbelievable it is.
So I'm going to try and replicate the original Roman bronze bearings using a little wooden form, which I've made.
Probably the romans would have done this.
This becomes the pattern for producing bronze castings.
They would have needed quite a few of these on the original version.
We think there were 8 bearings around the circumference of the bearing plate.
So we're going to try and replicate this.
Looking at the evidence from the Nemi ships, it's clear that making this ancient technology will be an enormous challenge.
This is a project which has taxed even Richard windley's considerable skill.
This is the final reconstruction of the ball- bearing turntable.
The whole thing is constructed in oak, it's very heavy.
These metal retaining plates are of iron, and we use copper nails.
In actual fact, this was more of a challenge than I'd really anticipated.
Even using some modern tools and machinery, it was tough.
When one considers that all this would have been done by hand- planes, chisels, adzes, axes- by the Roman engineers, I'm just filled with incredulity that they were capable of doing this.
What's really quite fascinating about this project is that we can't really consider modern life and modern machines without the use of these kind of bearings.
One can only imagine the astonishment of the onlookers onboard the temple of Diana Nemi ship, the statue of Diana suddenly started to move.
And this was only really achievable by the ability of Roman engineers to overcome the problems of friction.
And there's yet another incredible innovation- a mechanical chain pump developed to unprecedented levels.
After the romans, this ingenious method of removing bilge water would not reappear for over a thousand years.
Why is it on the lake Nemi ships? Because you're on the lake, and nobody likes the smell of stale lake water.
So on a pleasure palace for an emperor who was capable of cutting your head off for very little, you didn't want to run a smelly boat.
So they come up with the best possible pump.
When the romans created their ship technology, it was the sheer scale of their ambition, their application and their imagination, which just seems to be impossible.
The Nemi ships created by the emperor Caligula were examples of the sheer technological brilliance and decadence of Rome.
But like their creator, they would be short-lived.
It was a brief but very, very intense reign that ended in a dark tragedy.
And either his relatives or the praetorian guard, those who were closest to him, ambushed and assassinated him.
He died from many stab wounds.
We believe that the senators in particular wanted to Grant him the status of damnation memoriae- condemnation of memory- and that was something where you got wiped off the face of the earth.
And the Nemi ships would be wiped off the face of the earth for the next 2,000 years.
The Nemi ships end up at the bottom of the lake in the volcanic mud.
We don't quite know how they get there, but the fact that Caligula had so many eNemies suggests at some point they were scuppered, they were sunk.
These are technologies that the romans mastered, they used them, they used them even on ships, and they disappeared.
At the end of the ancient world those technologies simply vanished and they had to be reinvented all over again.
The Nemi ships encapsulate something important about what it is to be human.
In some ways they're a demonstration of just what man can do.
But they also remind us of our arrogance and that sometimes we just don't know when to stop.
The ancient world could create pleasure ships that still amaze us today.
But they also created floating super weapons in a desperate ancient arms race.
We think the development of these 100,000-ton modern warships starts with the first steel battleships of the first world war.
But steel armor was used hundreds of years before, on the first ironclad the world has ever known.
This mysterious ship utilized armor plating at sea for the first time and achieved the impossible.
It saved a nation.
The turtle ships were commissioned by a Korean admiral in order to overcome the aggressive military might of the Japanese.
But they underestimated Korean resilience.
In the late 16th century, Korea was facing the threat of a massive invasion from the powerful Japanese Navy.
So in response, in 1591, admiral Yi Sun-Sin commissioned a fleet of modern warships unlike the world had ever seen before.
The Japanese had an invasion fleet of over 700 ships.
Admiral Yi Sun-Sin knew he couldn't outfight them.
He would have to outthink them.
But how could he do this? Ships can be weapons in several ways.
You can simply pretend like they are pieces of territory or real estate where they come alongside each other and soldiers fight from one to another.
But those ships themselves can be used to sink other ships.
The genius of admiral Yi Sun-Sin created a warship centuries ahead of its time.
If you're going to take on the powerful Japanese Navy, the Korean admiral realized you needed a game-changer.
It was called the kobukson or the turtle ship.
It's impossible to believe, but this ship would triumph in battle at odds of 30 to one using impossibly modern technology.
This ancient sea monster had to survive what for other ships would be a suicide mission.
There's an intriguing clue to how the turtle ship was so successful at this Korean temple.
This wood, called red pine, is hard and dense enough to resist gunfire and Cannon fire.
So this incredible super weapon was armored, just like a turtle.
Picture a turtle swimming through the water with its hardened shell.
Arms and legs out to the side.
Those would be the oars.
The men were encapsulated inside.
Around the outside of the ship was a ring of cannons that could fire in any direction.
These 12 cannons could destroy Japanese ships at long range.
These guns, small, bronze muzzle-loading 6-pounders, were about the best that could be had in that period.
They proved to be stunningly effective in battle.
But it wasn't just impossibly modern firepower and protection that made the turtle ships so formidable.
The turtle ship was full of surprises.
The invincible Japanese Navy fought by using their overwhelming superior numbers of soldiers to board and seize enemy ships.
But against the turtle ships, this tactic would be impossible because of these.
Why would you put iron spikes on the deck of a ship? Well, that would keep other people from boarding.
In fact, it was said that they would lay hay mats down on top so those spikes were concealed, then when the enemy would jump on board, they found what was waiting for them.
In this way, the Crew were protected from Japanese missile fire and from boarding actions and were able to concentrate on using their own weapons and destroying the Japanese fleet.
Another incredible parallel with the modern world is what the 12 cannons on the turtle ships fired.
These iron-tipped darts were ship-to-ship missiles, a 20th-century innovation on a 16th-century warship, smashing into enemy ships at 200 miles per hour.
For hundreds of years, they remained the most powerful ships ever built.
I've been on board some of the most advanced naval vessels in the entire world, and when your ship has a strategic advantage over the enemy, it gives you that will to fight.
It gives you the confidence to know that you can go into battle and then return home to your family and friends.
So imagine what this did to the sailors of the turtle ship.
It gave them the ability to go against a force that was more formidable than their own knowing that they could come back.
In the 16th century, Korea was faced with a massive Japanese invasion fleet.
Korea would come up with one of the greatest ships in history to overcome this attack.
It was called the turtle ship.
On its bow was a fearsome dragon's head.
The reason you'd put a dragon on the bow of your ship- it's about intimidation, power, a symbol of strength.
You see that fierce face coming towards you, and you're worried about what's inside that ship.
But this death's head wasn't just for show.
It concealed another deadly weapon that you'd think belongs to today.
It was capable of spitting firebombs of gunpowder and iron pellets, cannonballs and smoke screens that would hide his ship from the rest of the Navy.
Imagine being the enemy on the other side of that, and all of a sudden, this dragon's head comes protruding out of that cloud.
That would have been an awesome sight.
It seems impossible that this dragon's head could actually breathe fire hundreds of years before modern flamethrowers.
But we do know that the use of flame as a weapon at sea goes back to the ancient greeks.
This image shows Greek fire, which originated 1,500 years ago.
Early ships were potential firebombs made from wood, fabric, rope and tar.
So we know the ancients used fire on ships.
But how did it work? This reconstruction of a 2,500- year-old weapon is from an ancient mural of a flamethrower mounted on a ship.
This right here is a working model of the world's first flamethrower, the fire raiser.
So, essentially, the way this will work is we have two hollowed-out beams that have been re-connected, and you have a hollow tube on the inside of this.
The end has been capped so that it's airtight, and from the end protrudes a pipe that goes into the cauldron right here.
And in the cauldron you have coal, sulfur, pitch to create that flame.
This is then mounted on a movable cart with a bellow at one end where the user would be.
And you can move this forward to your objective, activate the bellow and from this cauldron spits a directional flame right onto your target.
This is the ultimate psychological apon.
The fire raiser isn't just terrifying.
It's lethal.
So that right there is what it's like to be on the receiving end of an ancient super weapon.
No wonder this weapon was called a fire raiser.
We know that fire, explosive, even smoke screens came from the turtle ship's terrible mouth.
But there is evidence of what we now think of as weapons of mass destruction.
The turtle ships used choking gas.
Could it be possible that chemical warfare was first used 500 years before we think it first appeared in world war I? Even in the ancient world, the idea of noxious fumes was well understood.
Ancient Greek philosophers went up mt.
Etna and were overcome by the fumes and wrote about it.
So the idea that you could kill people with gas was known, but it took the Koreans to come up with an effective way of projecting this in a particular kind of battle.
Experts believe that gas from a mixture of burning sulfur and saltpeter would have incapacitated its victims.
Experimental model maker Richard windley is investigating just how effective this delivery system might have been.
If we think about the use of gas, say, in the first world war, obviously it was a very, very dangerous technique.
It only needed the wind to change, and the gas could actually affect the people who were trying to deploy it rather than the enemy.
So it is a risky strategy.
Right, I've got one of the little charges here.
I'm going to light this, pop him in the pot, put the lid back on fairly quickly, and then hopefully, we should get some smoke.
But could this really have delivered an ancient chemical weapon? The assumption is with something like this that it was projecting smoke a considerable distance.
Well, if you try blowing anything in air, you can't blow it more than probably about 10 feet at most.
So really it was just a way of getting this stuff into the air and dispersing it, but I think that given the right kind of maneuverability of these turtle ships, it probably was a viable option.
How did these technological advances translate into success in the struggle to dominate the seas around Korea? At the battle of myeongnyang, admiral Yi Sun-Sin and 12 turtle ships made a desperate last stand against impossible odds- a Japanese fleet of over 300 ships, including 133 warships.
How effective were the turtle ships? Well, their true power was realized when the Korean admiral led 12 turtle ships against a fleet of 133 Japanese naval vessels.
He sank 31 Japanese ships before the rest of the fleet turned and ran away.
So by using this ancient technology, Korea was safe, at least for now.
In no battle in naval history has such a small force smashed an enemy fleet that outnumbered them 30 to one.
In three battles, the turtle ships completely leveled the score.
They turned a defeated Korean Navy into a winning force.
They smashed the Japanese fleet.
They prevented the invasion.
So they really were a transformational weapon system.
They used technology brilliantly to solve a fundamental strategic problem.
And Korea remained independent for the next 300 years.
Admiral Yi Sun-Sin is the national hero of Korea to this day.
The turtle ships contained impossibly sophisticated technology that predated 20th-century warfare by 500 years.
And all over the ancient world, oceans had become battlefields.
They fought Titanic battles, but the winners of those battles controlled the sea.
They controlled the money, and they became the great empires of history.
We've seen how the genius of ancient Korea created the world's first modern battleship hundreds of years before the mighty ironclad fleets of the 20th century.
Just like today, man has always been seeking an edge.
He's always been seeking to use his skill, his innovation and his craft to come up with a killer system.
But the first purpose-built warship appeared 2,500 years ago in ancient Greece.
The ancients used massive ships as floating battlefields for their armies.
When the tiny city state of Athens was outnumbered by an overwhelming persian invasion.
They needed a game-changer.
The golden age of Greece is an age of ingenuity and invention but there's one particular super craft that was perfected at this time that really changes world history.
To fight the mighty persian empire, the greeks perfected a ship that didn't just carry men and weapons.
It was a weapon in itself, 120 feet of offensive power.
This is the trireme.
It seems impossible, but this incredibly destructive weapon was powered by muscle alone.
In the 1980s, naval experts set out to build an exact replica of this famous super weapon.
This was the first trireme in 1,500 years to row the mediterranean.
Research suggests the trireme achieved speeds of up to 12 knots.
One ancient writer describes how a trireme rowed 185 miles from Athens to mytilene in just 24 hours.
That's an average speed of 8 knots.
For a ship of this size, that seems beyond the capabilities of any engineer, let alone oarsman, but the trireme used a highly sophisticated design that belongs more to our century than 2,500 years ago.
The oarsmen are actually packed in in an interlocking Jigsaw fashion so you get the most oarsmen in the most compact space generating the greatest amount of power.
It really is a very clever piece of geometric engineering.
But an incredible design was not enough.
It needed an incredible Crew.
We know that the men who powered these boats must have been really extraordinary physical specimens, super, super fit, because you don't have moveable seats, so you're doing everything with your arms and your back.
The Greek rowers of the triremes were free men, united in their determination to protect their homeland.
But could one ship really destroy another without firepower? This incredible discovery of a bronze ram from athlit in modern Israel may reveal the deadly power of the trireme.
Maritime historian Andrew lambert is putting the ram to the test what we're going to be able to do today is see just what it looks like when a ram like this smashes into the side of a ship.
All right, everyone, about to run the test.
Ready.
This devastating demonstration shows how the greeks were able to sink the persian fleet.
But mishandled, the trireme could be deadlier for its Crew than for the enemy.
3D analyst James Dean is investigating why it could be a double-edged weapon.
If you ram too fast at 12 knots, you'll get stuck fast, and you've attached yourself to a sinking ship.
Ram slowly at under 9 knots and the ship won't be damaged enough to sink, and they'll board you.
The trireme travels its own length in 6 seconds.
Timing is a matter of life and death.
Arrive 4 seconds too early, and the rammer gets rammed.
Some experts believe the impact of the trireme's ram didn't just punch a hole.
It caused boats to explode, just like a modern weapon.
The athlit ram does not look like the kind of device on a bow of a ship that's designed to poke a hole into an adversary, it seems that it was constructed to actually deliver the maximum amount of force to the entire structure of the ship.
It has these three plates that project forward.
It looks like it's supposed to deliver shock over as wide an area as possible.
It is believed that to strengthen and protect the hull, engineers used hypozomata, heavy ropes tightened from fore to aft.
Hypozomata kept the hull under 13 1/2 tons of tension.
This made it highly vulnerable to the type of blow the athlit ram could deliver.
This whole ship is held in compression, that that force is locked into the structure of the ship.
You can imagine the kind of explosive force that could be delivered, like releasing an arrow from a bow.
The trireme is perfect.
It's lithe, elegant, aggressive, and every inch of it says power.
This is a killing machine, a truly decisive weapon.
It shifted the balance of power from east to west.
They wrested control of the aegean from the persians and began an empire that would leave a lasting legacy in history.
It's amazing to think 2,000 years ago the romans and greeks were building ships of such high technology.
But it's even more impossible to believe that 2,000 years earlier, Egypt used advanced ship-building techniques which we have lost from history.
Their temples contain clues to how important ships were to them.
I'm at this temple in Southern Egypt, where there's impressive artwork and hieroglyphics on the wall.
You can see here a boat which belonged to ramses ii.
Now boats were really important to the ancient Egyptians because of course the nile was their Major trade route and a Major way to get things around the country.
Without the river nile, ancient Egypt simply wouldn't have existed.
The river is both the lifeblood of the nation but also the main highway.
Some of the longest ships ever built plied up and down the nile, carrying huge stones such as obelisks from aswan in the south up to the north of the country.
But what other mysterious boats did the ancient Egyptians have? The giza plateau, Egypt- the great pyramid of Khufu is one of the wonders of the ancient world.
But a discovery next to this great structure shows how highly sophisticated the Egyptians had become in building ships.
At the foot of the great pyramid, archaeologists found a buried boat, a very large wooden boat, thousands of years old, made of the most exquisite mortise and tenon joints.
The boat had been carefully built then taken apart by the Egyptian boat builders.
Its wooden parts, which were in almost perfect condition, had been neatly stacked in the pit all 1,224 of them.
When Egyptian experts reconstructed the ship, it was like piecing together a huge Jigsaw puzzle.
Egyptologists were amazed how intricate and advanced it was.
The Khufu ship is simply a landmark in human technology.
It's the first great vessel built of wood.
And this is the extraordinary ship they created.
The Khufu boat was shell-built, meaning the outer shell of planks came first, then the interior timbers and framing.
As an ancient-world ship it was a large vessel, 140 feet long and 19 feet wide.
As a famous equivalent, the mayflower, used by the pilgrim fathers 4,000 years later, was about 30 feet shorter these boats were constructed in what may seem an odd way.
They were roped together.
They weren't nailed or pinned as we might expect, or even glued, as we would do with modern boats.
The restorers had expected the boat to be constructed like a modern wooden boat, but they discovered that the planks were held or sewn together with rope passing through slots into the timbers this construction technique produced boats which were flexible, quick to build, and easy to maintain, and this meant they could plow up and down the nile carrying some impossibly large loads.
Amazingly, one mile of rope was required to assemble it.
It was a highly advanced piece of ancient engineering.
It's a boat that tells us a tremendous amount about Egyptian technology, about the transition from boats made of reeds into boats made of wood and about shipbuilding in an age before metal fixings.
It is thought that in order to keep the vessel watertight, the holes would be covered with beeswax.
It's the first example in history where an intricate ship with no nails was discovered.
We can all agree that the great pyramid was a miracle of stone construction.
The Khufu ship, now that was a miracle of ancient ship building.
And finally, researchers discovered that it was assembled and disassembled for one purpose only- for the pharaoh to sail to the afterlife.
It was never built to sail down the river nile.
This is a ceremonial craft designed for a purely hereafter purpose.
So it tells us everything about the Egyptians.
They're obsessed with the afterlife.
It's more important to leave this world in style than it is to live in style.
Although the Khufu boat might not have sailed on water, it is still considered to be one of the greatest ships ever to be excavated.
Your grave goods says everything about you, and Khufu had the best grave goods.
The greatest ships of the ancient world used highly sophisticated technology, thousands of years ahead of their time, from the first battleships to luxury yachts and the super ship that beat the tomb raiders, proving that the ancients were able to achieve the impossible, creating astonishing vessels that are still among the world's greatest ships.