ROME, July 28 (Xinhua) -- An ancient Greek trading
ship that has lain on the seabed off the coast of Gela in southern Sicily for
2,500 years was brought to the surface for the first time on Monday.
The 21-meter-long vessel is the best-preserved
example in the world of a Greek ship constructed from pine planks "sewn"
together with plant fiber, a technique described in Homer's Iliad, Italian News
Agency ANSA said on Monday.
Experts believe the ship sank in a storm some 800
meters off the coast while transporting goods from the Greek colony in Gela back
Two local divers first discovered the wreck five
meters under water in 1988, and the bow of the ship, along with amphorae,
drinking cups, oil lamps and woven baskets, were brought to the surface in 2003.
On Monday coastguards and experts from the
Caltanissetta culture department salvaged the rest of the ship using a boat
equipped with a crane able to lift loads of up to 200 tons.
The pieces of the ship will be kept immersed in tanks
full of the protective chemical polyethylene glycol before being transported to
Portsmouth in the United Kingdom, where experts at the Mary Rose Archaeological
Services will conserve and reconstruct the vessel.
The culture department says it eventually plans to
build a sea museum in Gela with the ship as the key exhibit.