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The most common purposes for boat and ship models include burial votives, house hold articles, art, and toys.
While archaeologists have found ship and boat models from societies all around the Mediterranean, the three of the most prolific ship model building cultures were the Greeks, Phoenicians, and Egyptians.
The model is of an oared boat manned by three pairs of oarsmen, who are rendered with “hands …
raised to their chests, in the last instant of pulling the oar in the water, before lifting it for the recovery.” It is believed that the holes are too small to pass an oar through, and thus would not be used for rowing purposes.
Item number H-3134 at the Hecht Museum, a dark-brown clay model of a 5th-century BCE oared boat, is one such craft.
The vessel has no provenance, save for the reported location of its discovery off the Phoenician coast, but scientists have been able to tentatively confirm the origin and authenticity of this model.
Phoenician ship models also provide archaeologists information regarding the technical aspects of seafaring, and the cultural importance of seafaring for the ancient Phoenicians.
However, some models offer tantalizing pieces of information that are, however, difficult to interpret.
Ship models are helpful to archaeologists in that they allow archaeologists to make estimates regarding the size the vessel would be in real life.This model in particular has helped archaeologists understand that not all keel projections in depictions of boats during this time are necessarily rams.Instead, keel projections on depictions of Bronze Age ships are explained as cut-waters or as beaching protection.The second type of model may or may not have been used in real life, but were purely magical boats.Moreover, the presence of boat and ship models in the tombs attests to the paramount importance of boats and ships to the Nile-going people of Egypt.