The ancient vessel was thought to have been no more than a myth until recently.
Baris, an ancient Egyptian boat described by Greek historian Herodotus, has been discovered by experts in the sunken city of Thonis-Heracleion.
Mythical Boat Described by Herodotus
Greek historian Herodotus described a mysterious boat, the baris, 2,500 years ago. However, archaeologists had never seen it and considered it a myth. Years went on and the legend remained.
Discovery of the Baris
Over two millennia after Herodotus wrote about the boat, experts have finally found the elusive vessel. Herodotus had seen the baris during his visit to Egypt around 450 B.C. Herodotus, among other things, documented the history of Egypt as best as he could. In fact, he is the only writer from antiquity who mentions machines and mechanisms that were supposedly used by the ancient Egyptians to raise the massive stones, allowing them to build the pyramids.
Sunken City of Thonis-Heracleion
The discovery of the baris came after the sunken port city of Thonis-Heracleion was discovered in 2000. Before Alexandria’s foundation, Thonis-Heracleion was one of the world’s most significant port cities.
Over 70 Shipwrecks
Underwater archaeologists have identified more than 70 shipwrecks in Thonis-Heracleion, dating from the eighth to the second century B.C. One boat stood out, matching Herodotus’s description of the baris.
Ship 17: The Baris
The boat, known as Ship 17, measured 28 meters long and featured a crescent-shaped hull. Its construction matched Herodotus’s description, with acacia wood and long wooden ribs or tenons.
Analyzing the Ancient Shipwreck
Archaeologists Alexander Belov and Franck Goddio, who discovered Thonis-Heracleion, have been studying the ancient shipwrecks. Belov has written an in-depth analysis of Ship 17 in a new book.