2008-07-28 22:03:59 GMT 2008-07-29 06:03:59 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
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 to Greece.
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.