Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


14 February 2013

Mycenaeans and the Adriatic: A nautical challenge. Investigating the beginnings of navigation in the Adriatic Sea

Stavros Oikonomidis Enalia. The journal of the Hellenic Institute of Marine Archaeology XI (2012): 146-151.

From the introduction

Did Mycenaeans ever navigate as organized commuters along the Adriatic? If they did, where were their efforts pointing to? Why should the Adriatic be a sea of big challenges, trade opportunities, and right occasions for these people? Could the Adriatic have ever been a western equivalent of the Aegean or other seas frequented by the Mycenaeans? All the above questions accompany the most recent researches, which point to the investigation of the navigational activities of the Mycenaeans in the Hesperia, the western to Greece natural canal and its hinterland. That proved to have been as important as the Aegean, in Classical and later times.

In two recent studies I have described the Adriatic as a difficult sea to sail with a ship made with the standards of the Late Bronze Age technology. Furthermore I enumerated the conditions that should lead any nautical expedition that is organized on a regular basis, along the Adriatic. Not only experience of long sea travels or a maritime tradition is necessary, but the good knowledge of the geography of the coastlines, both western and eastern, and of the periodicity of the peculiar meteorological phenomena is essential as well. This knowledge gives not just safety but the possibility of the periodical frequency of the Adriatic, in relation to a standardized trade that should result fruitful and secure.

But apart from the technological requirements or the deep knowledge of the natural amenities related to the Adriatic navigation the above questions are still there, needing decisive responses. 


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