Researchers are about to raise a 3,000-year-old ship from the seabed off the Croatian coast

Marine archaeologists around the world are working to find and retrieve ancient treasures from the seabed. And one of the most exciting projects is the lifting of the wreck of the ancient boat Zambratija, which has been at the bottom of the Adriatic Sea for more than 3,000 years. This boat, sewn by hand in ancient times, has remarkably preserved its condition and can reveal many secrets about the tradition of shipbuilding in the Mediterranean.

Finding and retrieving the wreck of the Zambratija boat

A team of divers from the Camilla Giuliana Center and the Archaeological Museum of Istria began work this month to retrieve parts of the ship from the seabed. The wreck of the boat was first explored in 2008, but since then it has been the subject of a couple more dives. The goal of the latest initiative is to remove it from the seabed and create a 3D reconstruction of the ship’s structure.

Although the Zambratija boat is only 10 meters long and 2.3 meters wide, its architecture and construction, strapping assembly technique, and hull waterproofing system are unparalleled in the Mediterranean area. Researchers already have a rough idea that she dates somewhere between the 12th and 10th centuries BC.

Traditions of shipbuilding in the Mediterranean

The boat Zambratija is a typical example of the ancient traditions of shipbuilding that originated in a corner of the Mediterranean. Thanks to all these features, the types of assembly used and the dating, the boat Zambratija can be considered as an archetype of one of the traditions of “stitching” boats identified in the Adriatic.

Preservation and recovery of the wreck of the boat Zambratija

The fragile nature of the wreckage will require it to be “desalinated” in Croatia, where it will eventually be transferred to the Arc-Nucléart workshop in France, which specializes in the recovery of cultural artifacts. Researchers hope to conduct a detailed analysis of the boat’s materials to uncover the secrets of its past.


Finding and retrieving the wreck of the ancient Zambratija boat is an exciting project that could reveal many secrets about the shipbuilding traditions of the Mediterranean. The boat, sewn by hand in ancient times, has preserved its condition on the seabed for more than 3,000 years and may be the key to understanding ancient maritime technology and culture.

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