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7 January 2006
Hopes to recreate ancient trade route still float

Humbled after three attempts at making a vessel modelled on an ancient Bronze Age boat float, the team that conceptualised the Magan Boat project an attempt at recreating the trade route between Harappan and Magan civilizations participated in a two-day international seminar on the 'Magan and Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC)'. The seminar, which began on Wednesday, is being jointly organised by the Archaeology Department of MSU and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
     Greggory Possehl (anthropology professor from Pennsylvannia University), Tom Vosmer (Oman), Maurizio Tosi (Bologna University), Alok Tripathi (ASI), Serge Cleuziou (University of Paris), Ali Elmahi and Mohammed Ali Al-Belushi (Sultan Qaboos University), associated with the project in various stages were present at the seminar.
     Magan III, the boat that set sail on September 7 from Sur in Oman, and sank the same evening, had some design flaws, that the team hopes to amend and make the boat sail again, as soon as possible. A Magan IV and Magan V are already in the pipeline, said members. Tom Vosmer, involved with the design of the Magan boats, gave a first person account of the project from its conceptualisation to the moments preceding the sinking of the third boat. "Our over-confidence and some failure to make a perfect design led to the sinking. The structural deficiency caused water to enter the boat through holes near the steering beam," Vosmer recalled.
     The 40-feet reed and bitumen vessel, Magan III, began sinking hours after it set sail, as heavy winds rocked the craft and water spilled over the sides. Vosmer stressed the authenticity of the boats. "We made our own rope from datepalm fibre, gathered our own reed, made our own sail from woven wool, and we imported the bitumen from Iraq." After they successfully built and and tested two earlier versions of the craft, the Magans I and II, the government of Oman came forward with an offer to fund the construction of a full-sized model, culminating with the since-lost Magan III.

Source: Ahmedabad Newsline (5 January 2006)

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