Monday, August 01, 2005


Deeper dig plan for Mahogany Ship site


The Standard
By Matt Neal
July 29, 2005

Amateur archaeologist Mark Rawson: keen to return to Levy's Point.

A TEAM of amateur archaeologists who unearthed 3500-year-old wood samples at Warrnambool plan further digs at the site in late August or early September.

The Melbourne lawyer leading the dig, Mark Rawson, said his team was close to getting permission from Heritage Victoria to return to Levy's Point for a deeper probe of the area.

Mr Rawson said the second dig was likely to take place before a Mahogany Ship symposium in Warrnambool on September 24-25.

An exact date won't be known until Heritage Victoria approves the dig.

He said further confirmation of dating tests by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation in Sydney put the age of the olive wood samples as older than originally anticipated.

Initial samples put the age of the wood at 3000 years old and carbon-dating tests now estimate it to be somewhere between 3740 and 3450 years old, placing it at 1736BC-1448BC.

The age of the wood has raised more questions about the fabled Mahogany Ship, with Mr Rawson adding Phoenicia, Egypt and India to the growing list of possible origins which already included Portugal and China.

"The only way to find out for sure is to go back and to go in deeper and see what else we've got," he said. A second dig would involve moving some sand and lowering a probe deeper than 12 metres, which is the depth at which the first samples were found.

Mr Rawson said a professional archaeologist was required on the dig and it would be supervised by authorities such as Heritage Victoria, the Department of Sustainability and Environment and the Framlingham Trust.


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