14 April 2016 - 6 Nisan 5776 - ו' ניסן ה' אלפים תשע"ו
The Baron de Rothschild’s lost ship E-mail

In a recent new study, researchers from the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies at the University of Haifa have evidence to show that a shipwreck discovered at Dor Beach in 1976 may be identified as the Baron de Rothschild’s missing ship.

The ship was one of three ships used to carry raw materi­als from France to a glass fac­tory established by the baron at Tantura. The ship vanished without a trace in the late nine­teenth century. “We know that two of the baron’s three ships were sold, but we have no in­formation concerning the third ship. The ship we have found is structurally consistent with the specifications of the Baron’s ships, carried a similar cargo, and sailed and sank during the right period,” explained Dr. Deborah Cvikel and Micky Holtzman, who are investigat­ing the shipwreck.

In 1893 the Baron de Roths­child founded a glass factory at Tantura beach in order to enable the local production of wine bottles for the winery at nearby Zichron Yaacov.

The factory was actually es­tablished and managed by Meir Dizengoff, the first mayor of Tel Aviv. The Baron even purchased three small ships to transport raw materials from factories in France to the factory at Tantura, and hired Jewish crews to man the ships. Contemporary re­cords detail the purchase of the ships and specify their models. It was also noted that the ships were damaged and required re­pairs. Two of the ships were ul­timately sold, while the fate of the third ship remains unknown.

Dr. Cvikel and Mr. Holtzman are now proposing the hypothe­sis that a two-masted shipwreck off the coast at Dor (Tantura) that was first excavated in 1999 may be the missing Baron’s missing ship. The shipwreck was excavated underwater in 1999-2000 in a study that fo­cused mainly on the structure of the ship, and again in 2008 in a study that focused mainly on its contents, which included pots, earthenware, ceramic tiles, roof tiles, barrels, crates, and sev­eral sacks. The present study is based on the processing of find­ings from the 2008 excavation.

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