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In 450 BC, the Greek historian Herodotus visited Egypt and wrote about his travels in his Historia. One of the ships he describes in detail, called a baris, has been an enigma to historians, as no known Egyptian ship has matched his description. Herodotus described a long barge with one rudder passing through a hole in the keel that was constructed of cut planks 2 cubits long (about 40 inches), arranged like bricks with beams stretched over them. Such a sunken ship was recently discovered at the underwater ancient port city of Thonis-Heracleion. Ship 17, as it is known, was investigated by underwater archaeologists and found to have a similar architecture of thick planks held together with smaller pieces of wood. The long internal ribs that Herodotus describes were present on Ship 17. The ship likely sank in the fifth century BC, but may have been constructed in the sixth century BC. Archaeologists are confident that they've discovered the first example of a baris, and Herodotus' description has now been confirmed. Egyptian ships are mentioned numerous times in the Bible (Isa 18:2, 30:9; Acts 27), although it does not appear that a baris is being referred to in any of these passages.

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