Bronze Age Mediterranean: Minoan Culture
Boat of the dead
Gold ring: Late Minoan I, Mochlos, Crete. c. 1500 BC.
The little boat on this gold and bronze funerary ring appears to have neither sail nor oar to propel it.
'It seems to be travelling away from the land,' said Quintin, handing Miranda an art graphic he had made from a tracing of a photograph of a Minoan funerary ring, found in Late Minoan I deposits, about 1500 BC, from a cemetery on a small island close to the shore of eastern Crete. 'At least, to me it does. I used to sail a small boat in the sea around Guernsey and I can tell you, you are really thankful for a strong bow when you crash down over one wave straight into the base of the next! I wouldn't want to do that going the other way around in this little vessel.'
'It might not have been intended as a functional boat,' objected Miranda. 'There doesn't seem to be any sail, or paddle or oars. Just a strange pot plant. Perhaps they're pomegranates.
'So a parting gift, then?'
'A talisman?' replied Miranda. 'There were lots of graves of children where this was found and this ring would have fitted a child's finger. She almost seems to be waving at the shore.'
'Waving farewell?' said Quintin.