The Expedition > History & Background

Rock art of a ship discovered near the Straits of Gibraltar dated to 1500BC

Painting representing Phoenicia Ship, by D.Eubank

History & Background


Christopher Columbus found glory and fortune by braving unknown horizons and discovering the Americas. Today historians agree that the Vikings set foot in North America before Columbus did while some others claim that Phoenicians may have been the first to discover the Americas some 2,000 years before Columbus .Some Phoenician style items have been found in the Americas (amphorae, stele, coins) and Portuguese archaeologists in the Azores, midway between the Old and New World, claim to have found Phoenician temples and burial sites. The purpose of this expedition is to review all the available information and to discover whether or not Phoenician vessels were capable of crossing the Atlantic.

Who were the Phoenicians?


Phoenicians Colonies & Trading Posts


The Phoeniciens were regarded as the "Rulers of the sea" (Ezekiel 26:16 cited by McGrail 2001 pg 129).  Occupying what is now modern day Lebanon and the coastal parts of Syria and Palestine from circa 1,200 BC for approximately one thousand years.  This civilization, though often overlooked by the modern world, is credited with many discoveries including the alphabet, insurance and remarkable trading and seafaring abilities including the discovery of the pole star.  The Phoenician sphere of influence spread throughout the Mediterranean and their trading activities reached as far as Cornwall for tin, and Indian and China for spices and precious goods.


  • The greatest maritime traders of their times (purple dye, olive oil, wine, tine, copper, silver & maritime insurance)
  • Well-known for their ship building, navigational (discovered the pole star) and intellectual skills (alphabet)
  • The civilization existed  between 1200BC and 200BC
  • Centered on the coastline of modern Syria, Lebanon and Northern Palestine


Phoenician coin
Early bronze age pottery
Greek vase showing attack on Phoenician ship