Skip to main content

Team building replica of mythical vessel

MAY 5 A group of shipbuilders and historians in the port town of Volos, Greece, is attempting to recreate the Argos, the mythological vessel said to be used by Jason and the Argonauts.

The group, which is with the Naudomos Institute, is using handmade tools and ancient Greek boatbuilding methods to construct the 92-foot, 50-oar wooden ship, news reports say. “It’s extremely laborious work,” Stelios Kalafatidis, one of the builders, says in a report. “We don’t have large, proper, modern tools, only our hands and wooden mallets and chisels.”

The group began work 15 months ago, reports say, and as of late April had completed only one quarter of the boat. The builders say that whole trees were placed in the hull and that wooden pegs and wedges hold together the frame and planks. They have mixed resin and glue to fill the gaps between the planks and to help preserve the ship. To design it, the builders say they pieced together images from vase paintings, wall frescos and other references to boats from the same time period.

In Greek mythology Jason and his crew, called the Argonauts, sailed from Volos (called Iolcos in ancient times) to retrieve the sacred golden fleece from a dragon guarding it in the city of Colchis, which is modern day Georgia.

Once the team has completed the Argo, the builders hope volunteers will sail the ship and follow Jason’s route across the Aegean, through the Bosphorus to the Black Sea and on to Georgia, according to reports.

— Jason Fell