In the course of excavations on shipwrecks off the coast of Oman medieval Portuguese ship called «Esmeralda» archaeologists have discovered the oldest still known navigation device – the astrolabe, used by sailors to measure the height of the Sun during the trip.
Experts believe that this device was created in the period from 1495 to 1500, wrote on Tuesday, October 24, a website of news service of the BBC.
Esmeralda sank in the Indian ocean in 1503 during the storm. She was part of the flotilla, which was commanded by the famous traveler Vasco da Gama, the first paved sea route from Europe to India.
Excavation Director David Mearns, an employee of the research company Blue Water Recovery and author of The Shipwreck Hunter, said in an interview: he’s happy and proud to make such an important historical discovery, signifying, according to him, a breakthrough in archaeology.
Ancient astrolabe found by Mincom and his colleagues, is a bronze disk with a diameter of 17.5 cm and a thickness of 2 mm, on which was engraved the coat of arms of Portugal and the personal emblem of king Manuel I.
Scientists have suggested that the instrument is an astrolabe, but the strokes symbolizing the degrees, was discovered on it later in the course of laser scanning conducted by the staff of the University of Warwick.