Saadana Island, on the Red Sea coast north of Safaga in Red Sea governorate, is home to a shipwreck that offers us a rare glimpse into 18th Century trade. This area in the sea is difficult to navigate due to its shallow waters and multitude of corals, which is probably the reason the ship sank in the 1760’s.
The ship was 50 meters long and was carrying about 900 tons of cargo. Excavations revealed that the ship was carrying Chinese Qing Dynasty porcelain that was fashioned for the Middle East. Many spices were also found aboard the ship including pepper, cardamom and nutmeg from India; frankincense from Oman; as well as, coconuts, olives and hazelnuts among other things.
The ship does not resemble other ships from this period, and so its origin remains unknown. However, its contents shed light on the intensive and far reaching trade that occurred during this time, and Egypt’s ports as the link between the east and the west.