Medieval Candelabra Hints at Forgotten Sea Routes

Late Medieval Trade RoutesA 10th-century candelabra found off the coast of the Spanish island of Ibiza may be a clue to long-forgotten shipping routes in that era.

But the candelabra’s use and origin remain a stubborn mystery, researchers report in the journal Archivo Español de Arqueología.
A new dive to the spot where the object was found in the 1970s revealed no real clues, so there is no context for understanding the find. Because the candelabra has been in the hands of private collectors, its restoration was also done differently than if it had been found by academic archaeologists.

Little is known about trade routes around the Mediterranean island in the 900s, the researchers said. There have been several shipwrecks discovered from the era in southern France. There was apparently a shipping route between the Iberian Peninsula, which includes modern-day Spain and Portugal, and southern France, Hermanns said. Old documents record the existence of an Islamic colony called Fraxinetum or Fraxinet in what is now the Provence region of France. This colony was said to be settled by Muslim pirates from Spain, further cementing the link between the two regions. The sunken vessels may be supply ships to the colony, Hermanns said.

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