Graffiti of Ships in the Bahá’í Mansion at Mazra‘ih, Israel

  • Yaacov KahanovEmail author


Graffiti of ships were found on a wall of a courtyard of the Bahá’í mansion in the village of Mazra‘ih, near Akko, Israel. It is suggested that three graffiti depict frigates, near Akko, the largest of about 850 t burden, some time in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. This is evidence for maritime activities at Akko in these years, and for the type of ships.


Graffiti Frigate Mazra‘ih Akko 



I am grateful to Mr. Y. Lerer of the Israel Antiquities Authority, who discovered the graffiti and drew my attention to them; to Mr. E. Stern, the Archaeologist of the Western Galilee, Israel Antiquities Authority, who permitted and supported the study; to Ms. A. Shapiro and Ms. R. Pollak who skillfully drew the graffiti; and to Mr. J. Tresman for the English editing. I wish to thank the Bahá’í World Center who made the study of the graffiti accessible.


The terminology below is based on that in Kemp (1976), and should be interpreted in the context of the graffiti.
Amidships, midships

The middle of the hull, midway between bow and stern.


Standing rigging from the tops of sections of the masts to the sides of the hull.


The maximum width of the hull.


A chain or heavy wire rigging running from the bowsprit to the stem.


A spar to which the bottom of a sail is attached.


Line leading forward from the edge of a sail to aid in sailing close to the wind.


A spar projecting forward over the bow, to which the forestays are attached and the jibs are set.


Horizontal platforms, which extend the full length of the ship. The classical frigate had a single armed deck, which in this article is termed “gundeck” and relates to the middle horizontal line; “deck” refers to the upper platform, and corresponds here to the upper line; “lower deck” is about the level of the waterline, the lowest line.

Dolphin striker

A spar projecting down from the bowsprit.


The depth of water which a ship draws.

Driver, spanker

A fore-and-aft sail set on the lower mizenmast at the stern.


Stem or sternpost.

False keel

A timber running along the whole length of the underside of the keel.


The height of the deck above the waterline amidships.


A part of the standing rigging, from the foremast to the bowsprit or stem, which supports the mast, and on which a jib is set.


A triangular sail set on the stays of the foremast.

Jib-boom, flying jib-boom

Forward extensions of the bowsprit.


The main longitudinal timber of most wooden ship, which extends the whole length of the vessel and to which the stem, sternpost and the frames are attached. The backbone of the hull.


A longitudinal timber set on the keel to add strength.

Martingale stay

The stay which holds the jib-boom down.


A vertical spar set in a ship to carry sails.

Lower mast

The lowest section of a mast, mounted on the keelson and passing through the deck.


The second section of a complete mast, above the lower mast.

Topgallant mast

The third section of a complete mast, above the topmast, the uppermost of the three.

From bow to stern the order is:

Foremast, Mainmast, Mizenmast.


A narrow tapering flag flown from the masthead.


The sail set next above the topgallant-sail, the fourth sail from the deck.


An assemblage of cloths, which is designed to catch the wind, to give motion to a sailing vessel. Their names in ascending vertical order are: course, topsail, topgallant and royal, and according to the mast, e.g. Mizen course, Main topsail, Fore topgallant sail.


Line for trimming a sail.


Vessel with a bowsprit and three masts, each with topmast and topgallant mast, and square rigged on all three masts.


Standing rigging from the top of the lower masts to the sides of the hull, to support the masts laterally.

Square rig

The arrangement of sails in a vessel where the main driving sails are laced to yards which lie square to the mast.

Standing rigging

The fixed and permanent rigging of a ship.


Part of the standing rigging, which supports the mast.


The foremost timber forming the bow.


The aftermost timber forming the stern.


Any boat or ship which is not otherwise defined.


An imaginary line formed by the water on the hull of a ship marking the level at which she floats in the water.


A spar crossing the masts, from which a sail is set.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime StudiesUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael

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