photo: shows a stock image not actual anchor.
New research coming out from BASE Institute, which studies and investigates Bible stories in a scientific way, is now stating that most probably St. Paul’s shipwreck did not occur in the vicinity of St. Paul’s Islands in the Northern part of Malta but rather it may have occurred in St. Thomas Bay.
The researchers start by claiming that 4 anchors found in the 1960s may hold the key to this puzzle. They state that one of these anchors which was recently retrieved belonged to the ship that once carried St. Paul. It seems that the anchor dates back to the same era and they according to these researchers these anchors were even found where the bible mentioned.
According to the researchers the description of St. Paul’s shipwreck agrees with their research, thus St. Paul actually landed in St. Thomas bay and not close to St. Paul’s islands.
In approximately 60 A.D., a ship carrying 276 men and a cargo of grain shipwrecked off the coast of Malta. Two of the passengers on that ship were the biblical writers Paul and Luke, who were on their way to Rome. Paul as a prisoner, and Luke as his attending physician and friend. Through Luke’s meticulously-detailed account of the voyage and shipwreck, as recorded in Acts chapter 27.
Acts 27:39-41 reads “When it was day, they did not recognize the land; but they observed a bay with a beach, onto which they planned to run the ship if possible. And they let go the anchors and left them in the sea, meanwhile loosing the rudder ropes; and they hoisted the mainsail to the wind and made for shore. But striking a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the violence of the waves”.
The researchers state that for the past 500 years, tradition has held that the shipwreck of Paul occurred at St. Paul’s Bay on the northeast shore of Malta, a view held by the people of Malta today. But the biblical narrative and geography of the Mediterranean and Malta tell us that the site of the shipwreck must be located somewhere other than the traditional site, where no physical evidence has been found to-date, in spite of extensive research and exploration.
The Bible states that when the sailors calculated that they were closing in towards land they dropped four anchors, which is exactly what was found in St. Thomas Bay : “Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come” (v. 29).
“When it was day, they did not recognize the land . . . .” (v. 39).
This verse, according to the researchers indicates that the seasoned sailors did not recognize the location of Malta at which they were positioned. This is a significant clue in solving the mystery of the location of the shipwreck. This verse eliminates the vast majority of candidate sites for Paul’s shipwreck location. In the time of Paul, Malta was a well-visited seaport location. The only bay suitable for large ships, however, was Valletta, located on the east coast of Malta. This bay was used by ancient mariners long before Paul, and is still a bustling seaport visited by many cargo ships today. If the sailors were anywhere near Valetta, they would have recognized the shoreline.
This essentially eliminates traditional St. Paul’s Bay, which is approximately five miles north of Valletta. Sailors traveling from Valletta to Rome, as was the customary route at the time, would have regularly sailed past St. Paul’s Bay and all other bays on that side of the island; thus, these bays would have been easily recognized by the sailors on Paul’s ship, state the Researchers.
The Researchers say that the fourth anchor was preserved as part of a deceased diver’s legacy and left to his widow. It was there for our examination; and, even more importantly, for evaluation by a foremost expert on ancient maritime artifacts from Malta itself.
Dr. Anthony Bonano, head of the Department of Classics and Archaeology at the University of Malta, upon investigation of the fourth anchor, said: “What you have just shown me is, to be precise, part of an anchor, called an anchor stock, which is lead and is an essential part of a typical Roman anchor. Its flourishing period would be around the first century A.D., though its use would have spanned from the first to second century A.D. back to the second or third century B.C. It would be considered universally Roman, and could have come from a ship from Rome or from Alexandria . . . . Of course, a ship would have several of these.”
Could this, verifiably, be an anchor from Paul’s ship, which lay alongside three others for nearly two thousand years until they were recovered just a few years ago? As with any historical claim, the best we can do is examine the evidence in terms of probability. But the evidence for the anchors of Paul’s shipwreck is virtually overwhelming, the researchers conclude.
Who Are These Researchers Behind This Investigation?
The BASE Institute exists to affirm the Bible as a reliable message of hope from God to the world, and acknowledges God’s word as the ultimate standard of truth. Using the Bible and other historical sources, coupled with scholarly research supported by archaeological evidence.
Source for this story:
The full link to the published research on the BASE Institute website can be found here