New York City, July 13, 2007
—The Abora III, a 41-foot (12-meter) boat made of reeds and wooden planks, set sail for Spain from Manhattan on Wednesday. The ship's mission is to prove that early American and Mediterranean civilizations crossed the Atlantic long before Christopher Columbus did in 1492.
The reed ship was created by the Aymara Indians of Bolivia, a 2,000 year-old Andean culture that sails in boats similar to those used by ancient Egyptians.
"We are trying to sail as a first across the North Atlantic on a prehistoric raft in order to prove that trans-Atlantic voyages in both directions were possible long before the advanced civilizations in the Mediterranean Sea," Dominque Gorlitz, the ship's captain, told the Reuters news agency shortly before departure.
Gorlitz, a German botanist, said he believes trade between continents began as early as 14,000 years ago.
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Photograph by Kathy Willens/AP