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Photo of Harry Tzalas Harry Tzalas

See Harry Tzalas answers to Ask the Scientists questions.

Harry Tzalas is the president of the Hellenic Institute for the Preservation of Nautical Tradition, an Athens-based scientific institution specializing in marine archaeology and nautical experimental archaeology. Harry Tzalas' interest in primitive and traditional crafts goes back to 1956 when at the age of 20 he undertook a voyage on the Nile up to Khartoum (Sudan) on a traditional "felouka". For the next three years he worked in Northern Brazil and did research into the primitive crafts of the Amazon river. Afterwards he established himself in Greece as a marine consultant and studied the traditional wooden crafts of the Aegean whose building techniques go back to prehistory. After forming the Hellenic Institute for the Preservation of Nautical Tradition in 1981, Harry Tzalas started a program of experimental archaeology, with the scientific assistance of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at the A&M University of Texas. That led to the construction of the exact replica of the ship of Kyrenia, a fourth century B.C. merchantman. This was and is still the only experiment with shell-first construction attempted. His next program in experimental archaeology was the construction of a prehistoric sea-craft the "Papyrella" and paddling on the "Obsidian trail". Harry Tzalas took also an active part in the program of the construction of the Athenian Trireme, an Aglo-Hellenic project of experimental archaeology. Since 1985 Harry Tzalas has organized seven International Conferences of Ship Construction in Antiquity in Greece and the eighth is expected to take place in the summer of 2002. Since 1998 Harry Tzalas is leading a team of underwater archaeologists diving at Alexandria, Egypt for ancient and mediaeval ship-wrecks.


Scientific American Frontiers
Fall 1990 to Spring 2000
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