What was life really like in the old days?
There were no photographs or films and not many books. People told stories but most were not written down at the time.
One way of learning about things from ancient times is to make copies so you can find out how they work.
The Jewel of Muscat Project team did just that. They built an ancient ship that they sailed to Singapore.
How do we know what an old sailing ship looks like?
In 1998, a fisherman found a shipwreck. He discovered beautiful pots and other treasures from ancient times. When the shipwreck and its cargo were studied by experts they discovered many things.
They worked out that the ship had been made in Arabia and that the planks of wood that form the hull were sewn together using a very old technique.
They also discovered that the ship had sailed between Arabia and China nearly 1200 years ago.
The Jewel of Muscat was built to look like the ship that the fisherman found. It is made from many of the same materials.
In this video, the Construction Director Tom Vosmer explains the importance of the shipwreck to the project. Information gained from the shipwreck about the hull, construction methods and materials will be used to reconstruct the 9th-century trading vessel, the Jewel of Muscat. When launched the ship will be sailed to Singapore to be part of a museum.
This video explains how coir rope is made and how a traditional Omani sailing vessel, the Bateel, is constructed by sewing the planks together with coir rope.
Where did the Jewel of Muscat sail?
From their study of the shipwreck, experts believe that this ship had sailed from Arabia to China to trade, and was on its way home to Arabia with Chinese goods when it sank.
The Jewel of Muscat followed part of this ancient trade route and sailed from Oman to Singapore.
Singapore was an important place to visit on the long voyage to China and on the way home again. Supplies of food and water could be taken on board and cargo could be traded.
Why did trading ships from Oman sail to China?
No country can produce everything it needs so it buys and sells or exchanges goods with other places.
Omani people have been trading with other countries for thousands of years.
Oman traded goods such as horses, dates, perfume and dyes to colour cloth. In return ceramics (bowls and plates made from clay), silk and spices were brought back to Oman from the East.