Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Mapping Turkey's sunken heritage


Turkish Daily News
September 05, 2007

An ambitious five year project mapping Turkey's underwater history has been launched by the Dokuz Eylül University's (DEÜ) Marine Sciences and Technologies Institute (DBTE), the first such activity to be carried out by a Turkish university.

The lost underwater history of the Aegean and Mediterranean project, which began in May has already located over 20 shipwrecks, eight underwater ruins, and six sunken locations dating back to the Ottoman era. Our goal is to find the sunken heritage of our country, said Harun Özdaş, project manager and Underwater Archaeology assistant professor at DEÜ. Some 12 scientists have been assigned to the project including archaeologists, biologists and geophysicists.

So far we dived to 15 sunken areas between Anamur and İzmir. We came across many sunken places in the gulf of Gökova, Özdas said.

The Piri Reis Research Ship and the Bodrum School Ship are being used for the studies, and diving permission granted by the Culture Ministry allows access to restricted zones. Upon completion of the project, the data will be published in geography books mapping the sunken history of Turkey.

Studies are being carried out at a depth of 20-40 meters underwater. Findings we discovered in Alaçatı belong to 5 B.C. The ones in Gökova belong to the Hellenistic and Roman period. We focus on the commercial route of old times. We are planning to carry out a project in the Black Sea after the Aegean and Mediterranean, Özdaş said.

Underwater remains provide important information about the life in the past, as well as about geological changes. The remains reveal the changes in the water level of the Aegean and Mediterranean. We can also find information about construction technologies employed. So far we have found plates, tiles and different cargo ships, he said.


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