Monday, October 15, 2007

 

LATE BRONZE AGE SHIPWRECKS - Bodrum

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TurkaLive
October 15, 2007

This hall consists of three sections. In the first section artifacts from the Gelidonya Cape shipwreck of 2th century B.C. and the Şeytan Deresi Shipwreck of 16th century B.C. are displayed. On the left side of this section artifacts excavated from the world’s first scientific underwater excavation are placed. This shipwreck was shown to scientists by Captain Kemal Aras, owner of a sponge diving boat. The excavation of the shipwreck was carried out by George F. Bass in 1960. This is a Syrian commercial ship belonging to a merchant. Finds taken out from the shipwreck gives us information about the commerce of the age. The ship sunk at Antalya-Finike-Gelidonya Cape, at the location of Beş Adalar with copper nuggets it got from Cyprus. Large earthenware jars (pithos) and amphoras found on the right side of the first hall were shown to the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) by the sponge diver Cumhur İlik. The excavation of the shipwreck was carried out by Prof. George F. Bass in 1975.

In the second section the model of the Uluburun Shipwreck of 14th century B.C. can be seen on 1/1 scale. Under this model, the distribution of the shipwreck under water is displayed as it was found. In the third section various artifacts taken out from the excavation of the Kaş Uluburun shipwreck can be seen.

In the second hall the Kaş-Uluburn shipwreck is shown in the harbour and underwater.

Such an exhibition is first of its kind in the world. This ship was shown in 1982 by the sponge diver Mehmet Çakır of Bodrum. The first scientific dive to this boat was carried out in October 1982 by a team from the Museum Directorship. The excavation of the shipwreck was done between 1984-1994 by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) under the chairmanship of first Prof. Dr. George F. Bass and then of Dr. Cemal Pulak.

The ship’s load is spread over an area at 44-61 depth. It is approximately 15 m long and is made of cedar wood. The rich load of the Uluburun ship consists mainly of raw materials. It was carried in the form of 10 ton pure copper nuggets. Also about 1 ton of pure tin nuggets have been taken hold of. Bronze alloy is produced by mixing tin and copper at a ratio of 1/10. Over 150 of the oldest known glass nuggets have been found on the Uluburun ship. Ebony tree logs, hippopotamus teeth and ostrich eggs are other raw materials carried on the ship. Terebinth resin, glass beads and olive was carried inside amphoras of three different sizes. Besides raw materials finished products were also found on the shipwreck. Oil lamps, bowls, tin containers, flasks, tile drink containers are other materials found on the shipwreck. A rich group of jewelry from Canaan Country was excavated from the shipwreck.

Among the Egyptian artifacts in the shape of the scarab beetle used as personal seals or amulets, the golden seal of Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten’s wife Nefertiti (1376-1358 B.C. or 1339-1327 B.C.) was found. The ship is thought to have sunk in the period after the reign of Nefertiti. The scarab was found among a scrap pile of jewellery on the shipwreck. Cylindirical seals of Babylonian, Syrian and Palestine origin were found on the ship. Ivory cosmetics boxes, beads, rings made out of seashells, a golden goblet without a handle, a bronze goddess statuette whose neck, hands and feet are covered with gold leaf (perhaps the ship’s guardian goddess?), swords of Canaan and Mycenian origin, weapons of near eastern origin, bronze tools, zoomorphic scale weights of Syrian-Palestinian origin and geometrical weights, a wooden writing plate held together with ivory hinges, fishnet sinkers show the richness of the ship’s load.

The Uluburun ship is one of the most important finds of the last century. The cedar tree was used to date the ship to 1305 B.C. using dendrochronology.



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