4,000-year-old sunken ship found in Turkey

4,000-year-old sunken ship found in Turkey is among oldest in the world

(Read the article on one page)

A recent excavation at the port of Urla underwater archaeological site in Turkey has revealed a sunken ship that is believed to date back 4,000 years, according to a report in Hurriyet Daily News . The surprising discovery is the oldest known shipwreck ever found in the Mediterranean, and is also among the oldest known shipwrecks worldwide.

The discovery was made by the Research Center for Maritime Archaeology (ANKÜSAM) at the University of Ankara, during excavations at the well-known Port of Urla underwater site, a port city located near Izmir. The actual port dates back to the 7 th century BC, but maritime history in the area dates back more than 5,000 years.

The shipwreck in Urla, Turkey

The shipwreck was discovered near Urla, Turkey. Image source .

The port of Urla, which served the ancient Greek settlement of Klazomenai, sunk following a natural disaster, probably an earthquake, in the 8th century BC, making the area popular for underwater research. Numerous sunken ships have already been found in Urla, ranging from the 2 nd century BC to the Ottoman period. Uncovering a ship that is believed to date back to around 2,000 BC, is incredibly rare and significant.

“If we confirm that the sunken ship [we have found] is 4,000 years old, it will be a very important milestone for archaeology,” said Professor Hayat Erkanal, the head of Limantepe excavations for the underwater ancient city of Klozemenai and director of ANKÜSAM.

The research team is now working to confirm its age with more precision, examine its features, and clean salt from the materials to prevent further deterioration. Erkanal explained that it can take up to 8 years to completely remove a sunken ship from the water.

A researcher working on one of the artifacts

A researcher working on one of the artifacts recovered from the ship. Image source: Hurriyet Daily News.

It was only two weeks ago that another significant underwater discovery was made in the Mediterranean – a 2,700-year-old Phoenician shipwreck near Malta’s Gozo island. But the oldest known shipwreck, until now, to have been found in the Mediterranean was the world-famous Uluburun shipwreck , found off the coast of Kas in Turkey in 1982. The Uluburun dates back 3,300 years and contained one of the wealthiest and largest known assemblages of Late Bronze Age items.

It is hoped that the new discovery will provide archaeologists with an abundance of information about society, culture, and maritime history across the Mediterranean.

Featured image: Marine archaeologists work to uncover an artifact found alongside the newly discovered shipwreck. Image source: Hurriyet Daily News .

By April Holloway


angieblackmon's picture

Each wreck provides another piece of the puzzle and more artifacts. I significantly feel as if I've missed my calling. 

love, light and blessings


Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article