4,000-year-old Minoan shipwreck discovered in Turkish waters
Turkish researchers from the Marine Science and Technology Institute of Dokuz Eylul University have discovered a 4,000-year-old shipwreck in the Marmaris Hisarönü Gulf, which is believed to be a trading ship from the Minoan civilization. It is the oldest shipwreck ever recovered in Turkish waters.
Turkish media outlet, TRT Haber, reports that the discovery was made following more than five years of investigations and analyses being conducted by the University’s Marine Sciences Institute, which has been carrying out an inventory of shipwrecks in the region.
Lead researcher Professor Abdurrahman Harun Özdaş from Dokuz Eylül University said that, so far, a team of 15 researchers including underwater archeologists, marine geophysicists, and biologists, has identified over 100 shipwrecks in the Marmaris Hisarönü Gulf, along with over 20 ports, 25 ship mooring areas, 400 anchors, and numerous archaeological remains dating from the Bronze Age to the Ottoman period. However, the latest discovery has been described as the most significant and historically important finding to date.
The 4,000-year-old shipwreck was discovered in the Marmaris Hisarönü Gulf.
Minoan Merchant Ship
The ship is thought to have been a merchant ship of the Minoan Civilization, which existed around 3650 to 1400 BC. Observations of the wreck and its objects suggest that it had been based on Crete but sank in a storm in the Gulf of Hisaronu. It now sits 40 metres below the ocean’s surface.
Underwater archaeologists examine objects found around the wreck. Credit: Yeni Asir
Uluburun, previously the oldest shipwreck found in Turkey
Until this discovery, the Uluburun had been the oldest wreck found in Turkey. The Uluburun is a 3,300-year-old shipwreck discovered off the coast of Uluburun (Grand Cape), near Kaş in south-western Turkey. It contained one of the wealthiest and largest known assemblages of Late Bronze Age items found in the Mediterranean. The ship was carrying over 20 tons of cargo, believed to be a royal order. In total, more than 18,000 spectacular artifacts have been recovered, including precious jewels, luxurious raw materials, and even the golden seal of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti. The artifacts were traced back to at least seven different cultures, including Mycenaean, Syro-Palestinian (forerunners of the Phoenicians), Cypriot, Egyptian, Kassite, Assyrian and Nubian.
The proveniences of the artifacts suggest that the Late Bronze Age Aegean was part of an international trade network perhaps based on royal gift-giving in the Near East, in which ships sailed the Mediterranean on a circular route from Syro-Palestine to Cyprus, onto the Aegean, and occasionally as far west as Sardinia, then back home via North Africa and Egypt.
Replica of the Uluburun shipwreck. Image source
Professor Abdurrahman Harun Özdaş has said that excavations will continue on the wreck, while testing and conservation work of finds from the ship will be carried out in the Bodrum Museum.
Watch a video showing footage of the wreck site (commentary is in Turkish):
Featured image: Underwater archaeologists examine objects found around the wreck. Credit: TRT Haber