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Underwater archaeologists examine objects found around the wreck.

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.

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.

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.

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

By April Holloway



Many years ago, archaeologists found a large settlement in Tennesse with signs of smelting.  The people had lived there a long time, probably hundreds of years, based on burials.  No one could figure out these people or place them in the historical record.

Then about 10 years ago divers found a Minoan wreck off of Turkey.  It had artifacts identical to the Tennessee find, including bronze ingots identical to the molds in Tennessee.  We now call these molds “ox-hide” molds because of their shape.   But at the time, no one could figure it out.

We have learned a pack of lies about history in school.  Tens of thousands of people from the Mediterranean came to the Americas over a very long stretch of time.  Egyptians, Greeks, Phoeneicians, you name it, they came here.

The Americas used to have a huge civilization, or perhaps many of them.  From the giant mounds of the Ohio valley to the massive canals in Florida, to the amazing stone works of New England, humans have built a lot of stuff in America.  

Tom Carberry

Hello Joe,

Thank you for your support. Right now I am in the process of raising the money and I do have some of the money needed already but more always helps.

Kathyrin, you need someone to front you alot of money, i have not that kind of amount at all. your best bet is leap of faith on a trip there, volunteer at big universitythat might send others there, and see if they pay for you to go on expedition with them, if they allow it. good luck with that :) volunteer as their baggage carrier.

This was extremely interesting to red. And what I want to do in really life, If you want to help me make this true than please click on the link.

Please show picture of queen nefertiti gold seal :)

aprilholloway's picture


April Holloway is a Co-Owner, Editor and Writer of Ancient Origins. For privacy reasons, she has previously written on Ancient Origins under the pen name April Holloway, but is now choosing to use her real name, Joanna Gillan.

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