Major find as eight sunken ships discovered in the Aegean
A team of underwater archaeologists from Dokuz Eylül University’s Institute of Marine Science and Technology (IMST) have discovered eight new shipwrecks in the Aegean Sea, near Antalya in Turkey, according to a report in Hurriyet Daily News. The ships are believed to belong to the Ottoman era and will be handed over to the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology for study and hopefully later display to the public.
The IMST, which trains underwater archaeology graduate students to investigation ancient shipwrecks, determine ancient sea trade routes, and examine ancient harbours and their submerged remains, was conducting underwater research on sunken ships between Datça peninsula and Antalya, when they discovered the eight new sunken ships.
Map showing area between Datça peninsula and Antalya where shipwrecks were found
“The main purpose of the project is to expand the inventory of sunken ships. From the beginning of this year, we have been focusing on the ships that sank during the Ottoman times. During three months of research, we discovered eight new sunken ships,” said the institute’s deputy director Associate professor Harun Özdaş.
The discovery adds to incredible wealth of underwater archaeological finds which have been found in the same stretch of water, such as the famous Uluburun Shipwreck discovered near Antalya in 1982. The Uluburun Shipwreck is dated to the Late Bronze Age, approximately 1300 BCE, the time of exceptionally intensive network of seafaring, entrepreneurial trade and diplomatic exchange in the Eastern Mediterranean. Given the rich history of the region, it was impossible to determine the origin of the ship as it contained items belonging to a multitude of cultures including Mycenaean, Cypriot, Canaanite, Kassite, Egyptian, and Assyrian.
The Uluburun Shipwreck is a Late Bronze Age shipwreck dated to the late 14th century BCE, discovered close to the east shore of Uluburun. Photo source: Antalyainfo.org
According to the researchers from the IMST, the newly-discovered shipwrecks belong to the time of the Ottoman Empire, which took control of Antalya in the 14 th century. The Ottoman Empire flourished during the 16th and 17th centuries when, at the height of its power under the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, it controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia, the Caucasus, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa.
A number of other Ottoman ships have been found on the sea floor of the Aegean, such as the well-known ‘Ottoman Wreck’ in Yassiada, the oldest wreck that is able to be visited by dive tours. The 16 th century Ottoman Wreck is still intact surrounded by antique amphorae, relics, pots and pans. Constructed of oak and iron nails, measuring 21-23 meters from bow to stern, the ship had smashed into a reef that jutted just below the surface of the water. Researchers believe that the ship was emptied of its cargo and evacuated by other ships of the Ottoman fleet before slipping beneath the water.
A saique ship resembling the style seen in the Ottoman Wreck
No details have been released yet regarding the identity, origin, cargo, and nature of the eight sunken ships or their level of preservation. It is hoped that this information will be soon be released so the public can share in this incredible discovery.
Featured image: Amphorae discovered near sunken ship found near Antalya, Turkey. Photo source: Hurriyet Daily News.