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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Archeology in Turkey

They call it the "place where ghosts don't jump". The location where many sea-vessels met their demise, hitting the inner banks of rigid rock formations. The steepest theater in the World, causing theater guests to hold on to their seats instead of each other.

5th Century Shipwreck

In 1999, the INA formed a Nautical Archeological Team to investigate the remains of a 5th century B.C. shipwreck located off the coast of the Aegean Coast of Turkey in Tektas, Burna. The excavation was lead by Nautical Archeologist and Director George Bass and Assistant Director Deborah Carlson from Texas A & M, with the assistance of a brilliant team of volunteers from Turkey, the U.S., Canada, Spain, the U.K., Australia, Holland, and Israel.

Tektas, Burna


The initial excavation of the wreck was grueling due to the team leader obtaining special permission and licensing to bring the remains of the wreck to the surface. It took quite a while and during the lapse of time, the volunteers tried to keep themselves busy by building living quarters fully equipped with an air conditioned bathroom and bedrooms, which were supremely decorated with fly strips.

After weeks of hard work creating time stamps and investigating, the team determined that the ship had been carrying a large shipment of wine, glass jars, pottery, and amphora's. "An Amphora is simply a ceramic vase with two handles and a long neck narrower than the body."

An example of an "Amphora"

Image Source

A volunteer aboard the ship discovered a drinking cup that was preserved in its original condition within another Tupperware like container. In the eyes of an Archeologist, the best kinds of finds are the ones that present a hundred treasures neatly packed into one little box.

"Remains of the ship also included a pair of marble ophthalmoi– the only ones ever found in association with an ancient vessel – and the earliest securely dated examples of lead-filled anchor stocks."

This Classical shipwreck was the first to be entirely excavated in Aegean waters. This incredible archeological find sheds light on local trade and economic order when "Athens is thought to have dominated maritime commerce in the Aegean."

Note: Tektas is known to be a very inhospitable location, so there is little photographic evidence of its sites and history.

Temple of Trajan


The Temple of Trajan in Akropolis, Bergam, was built in the 2nd century by Hadrian , son of Trajan. The temple's dedicatory inscription survives in the Vatican Museums and the granite and marble columns are still found standing in their original places. The Temple was said to have an enormous portico, much like the Temple of Hadrian,



The Asklepion was a revolutionary medical facility built in honor of Asklepios, the god of healing. It was also the world's first psychiatric hospital. Asklepion acted more along the lines of a day spa, tending to the gladiators, providing deep tissue massage, mud baths and warm Turkish bathing holes.

The Theater of Pergamum


Pergamum, built in the 3rd century, is known to be the steepest theater in the world, and has a seating capacity of 10,000. "There is a 246.5 m long and approximately 16 m wide stoa (portico) in front of the theater."

What's your favorite site in Turkey?

1 Comment:

Michele Cameron Drew said...

This blog is really looking wonderful, my archaeologist friend. The last time that I was here it was empty! I didn't realize you had started digging. :)


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