A Middle Bronze Age shipwreck discovered at Kumluk, off Antalya, on Turkey’s southern coast, is believed to be one of the world’s oldest known wrecks. It represents a significant discovery for underwater archeology from this early period.
A team of 40 experts led by Professor Hakan Yoniz has been conducting underwater excavations off the coast of Antalya and recently discovered new relics belonging to the ship and its crew.
Using advanced technology and robots, they removed 30 copper blocks weighing 1.5 tons, amphorae and sailors’ personal belongings from the ship, Anadolu Agency (AA) reported.
Underwater archaeologists equipped with special apparatus painstakingly recovered artifacts from a ship that sank 3,600 years ago at a depth of approximately 50 meters.
Some items took a month to extract, using small tools and vacuum devices to avoid damaging the unique artifacts.
The finds, particularly the copper ingots (castings) representing the currency of the time, highlight the region’s rich cultural heritage, including its role in the early history of maritime trade and shipbuilding.
“This ship, which was probably loaded with copper from the mines on the island of Cyprus, sank during a storm on its way to the island of Crete,” Ioniz said.
“This happened approximately 3,550 to 3,600 years ago. In this context, the Middle Bronze Age shipwreck of Kumluka still holds the title of the oldest merchant ship in the world,” Oniz added.
All restored objects go through a salt removal process at the Regional Laboratory for Restoration and Conservation in Antalya.
Work continues on one of the world’s oldest shipwrecks, at great depth, which is expected to reveal more unique artifacts of underwater archaeology.
Photo: Divers past one of the ‘oldest known shipwrecks’, Antalya | AA