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Archaeology Lecture

October 28, 2016

Dr. Jones gave a lecture last week on archaeology and the excavation of ships, which had about 30 people in attendance. The main topic of conversation for his talk was that in 2004, 37 shipwrecks were found by the Marmaray Project and Excavations at Yenikapi. Yenikapi is a small area on the coast of Istanbul, Turkey with only a small part of the Mediterranean Sea separating the town from the country of Bulgaria. Yenikapi was originally inhabited by the Greeks and part of Constantinople. The 37 ships found is the largest amount ever found in the Mediterranean Sea. The project was directed by Cemal Pulak, and eight of the shipwrecks ended up being dismantled and excavated.

The ships found are thought to have carried goods from places such as Egypt, North Africa, and Sicily. The artifacts found are from the Byzantine period and included: animals, personal items of people, valuable coin collections, religious items, materials to make more boats, and small models of boats. The Theodosian Harbor of Yenikapi was briefly discussed by Dr. Jones as well. The audience gained interest when Jones showed pictures of older pictures of the harbor and compared it to the latest pictures of it. Jones said “We can use items found from archaeology to make assumptions about society back then.” He then went on to talk about different styles of the ships found at Yenikapi. He compared shell-based and frame-based hull construction. He said that frame-based uses less timber which made the ships able to carry cannons for battle.

Three of the ships that Jones discussed the most were named the YK 23, YK 11 and YK 14. The YK 23 was discovered in 2007 covered in sand. The sand can indicate that it was sunk in a storm. YK 23 was made fully of oak. YK 11 is a merchant ship with a capacity of eight tons. YK 11 was said to date back to AD 600-AD 650. YK 14 was found mixed with grey sand and shells. The pottery found on the ship dates back to the 9th century. YK 14 was made for short voyages. The remains of these ships helped archaeologists make sense of how the boats of that time were made. Some of the audience lost focus because Dr. Jones mainly just read off of his paper and made no eye contact but for the most part the audience was engaged. Professor Jazwa, the man that introduced Dr. Jones, said “Some of the findings of this project are now in the Archaeology Institute of America and in the Institute of Nautical Archaeology for all to see.”

Wesley Grant
Contributing Writer

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