Turkish archaeologists have discovered the world’s ‘oldest’ Bronze Age shipwreck off the coast of Antalya.
A group of Turkish underwater researchers has found a 3,600-year-old Bronze Age shipwreck, which could be the world’s oldest shipwreck, off the shores of southern Turkey’s Antalya province, the province’s governor’s office said Monday.
The shipwreck, estimated to date back to 1600 B.C., was discovered off the western shores of the city by Antalya University’s Underwater Research Department.
The 14-meter-long shipwreck was found in 50-meter depth, with 1.5 tons of copper bullion from Cyprus inside it, reports said.
Speaking to reporters, Governor Münir Karaloğlu said the artefacts will be removed from the wreck and displayed at a museum in Kemer district, which will become “the epicentre of underwater archaeology”.
Stating that copper bullion was the main find in the wreck, Hakan Öniz, one of the researchers from Antalya University, noted: “From the typology of the bullion, we determined that the shipwreck was one of the merchant vessels of the 16th century B.C. It has broken fresh ground in underwater archeology thanks to these findings”.
Preliminary research found that the bullion had come from the mines in Cyprus and molded in 15 or 16 centuries B.C. and was being transported to Aegean shores or Crete when the ship sunk.
“It was probably caught in the middle of a storm while travelling to the Aegean [northwest of Antalya] region from Cyprus. It was carrying a cargo of copper bullion and type of that bullion helped us date the ship. This may well be world’s earliest vessel carrying industrial goods”, Öniz said, adding that they would now form a team with local and international researchers for a five-year project to further investigate the wreck.