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The Tektaş Burnu Shipwreck: Shedding New Light on Classical Ionia

April 18, 2019 @ 6:00 pm EDT

Lecturer: Deborah Carlson

For three summers between 1999 and 2001, underwater excavations off the Aegean coast of Turkey at Tektaş Burnu revealed the remains of a small Greek merchant ship that sank between 440 and 425 B.C. or shortly thereafter.  Remains of the ship include a pair of marble ophthalmoi – the only eyes ever found in association with an ancient vessel – and the earliest securely dated examples of lead-filled anchor stocks.  The vessel was carrying a primary cargo of wine and pine tar contained in more than 200 transport amphoras and smaller quantities of East Greek pottery.  The amphora cargo includes jars from Mende, Chios, and the Samian peraia, but the largest portion is represented by previously unattributed type that can now be assigned to Ionian Erythrae.

At the time the Tektaş Burnu ship was wrecked in the third quarter of the fifth century B.C., Athens was the leading naval power in the Mediterranean, a position the Athenians achieved through the economic exploitation of allied city-states and heavy-handed control over maritime trade.  As the only Classical shipwreck ever to be fully excavated in Aegean waters, the Tektaş Burnu ship promises to shed light on local trade networks at a time when Ionia was thought to be mired in an “economic paralysis” brought on by the high cost of Athenian imperialism in the decades following the Ionian Revolt of 499 B.C.

Suggested Bibliography:

Carlson, D.N.  2003.  “The Classical Greek Shipwreck at Tektaş Burnu, Turkey,”        American Journal of Archaeology 107: 581-600.

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April 18, 2019
6:00 pm EDT
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Elizabeth Paulette Baughan


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