Abstract: Living low on the high seas of Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean

 In the summer of 2010, fifty years after the excavation that pioneered underwater archaeology as a scientific discipline, the lecturer co-directed, with George Bass and a Turkish colleague, Harun Özdaş, a return to Gelidonya.  The starting point for this lecture is a report on that season and what more we have learned about the shipwreck since the publication of the original excavation.

The ship that sank at Gelidonya belonged to a tinker plying his trade, probably on a local circuit. Less than a day’s sail north, another shipwreck illustrates the opposite end of the spectrum of Bronze Age overseas ventures. The ship that sank at Uluburun, a century before Gelidonya and in the heyday of the Late Bronze Age, carried treasures and wealth also documented in the archives of the kings of Ugarit and of the pharaoh Akhenaton at Amarna. The second part of this lecture, however, focuses on one of the humbler cargoes laden on board, the mass-produced Cypriot ceramic vessels.


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