Yenikapi metro dig reveals fifth-century shipwreck

One of the shipwrecks found during the excavations carried out as part of the Marmaray project

Today's Zaman

Archeological digs at Yenikapı, the site of excavations for an important transfer hub in İstanbul's metro system, the Marmaray project, have revealed yet another marvel: an intact shipwreck believed to be from the fifth century, complete with its load.

Researchers, who have been working on the site since 2004, are in the process of uncovering the well-preserved remains of the ship. One archeologist said this is probably the first time in the world that a shipwreck had been found with its full load and timber frame completely in tact.

“The width of the wreck is about five meters. This is one gunwale. There is probably another one which has not yet been uncovered. Some of the amphoras on top [of the cargo] are broken but those in the lower layers appear to be intact. This is the largest cargo ship yet to be uncovered.

There is no other example in the world of a shipwreck where the timber of the ship as well as its load are in such good condition. If the wreck had been at sea, it would not have been this well preserved,” said archeologist Mehmet Ali Polat, quoted by the Radikal daily on Wednesday.

The wreck is among some 35 sunken ships at the old Byzantine harbor which had silted over, probably in the 10th century.

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