Much of history lies below the surface

By Eiichi Miyashiro / Yuki Ogawa -The Asahi Shimbun

Research of ruins on seabeds and in lakes or rivers is increasing in Japan, where many sites are yet to be fully explored.

In Kushimoto in Wakayama Prefecture, the U.S.-based Institute of Nautical Archaeology held an excavation survey January and February of the Ertugrul, a Turkish warship that went down off the coast during the Meiji Era (1868-1912).

The 2,344-ton wooden battleship of the Ottoman Empire's navy was on its return voyage after paying a courtesy call on Emperor Meiji in 1890 when the ship was caught in a storm, run aground and went down.

All but 69 of the 650 souls on board perished in the disaster.

The story of the brave rescue efforts by local residents remains a part of Turkish historical lore to this day. The survey team, led by Turkish archaeologist Tufan Turanli, consisted of members from Turkey, Spain and Japan. 

This year, the team salvaged 3,513 items, including armaments, broken ceramic pieces, coins and a large cooking pot.

Turanli said at a meeting on the finds said that the team was able to salvage three times as many relics as last year.

He said survey was providing valuable insight into the military during the last days of the Ottoman Empire.

japan Institute of Nautical Archaeology Kushimoto Wakayama Prefecture the Ertugrul Turkish warship Meiji Era