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The Classical Greek Shipwreck at Tektaş Burnu, Turkey

The Classical Greek Shipwreck at Tektaş Burnu, Turkey


The remains of a fifth-century B.C. shipwreck were discovered off the Aegean coast of Turkey by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) in 1996. Excavation of the wreck between 1999 and 2001 determined that the ship had been carrying a cargo of wine contained in about 200 amphoras of the so-called pseudo-Samian type, which have been found at various sites along the Black Sea coast but are not presently attributed to any specific site. An amphora stamp from the wreck, however, suggests that these 200 pseudo-Samian jars may have been produced at nearby Erythrae. The ship was also carrying lesser quantities of pine tar, East Greek pottery, and amphoras from Chios, Mende, and Samos. 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. Presently dated to ca. 440–425, the wreck is an important addition to the rather limited corpus of archaeological evidence for fifth-century Ionia. Furthermore, as the only Classical shipwreck ever to be fully excavated in Aegean waters, this modest vessel promises to shed light on the local trade networks and overall economic condition of Ionia at a time when Athens is thought to have dominated maritime commerce in the Aegean.

The Classical Greek Shipwreck at Tektaş Burnu, Turkey

By Deborah Carlson

American Journal of Archaeology Vol. 107, No. 4 (October 2003), pp. 581–600

DOI: 10.3764/aja.107.4.581

© 2003 Archaeological Institute of America