Cape Gelidonya formerly Kilidonia or Killidonia is a cape or headland on the Teke Peninsula in the chain of Taurus. The Cape Gelidonya Wreck: Preliminary Report*. GEORGE F. BASS. PLATES 83 Just off Cape Gelidonya, in southwest Turkey, is a row of five tiny islands. FOR PROMOTING USEFUL KNOWLEDGE. NEW SERIES-VOLUME 57, PART 8. CAPE GELIDONYA: A BRONZE AGE SHIPWRECK. GEORGE F. BASS.

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The Gape Gelidonya excavation page on the Institute of Nautical Archaeology site is an excellent resource for summaries of gepidonya artifacts, techniques and project history.

It can be visited by navigating to http: INA is redesigning their website so eventually this link will change to http: We began class by briefly reviewing what archaeology is and why professionalism and rigorous standards are important to the field. Recently, Odyssey Marine, a treasure hunting company out of Tampa, Florida has received a lot of media attention due to their new television program, “Treasure Quest” on the Discovery Channel, and their recent discovery of HMS Victory.

Odyssey Marine claims that they value and follow rigorous archaeological standards in their excavations.

Unfortunately, this involves searching for “valuable” shipwrecks and looting them – typically of gold and silver coins. Thus every few months the news media erupts with the new discovery of a shipwreck found with “hundreds of millions” or gslidonya of dollars of gold and silver coins. The public is left with the impression that treasure hunting must be a very lucrative business.

The reality though is that these “billion dollar” claims are highly exaggerated.

Cape Gelidonya

Odyssey and other such companies promise huge returns on their investments. Unfortunately for their investors, Odyssey Marine – a publicly-traded company – has been posting a loss for the last three years. I guess their’ a sucker born every minute. If you watch Treasure Quest, you will see how Odyssey’s employees claim to be carrying out legitimate archaeological excavations to the same exacting standards set by professional nautical archaeologists.

They will also claim that they gelivonya the only people with the money and resources to explore these wrecks, and that if they did not excavate them, they would be lost to history forever. Nothing could be further from the truth. Odyssey keeps their find locations secret. Other than the initial reports published in the media of “treasure wrecks” being found, virtually nothing more is actually learned from these important resources that they are destroying.

Archaeological sites can only be excavated once. Unless you leave a portion of the site unexcavated, the material you dig up can never be looked at again in its original context.

Therefore, when you excavate a site, you must record as much information as possible while you are doing it, becausde if you don’t, that information will be lost forever. Treasure hunting companies often use extremely distructive methods to recover gold from wrecks which oftn destroy the very fragile remains of the ship’s structure. Very little can be learned archaeologically from a pile of gold coins, but the other artifacts, the distribution of the cargo, and geliconya remains of the ship itself can tell us a great deal about the lives of past seafarers.

We know surprisingly little about certain specific details of ship construction during the Age of Exploration, and if treasure hunting companies continue to destroy these wrecks, we might never learn. Archaeology essentially began after the Renaissance, when Europeans began rediscovering the past, especially the Classical civilizations of Greece and Rome.


Initially this took the form of visiting archaeological sites and collecting antiquities to display and show off to one’s friends. Professional archaeology developed in the 19th century by developing research questions, standards, and methodologies gdlidonya enabled researches to answer specific questions about the past.

Later, in the 20th century the field of archaeology underwent many radical changes as researchers gelixonya, discussed, and argued over various paradigms. The underlying theme of this time though was the importance placed on rigorous methods, including the creation shipweeck detailed site maps and plotting the location of individual artifacts or clusters of artifacts in order to understand gelidonua relationship to shipwrck other, both in the horizontal sense distribution over a given area and the vertical sense distribution underground, which corresponds with age.

Archaeologists recognized the plethora of archaeological material underwater, along coastlines, in lakes and in rivers.

Introduction to Nautical Archaeology Notes – Cape Gelidonya

Some professional archaeologists attempted excavations of these materials, but because they were not divers themselves they did not participate directly in the excavations. Instead, they stayed ashore and directed others to do their work for them. One one hand, early 20th-century underwater excavations at Artemision and Shipwrwck in Greece produced wonderfully preserved examples of original Greek Bronzes, or the Mahdia wreck of Tunisia loaded with marble columns, and were considered landmark projects in the fields of Art History.

On the other hand, from an archaeological persepctive, these sbipwreck did not conform to the same standards of land excavations and thus can not be considered true professional underwater archaeological gellidonya.

Scuba opened up the underwater world to anyone able to afford the equipment. Ethusiasts around ehipwreck world jumped on the bandwagon, but it took a while for archaeologists to catch onto the trend.

However, because Cousteau and the others were not professionally-trained archaeologists, their standards of mapping and excavations were not up to the same standards as terrestrial excavations. Commander Phillippe Taillez, who investigated the Titan wreck in the late s recognized the need for professional archaeologists to participate in the excavations. Finally, inGeorge Bass, a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania and professional archaeologist, travelled to the south coast of Turkey to excavate a Bronze Age shipwreck at Cape Gelidonya under the gelidoya of the Czpe of Pennsylvania Museum.

Remember, as a professional archaeologist: You must be directly involved with excavations 2. Have knowledge of artifacts, history and culture of a region or historic period Often, artifacts are intrusive – may not indicate accurate dates for a site. The Cape Gelidonya Excavation This site was originally discovered by local Turkish sponge divers and reported to Peter Throckmorton, and shipwerck American journalist who had travelled to the south coast of Turkey to write about the sponge divers and their industry in Cape of Cape Gelidonya on the south coast of Turkey.

The area around Cape Gelidonya is extremely treacherous and was known in ancient times as being especially dangerous. The Bronze Age ship at Cape Gelidonya probably hit a barely-submerged rock pinnacle near the island, then drifted to the north and west before finally sinking.

In the Lycian sea are the islands of Illyria, Telendos and Attelbosa, the three barren isles called Cyprae, and Dionesia, formerly called Caretha. Opposite to the promontory of Taurus [Cape Gelidonya] are the Chelionae, as many in number, and extremely dangerous to mariners. Some important considerations to remember regarding this excavation: Set standards for excavation under water.


The wreck late 90ft below the surface of the Mediterranean. Divers used both surface-supplied air as well as scuba geliconya. Currents were very strong, increasing the risk of kinking the air hose – which was simply a garden hose adapted for the purpose.

Based on distribution of the cargo, Dr. Bass believed the ship to be 30 – 35 ft in length. More recently, the discovery of a stone anchor that weighs as much as the largest anchor on the Bronze Age wreck at Uluburun believed to be 50 ft long has caused a re-evaluation ca;e the Gelidonya ship’s size.

By scaling the tenon found in comparison to the Uluburun tenons, one comes up with a figure of about 40ft. Shkpwreck nothing of the hull was preserved. One important wooden piece was this tenon which reveals shpwreck the ship was built in the shell-first manner using pegged mortise and tenon joints. Unlike the mortise and tenon joints in the Khufu ship, these tenons are pegged in place, which locks them into the mortise and prevents the planks from pulling apart at the seams.

This pegging replaces the lashing seen on the Khufu ship. Most of the cargo consisted of copper ingots. These are just under 2 ft. Prior to capd Cape Gelidonya excavations it was believed that these represented the value of an dape, and were deliberately shaped like ox hides to show this relationship. This is just coincidence: These ingots were poured into moulds in shipwrrck sand. Other ingots onboard included copper bun and slab ingots, and an unknown number of tin ingots.

Copper and tin are of course necessary to smelt bronze. The ship was also carrying many baskets full of broken bronze tools, several of which had Cypriote signs scratched on them. Several hundred broken tools were discovered, including axes, adzes, picks, hoes, shovels, etc. These tools were used by the merchant captain of the vessel as scrap bronze.

He would melt down the tools to make new ones, and add copper or tin from the ingots as needed.

This wreck is dated to about B. He would make trips around the coats making bronze objects to order and buying up broken tools to reuse the material. He would probably go ashore often and set up a make-shift fountry on the beach using sand, clay and stones. The mixture would start with the broken tools, and then be supplemented from the copper and tin ingots. Though the ingots were from Cyprus, the oil lamps found aboard were Syrian in origin. In additon, the baskets containing the Bronze tools were made using Near Eastern plants.

All signs point to a Syrian origin for the ship. Cape Gelidonya and the humble beginnings of Nautical Archaeology. Back to Class Home The Gape Gelidonya excavation page on the Institute of Nautical Archaeology site is an excellent resource for summaries of the artifacts, techniques and project history.

A Brief History of Underwater Archaeology Archaeology essentially began after the Renaissance, when Europeans began rediscovering the past, especially the Classical civilizations of Greece and Rome.