Hisaronu Bronze Age Shipwreck

A team from Dokuz Eylül University’s Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology under the direction of Assoc. Prof. Harun Özdaş, has been conducting a comprehensive underwater archaeological survey along the Turkish coast since 2004. One of the most significant finds of 2014   season was a Bronze Age shipwreck site in the Hisarönü Bay, southwestern Turkey.

The excavation of the site began in 2015 under the general directorship of Marmaris Museum. Assoc. Prof. Harun Özdaş is the director of the project that took place during the months of July and August. ProMare has sponsored the project upon the terms of a protocol approved by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Initial season’s finds from the site has close archaeological parallels from Knossos Palace complex on Crete and the Palace of Hattusa, capital of the Hittite Empire in Central Anatolia. The shipwreck is likely to shed light on the relationship between the major centers of the Bronze Age. Based on the studies conducted on the finds, the Hisarönü Shipwreck can be dated to the first half of the second millennium B.C., preceding the other Bronze Age shipwrecks of Şeytan Deresi, Kaş Uluburun and Cape Gelidonya also found along the Turkish coast. The site, therefore, represents one of the earliest manifestations of the seafaring activities in the Aegean Sea.

Initial study of the finds suggests that this is likely to be a merchant vessel that has crashed on the rocky seashore while navigating between Anatolian coast and the Aegean Islands. Artifact distribution indicates that part of the cargo was scattered on the slope and the ship rested on the rocky seabed.

An underwater cave near the site was also discovered during the first season. Upon preliminary exploration, it is established that the cave has been inhabited in the past, when its entrance was above sea level. It is possible that the cave and its function might be related to the shipwreck site. Therefore, the investigation of this find will also be included in the future seasons’ planning.