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Reconstructing the Assemblage of Iron Artifacts from the Late Hellenistic Shipwreck at Kizilburun, Turkey

Kimberly Paige Rash
Chair of Advisory Committee: Dr. Deborah N. Carlson

December 2012


Artifacts found within the context of a shipwreck offer valuable insight into specific events surrounding a vessel's journey and also have broader implications regarding the time period of the ship's sinking. A collection of iron objects, excavated from the wreckage of a late Hellenistic ship carrying marble from the quarries at Proconnesus to the site of Claros, provides details of the implements vital to this ship's passage. It was
necessary that the completely corroded and encrusted iron artifacts undergo months of conservation, in the form of replication, stabilization of the iron where it survived, and restoration before they could be cataloged and researched thoroughly.

The largest of the iron concretions was found to contain an anchor belonging to the ship. Being found on the same ship with wooden composite anchors, the iron anchor excavated at Kızılburun represents an important step in the transition in the use of wooden and lead composite anchors to their eventual replacement by anchors made solely of iron. The remaining identified objects comprise a collection of tools as well as three fasteners, all of which provide insight into the necessary equipment of an ancient wooden ship.


Within the scope of this thesis, the conservation of each iron object is detailed, and a discussion of the implements enhances the understanding of their use aboard a seagoing vessel. Further research into similar objects and the development of each tool type offers insight into their value to the ancient seaman. Finally, a catalog of the artifacts is included, in order to provide measurements and technical drawings so that perhaps the
currently unidentified artifacts can be compared to examples from other sites.

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