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A Late Bronze Age Shipwreck at Ulu Burun: Preliminary Analysis (1984-1985 Excavation Campaigns)

Cemalettin Pulak
Thesis: May 1987
Chair: Bass
Nautical Archaeology Program


A Late Bronze Age shipwreck, tentatively dated to the late 14th century B.C.E., was excavated in 1984 and 1985 by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Ulu Burun, a cape near Ka, Turkey. The ship's cargo comprised primarily raw goods including copper and tin ingots cast in the ox-hide and bun shapes, disc-shaped blue glass ingots, elephant and hippopotamus ivory, and Canaanite jars filled with resin and orpiment. Cargo of manufactured goods included glass beads, Cypriot pottery and possibly foodstuffs; it is probable that the Mycenaean pottery of the wreck was for shipboard use. Other finds included bronze tools, weapons, and balance-pan weights of common and zoomorphic forms; stone artifacts; beads of glass, faience, stone and amber; a scarab, a stone plaque and a fragmentary gold ring, all inscribed with Egyptian hieroglyphs; fragments of faience rhyta; gold and silver jewelry, some as scrap; sea-shell rings; and a Mycenaean sealstone and a globed pin of the type usually worn by Mycenaeans and dated to the end of the Mycenaean period and later. At least eight stone weight anchors were carried on the ship which was constructed in a similar manner to Greek ships a millennium later. The cargo clearly shows that the ship was sailing from east to west, but the nationality of her crew remains uncertain.

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