The Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology

Sparkles From The Deep

The Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology

The Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology was established in The Bodrum Castle in 1964. Initially, restoration of the castle was the priority; later, exhibition halls were created in the available space. Today, there are 14 exhibition halls in The Museum of Bodrum. As is clear from the name of museum, it includes mostly underwater artifacts.

The Glass Hall, with is ongoing exhibition of glass and glassware, was opened in 1986, with the assistance of Paşabahçe Glass and Bottle Factory. General information about the museum’s glass collection is provided here. The specimens are exhibited in darkness, with illumination from below. This method of exhibition permits beter viewing of all the various markings and colors of the glass. Specimens dated from the 14th century BC to the 11th century AD are on display. The hall also contains an aquarium, which has been set into an indentation in the wall. The aquarium has a small, but detailed model, which illustrates an underwater excavation.

All of the specimens found in the excavations of Uluburun between 1984-1995 will be exhibited in Uluburun Shipwreck Hall, which is scheduled to open in 1999. Excavation and research of the oldest shipwreck in the world dated to the 14th century BC was conducted first under the direction of Prof. Dr. George Bass, and later under the direction of Dr. Cemal Pulak, under the auspices of Universty of Texas A.M. and The Underwater Archaeology Institute. This shipwreck was found and dated in 1982 by a team under the direction of T.Oğuz Alpözen, the director of The Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology. The cargo of the ship consisted mostly of copper ingots. There are also more than 150 pure-thin, resin, cobalt blue, turquoise and lavender-colored flat, round glass ingots. These ingots constitute the oldest glass artifacts of the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology.

The shipwreck, dated to the late Roman period in the 4th – 5th century AD, was found in a water depth of 36-42 meters near Yassıada, off the shore of Turgutreis, a town at the west end of the Bodrum peninsula. It was excavated between 1967-1969, under the direction of Prof. Dr. George F. Bass, under the auspices of The University of Pennsylvania. Along with several amphorae, one complete glass jug was found in the excavation. This glass jug is exhibited in the Glass Hall.

The East Roman ship, which was dated to the 7th century AD, was excavated between 1961-1964 by a team under the direction of Prof. Dr. George F. Bass. It was reconstructed to actual-size in an old chapel which was used as exhibition hall before 1997. Both models and real-life specimens are exhibited in the reconstructed ship. The ship is believed to have sunk after running aground on a sandbar near Yassıada. It was carrying provisions for the army of Emperor Heraclius during the war with the Persians. Only one 7th century AD glass bottle was recovered from the East Roman shipwreck; it is exhibited in the hall.

A shipwreck foundd at a depth of 32 meters in Serçe Limanı (Harbor), 24 miles west of Marmaris, was excavated and researched by Prof. Dr. George F. Bass between 1977-1979. Excavation revealed that the ship had two latten sails, 16 meters long and 5 meters wide, with a cargo capacity of 35 tons. The broken glass and glass ingots which were stowed in sacks and baskets in the hold of ship reveal this to be a trade-ship. Sumac and raisins were carried in the amphoras, along with fragments of broken glass. The ship was dated by examining copper coins, golden Fatimid coins, and glass weights on which the name of the caliph of Fatimid was printed.

The hall mentioned above was built by The Ministry of Culture especially for the exhibition of the wooden remains of Serçe Limanı shipwreck, its glass and other artifacts.