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Birthplace & home of Underwater archaeology

Underwater Archaeology in Bodrum - Uluburun Shipwreck

Salvage of shipwrecks dates back centuries, but scientific underwater archaeology is a recent discipline born in Bodrum. It was conceived in 1959 when Peter Throckmorton, an American journalist and salvage diver, dove on several shipwrecks guided by Turkish sponge fisherman Kemal Aras. It was Throckmorton’s decision to seek help from professional
archaeologists that led to the birth of scientific underwater +archaeology with the first dives of Prof. George Bass and his team in 1960. It was given substance by the establishment of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) and the creation of the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology in the Bodrum Castle.

The following years saw the rigorous, time-consuming excavation and analysis of ancient shipwrecks shedding light on many aspects of our past. The world gained valuable knowledge of shipbuilding, shipping methods and life aboard ships, of trade goods and trade routes, and of the supply of raw materials and
the manufacture of goods.

Thousands of hours of dives, underwater mapping, excavations on the seabed, careful raising of recovered artifacts and the subsequent painstaking scholarship are all part and parcel of scientific underwater archaeology. The fruit of these endeavors is made accessible to the public by the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology which places these imposing results in a meaningful context. Prestigious publications like ‘National Geographic’ and ‘Time’ magazines have reported this work, but nothing can replace the personal experience of seeing the artifacts, reconstructed shipwrecks as they had rested on the bottom of the sea and other exhibits showing excavation and recovery methods used during the digs. With the added mystique of the Knights of St. John who built the castle housing the museum, visitors to Bodrum seldom – if ever - fail to pay it a highly rewarding visit.

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