23 February 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

History of 8,500 years waits for a museum

The conservation process of the Yenikapı shipwrecks, which were discovered during the Marmaray project and considered the largest collection of ancient ships in the world, was stopped due to the lack of a museum and warehouse.

During the construction of a new subterranean rail line linking Europe and Asia, hundreds of laborers and archaeologists of the Istanbul Archaeological Museums exposed remains of over 8,000 years of the city’s history, ranging from Neolithic dwelling foundations and burials to Ottoman cisterns and workshops.

The Yenikapı site, located in the Istanbul neighborhood of the same name, witnessed one of the world’s largest archaeological digs between 2004 and 2013. After the excavations finished in 2013, a conservation process started, which has been going on for 10 years.

Thanks to the waterlogged anaerobic sediments that filled the harbor at Yenikapı, many artifacts were recovered, including pottery, bone, glass, coins, and other metalwork, as well as organic objects such as wood, rope, and leather that were well preserved. In addition to hundreds of anchors and other items of ship’s equipment, archaeologists also uncovered 37 exceptionally well-preserved shipwrecks of 5th- to late 10th- or early 11th-century AD date.

However, a museum has not been established since that period so that these works can be exhibited.

Stating that the Theodosius Harbor is the largest medieval ship collection in the world, Istanbul University’s Professor Ufuk Kocabaş said that thousands of archaeological artifacts await a museum.

“Istanbul has great potential in terms of underwater archeology. The city has the world’s largest repertoire of medieval sunken ships. This collection is not yet on display at a museum. But now the time has come. A museum where the artifacts from Yenikapı shipwrecks will be exhibited will attract millions of tourists to Istanbul and will bring this heritage to the fore,” he said.

Reminding that in 2010, when Istanbul became the world capital, a project had been designated to establish a museum in the region where Yenikapı Marmaray and metro stations are located, Kocabaş said: “ Kadir Topbaş, the mayor at that time, organized an international competition for the museum station project. Various projects were delivered in this competition, and as a result, a project was chosen to establish a museum in the area where Marmaray and metro stations are located in Yenikapı. After the completion of the process, tenders were expected to be held in 2015 for implementation. Unfortunately, a museum has not been established since then. I don’t see any preparation at the moment, too. Tens of thousands of Istanbul residents travel every day in a historical texture.”

Speaking to Demirören News Agency, Kocabaş said that the conservation process of the artifacts requires a long procedure due to a large number of shipwrecks.

“There are many water-absorbed wood in the shipwrecks. These have absorbed water into their tissues and are degraded. In this process, chemical substances need to be slowly absorbed into these artifacts. We also use advanced technological devices to dry the works. These procedures continue because the number of wrecks is too many, and it is a long procedure. But the realization of the museum project will pave the way for us. Since a museum or a very good warehouse has not been established, we cannot move on to new shipwrecks. In this sense, there is a break in our workflow. A museum must be established in order to preserve the artifacts,” he said.

Cover Photo: Seventh-century shipwreck YK 11 prior to dismantling. Photo: INA, Yenikapi 2019

Related Articles

Temple of Zeus Lepsynos in Turkey regains its glory

9 May 2022

9 May 2022

The temple of Zeus in the ancient city of Euromos in southwestern Turkey regains its original splendor with the revitalization...

3800-years-old Akkadian Cuneiform Tablet found in Turkey’s Hatay

11 August 2023

11 August 2023

A 3,800-year-old Akkadian cuneiform tablet was found during the archaeological excavations carried out in the Aççana Mound, the old city...

Researchers found similar descriptions in the Book of Revelation and ancient curse tablets

10 February 2023

10 February 2023

A research project headed by Dr. Michael Hölscher of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), has uncovered that the book of...

İnteresting Relief on the Roman Millstone

20 February 2021

20 February 2021

During the Cambridgeshire A14 road improvement work, workers found an interesting millstone. A large penis was engraved in the Roman-era...

A gilded silver Anglo-Saxon object “made by someone with a real eye for loveliness” has the experts baffled

2 January 2024

2 January 2024

An enigmatic Anglo-Saxon object has been unearthed in a captivating discovery near Langham, Norfolk, East of England. This gilded silver...

Patara Ancient City Lighthouse is Reconstructed with Artificial Intelligence

25 March 2021

25 March 2021

Artificial intelligence technology was used for the reconstruction of the lighthouse, which is located in the ancient city of Patara,...

A Dice Game board from 5th century BC found in western Turkey’s Daskyleion

6 September 2023

6 September 2023

Archaeologists found a terracotta dice game tabla dating back to the fifth century B.C. during the excavations of the ancient...

‘Mysterious’ inscription on ancient Dacia sphinx is deciphered

3 January 2024

3 January 2024

The mystery of the inscription on the bronze sphinx statue discovered in the early 19th century was solved 200 years...

An extraordinary votive treasure was unearthed in the ancient Roman bath sanctuary of San Casciano Dei Bagni in Italy

7 August 2022

7 August 2022

In San Casciano Dei Bagni, a Tuscan hill town famous for its hot springs, 40 miles southeast of Siena, unique...

Evidence found of Goose domestication in Neolithic China 7,000 years ago

8 March 2022

8 March 2022

Geese may have been domesticated in what is now China as early as 7,000 years ago, according to a study...

Extremely well-preserved 2000-year-old child’s leather Shoe Discovered During Archaeological Mine Excavations

1 September 2023

1 September 2023

An “extremely well-preserved” Iron Age child’s shoe was discovered in Austria during excavations at Dürrnberg, near the historic town of...

73 intact Wari mummy bundles and Carved Masks Placed On False Heads Discovered In Peru

1 December 2023

1 December 2023

At Pachacámac, an archaeological site southeast of Lima in Peru, archaeologists unearthed bundles of 73 intact mummy bundles, some containing...

A Roman sarcophagus containing two skeletons was found in Bath, England

29 June 2021

29 June 2021

Stone walls, a Roman sarcophagus, and a cremation burial have been unearthed in a renovation project at the Bathwick Roman...

Artifacts used for ancient magic rituals discovered on Darb al-Hajj route from Cairo to Mecca

11 September 2023

11 September 2023

The artifacts, found in the 1990s on the ancient Darb al-Hajj route from Cairo to Mecca, may have been in...

The three-headed statue of Goddess Hecate discovered in Turkey’s Mersin

18 August 2023

18 August 2023

In the ancient city of Kelenderis in Mersin, located in the south of Turkey, the statue of the 3-headed goddess...