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An 18th century warship found in the Aegean Sea

Turkish marine archaeologists have found the wreck of a warship, probably dating back to the 18th century. The discovery was made in the coastal waters of the Aegean Sea, near the Turkish town of Foça in Izmir province. Underwater archaeologists have been carrying out regular survey work in the area for 15 years. This has
Published: December 9, 2020 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 21:40
An 18th century warship found in the Aegean Sea

Turkish marine archaeologists have found the wreck of a warship, probably dating back to the 18th century. The discovery was made in the coastal waters of the Aegean Sea, near the Turkish town of Foça in Izmir province.

Underwater archaeologists have been carrying out regular survey work in the area for 15 years. This has yielded the excellent result of locating a number of archaeological sites. Five shipwrecks from different historical periods have also been discovered.

The latest discovery was located by sonar at a depth of 55 metres. This is obviously within the reach of experienced divers, but carrying out archaeological work at this depth is quite a challenge. Therefore, for the time being, the wreck has only been explored with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV).

The discovered vessel, probably dating from the 18th century, is partially buried in the sea bed. However, this did not prevent researchers from estimating that the vessel measured approximately 25 metres long and 7 metres wide. On the site, covering an area of 250 m2, a huge arsenal of 20 cannons cast in iron and bronze and ammunition in the form of cannon balls was also located.

At present, there is still no detailed information about the vessel and its origin, but kitchen utensils of Italian and Ottoman origin have been found on the wreck. These included plates, jugs, pipes and a reel. Some of the artefacts have been excavated and are now housed in the Museum of Underwater Archaeology in Bodrum.

A closer examination of this site will give us detailed information, about the daily life of sailors at that time, shipbuilding technology, distribution of military munitions and their types. The ship may have been sunk during the conflict between the Ottoman Empire and Italy, the so-called Ottoman-Venetian War, which lasted from 1714 to 1718. It is also possible that the wreck is the remains of a vessel belonging to pirates – explained one of the archaeologists taking part in the exploration of the newly-discovered site

The presence of this type of vessel in the region may not come as a surprise. Foça was a major naval base during the Ottoman Empire. Nevertheless, archaeologists are delighted with their discovery and stress that finding warship wrecks is always something unusual.

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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