Sunken Treasure That Has Changed the Course of Ancient History; AFTER 3,000 YEARS, A SHIPWRECK GIVES UP ITS BRONZE AGE SECRETS
Byline: DAVID DERBYSHIRE
FOR 3,000 years, its dazzling riches lay hidden under the sea.
Today, the ancient shipwreck discovered off southern Turkey is recharting the course of history.
The vessel, which sank in 1316 BC, suggests that early Greek sailors may have travelled further and carried more goods than was previously documented.
When it went down - a century before the siege of Troy and 600 years before Greece's classical age - it was laden with jewels, metals and ivory from Egypt, Palestine, Africa and Cyprus. Historians believe they were part of a luxurious shopping list for one of Greece's despotic rulers.
Discovered in 1982 by a diver looking for sponges, the age of the wreck has only just been confirmed.
Professor George Bass, of Texas A and M University, who led the excavation, said it was one of the most important Bronze Age finds ever.
`I don't think anything can be written on the 14th century BC without someone mentioning this site,' he said. `We had theories about the way trading worked, but this has given us hard evidence.'
The ship was carrying ten tons of copper and one of tin. The cargo also included 175 blue and turquoise glass ingots from the Middle East and the earliest example of raw ebony logs from Africa. Terebinth resin taken from pistachio trees and hundreds of pieces of snail shell - both used to create incense - were also found. …