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“World’s Oldest” Shipwreck Found Off Coast of Turkey

Underwater researchers in Turkey have found what they believe may be the world’s oldest shipwreck, a bronze age craft found off the shores of southern Turkey that dates back to 1600 B.C.

Discovered in 50 feet of water off the shore of the Antalya province, a team from Antalya University’s Underwater Research Department says the 3,600-year-old wreck (known as the Western Antalya Shipwreck) is 14 meters long and contains one and a half tonnes of copper bullion.

Speaking to journalists at a press conference, Antalya Governor Munir Karaoglu described the discovery as an “archaeological breakthrough” and potentially both the oldest shipwreck in existence and the world’s earliest vessel carrying industrial goods, comparing it with the world’s oldest known temple at the Göbekli Tepe archaeological site in terms of it’s importance.

The copper bullion is said to be the main find from the wreck and has been discovered to have it’s origins in Cyprus, the bullion being transported to either Aegean shores or Crete when the vessel was likely caught in a storm.

“From the typology of the bullion, we determined that the shipwreck was one of the merchant vessels of the 16th century. It has broken fresh ground in underwater archeology thanks to these findings.”

Akan Öniz, Antalya University researcher

The team working at the site intends to raise the discovered artefacts for display at a museum in the Kemer district and commence a five-year project with a team of local and international researchers to further investigate the wreck.

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