Yenikapı Byzantine harbor and wrecks


The Yenikapı site, located in a neighbourhood in Istanbul, was discovered during the construction of stations developed by the Turkish Ministry of Transport and the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Excavations in 2010 covered an area of 85,000 square metres and started 3 metres above sea level. Experts decided to conserve the onshore architectural remains, such as the sea walls and a part of the breakwater, on the original site.

Wanjiao No.1 Shipwreck

Wanjiao One is an ancient Chinese merchant ship that sank off the coast of Fujian Province's Pingtan County, China. The shipwreck is 13.8m long, 3m wide and 1m deep. Loaded with more than 17,000 pieces of porcelain, amongst which 10,000 pieces of blue-and-white porcelain date back to the reign of the Kangxi Emperor (1654-1722) in the Qing dynasty (1644-1911).

Vung Tau (1690)

Vung Tau cargo

In June 1990, the cargo of the wreck Vung Tau, which was approximately 15 km away from the Hon Cau Island, at the depth of 40m and buried in the sand from 0.6m to 1.0m deep, was recovered.

Turc (1873)

Turkish iron screw steamer of 1,736 GRT, which was built in Sunderland and launched in April 1873 as the Severn. Later renamed Mustapha Bey before finally becoming registered as the Turc. In May 1895 the Turc ran aground and broke in two on the Abu Madafi Reef approximately 40 miles north of Jeddah at position 22°03' N, 38°45' E and became a constructive total loss.

The Wando Shipwreck

This shipwreck was discovered in 1984, near Wando-gun, Jeollabuk-do in South Korea. The shipwreck is the first local Korean vessel to be fully excavated under water. Almost 30,000 artefacts have been recovered, mainly typical celadon porcelain. Based on these findings, the vessel may date to the late 11th century and subsequently, may represent the local Korean watercraft of the Goryeo Dynasty. This period was the golden age in the history of Korean seafaring and vessel development.

The Sadana Islands shipwreck

©INA/ Meredith Kato/Saudi Aramco World/SAWDIA / A number of ceramic containers and pipe bowls were found at the Sadana wreck, which helped to determine the date and provenance of the cargo.

This shipwreck was found 35 km south of Hurghada, near Sadana Islands, on a coral reef 30 meters underwater, and was excavated between 1995 and 1998. The ship, which is 50 meters long, 18 meters wide, and able to carry 900 tons, probably sank in the 1760s, at a time when economic activity had increased in the Red Sea. However, it is unclear whether the ship originated in Indian or Egypt.

The Nanhai No. 1 shipwreck

The Nanhai No. 1 shipwreck, 30m long and 10m wide, discovered 25m under the sea in 1987, is believed to have been built between 1127 and 1279 AD during the reign of the Southern Song Dynasty.

The Java Sea Wreck

The Java Sea Wreck was first found by fishermen and looted by local divers before being salvaged, along with its cargo. Salvage work continued in 1996, and archaeological examinations were undertaken. The ship wreck dates from the mid to late 13th century and was found in the open sea, west of the coast of Sumatra. The area is now a direct shipping lane between the Bangka Strait and Jakarta.

The Cirebon shipwreck

©UNESCO/U. Guerin / Chinese ceramics from the Cirebon wreck

In 2003, local fishermen caught Chinese ceramics in their fishing nets in the Northern Java Sea, Indonesia. These objects belonged to a shipwreck known as the Cirebon wreck which sank in the Java Sea at the turn of the first millennium. The merchant ship was exporting a large amount of Yue yao (Yue ware), a Chinese porcelain produced in the ancient region of Yue, in particular Yue ewers with bulging bellies, bowls, platters and incense burners, and figurines of birds, deer and unicorns.

The Can Don Shipwreck

This shipwreck was discovered 12 kilometers from Hon Bay Chan, a small island belonging to the Con Dao group south of Vietnam, at a depth of 35 meters. In 1991, archeologists examined the wreck and salvaged the cargo. The ship was approximately 25 meters long and 7.7 meters wide.  Since half of the hull remained in very good condition, scientists were able to determine that the vessel was a lorcha, a special type of Chinese vessel influenced by Portuguese design.

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