Archaeology, Museums, Heritage and Material Culture Seminar, 6 September
Dr Seppi Lahner | The University of Sydney
“The Cape Gelidonya Shipwreck Project and maritime culture at the end of the Bronze Age”
The ship that sank at Cape Gelidonya (Turkey) ca. 1200 BC is one of only a few known wrecks dating to the Late Bronze Age, though this was an era of intensive overseas exchange in the Mediterranean. It was also one in which metals had a strategic economic and political importance, and the cargo found on the seabed at Cape Gelidonya consists primarily of 1.2 metric tons of copper and tin in the form of ingots and ingot fragments, along with nearly 500 broken bronze tools intended to be remelted and refashioned into useful implements. As a curated assemblage, the cargo amounts to the one of the largest single collections of metal ever discovered in the Mediterranean and Near East. The ship likely belonged to an individual linked to metalworking communities and consumers traveling a circuit along the coasts of Cyprus, Syria, and southern Anatolia.
The shipwreck was among the first to be scientifically excavated, when in 1960 George Bass announced to the world the exciting discoveries he made. Newer discoveries at Cape Gelidonya have now shed new light onto this important site, and cutting-edge scientific analyses of the cargo now gives us brand new insight into Bronze Age technologies and trade networks. Even more, we get a view into the life of a maritime metal at the end of the Bronze Age when the Bronze Age empires of the Mediterranean and Near East experienced significant upheaval and societies more broadly reorganized into a mosaic of novel social and political forms. This presentation places the Cape Gelidonya shipwreck in its cultural and historical context, revealing how production, transportation, and trade are linked in maritime cultures of this crucial time period and what new problems now emerge in the study of ancient societies in this dynamic region.
The Department of Archaeology hosts a lively departmental research seminar series. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Seminars are held in the Refectory from 4-5pm, and are followed by drinks and discussion.
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2019 Seminar Series convenors:
Alix Thoeming, Katherine Woo, and Simon Wyatt-Spratt
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The Department of Archaeology is part of the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI).