Description and Analysis of the Finds from the 2006 Turkish Coastal Survey: Marmaris and Bodrum
In the summer of 2006, RPM Nautical Foundation continued its survey along the south-western Turkish coast. After completing the verification of anomalies along the south-east Bozburun peninsula close to Marmaris, a new survey was conducted along the coast near Bodrum. Additional shipwrecks were discovered, those of historic interest ranging in date from Roman Republican to Ottoman. This report describes the shipwreck sites and some of the random finds along the Bozburun coast, as well as the depositional characteristics in the Bodrum approaches.
In August 2006 two areas along the south-west Turkish coast were surveyed: the south-east Bozburun peninsula and the Bodrum approaches. The initial phase of the project was to complete the ROV verification of anomalies discovered along the Bozburun coast during multibeam surveys in 2005 (Fig. 1). Operations were initially based in Turunc, just south-west of Marmaris. Once the work in this area was completed, the base was moved to Turgutreis from where the first part of a multibeam survey of the Bodrum approaches was carried out, covering the western section of the approaches, where several anomalies were checked to determine its potential for wreck-sites.
South-eastern Bozburun peninsula
Survey work along the south-east portion of the Bozburun Peninsula consisted of anomaly verification with the ROV; no multibeam survey was conducted this season. Multibeam survey in 2005 covered a majority of the 37-km2 area of coastline from near shore to the 100-m contour, and produced 68 anomalies of which 32 were checked during that season. Two were intentionally unverified as they were obvious modern wrecks. An upgraded programme for the visualization of multibeam data, obtained after the 2005 season, provided an improved review of the 2005 data. This re-analysis produced 37 additional anomalies, making a total of 105. As 34 anomalies were accounted for in 2005, 71 remained for verification in 2006. ROV verification of the 32 anomalies in 2005 led to the identification of five historic-period and two modern wreck-sites. Verification operations in 2006 resulted in the discovery of three historic-period wrecks, one modern wreck, and one site of undetermined date, making the total number of wreck-sites found on this section of coast, within the 100-m contour, eight from the historic-period, five modern, and one undated. Such a high wreck-site to anomaly coefficient, in this case 13:105, illustrates one of the advantages that multibeam survey has over other methods in that the number of false anomalies is reduced.
Each of the wreck-sites discovered in the 2006 season was recorded with still and video photography. Although permission was granted for the raising of diagnostic artefacts, none was raised in either season as the local museums could not decide which should receive them. The following is a description of the wreck-sites and an analysis of the visible material, placing the sites in their historical context when applicable. One of the sites, the Ottoman I wreck, will be only briefly discussed as it remains under analysis.
Site TK06-AA: Ballast I Wreck
A shallow deposit of ballast-stones was located while maneuvering the ROV between anomalies. The site is mostly buried and on review of the multibeam data it is barely discernable. The majority of the stones are smooth and rounded, from fist- to head-size, and a consistent type of light-coloured rock (Fig. 2). They are in two discrete concentrations, the larger of which formed an ovoid deposit approximately 5 m in diameter and 20 cm high. No artefacts are situated between the stones or protruding from the sand forming the mound. A smaller deposit of stones, roughly 2 m in diameter, is located c. 5 m away. In this smaller deposit, an apparently ceramic bowl was located lying atop the stones. This was removed in order to photograph it on clear sand, as it was the sole diagnostic artefact with the potential to identify the site (Fig. 2). The bowl is c.8 cm in diameter, stands nearly 5 cm high, and has a base c. 5 cm in diameter. Its sides flare from the base to a vertical, rounded rim. Its ring-shaped base is squared in cross-section and forms a circular concavity at its centre. There are no markings, decorations, or distinctive features to indicate a cultural affiliation or date. Furthermore, it is not clear whether this bowl was deposited with the ballast-stones, or later. The overall remains indicate a small- to medium-sized sailing vessel which carried either no cargo, or a cargo leaving no remains. With only the bowl as evidence, and that not definitely related to the site, the date is presently unknowable.