Underwater archaeologists get education far away from the sea
KONYA - Anatolia News Agency
Three professors, three assistant professors and two research assistants work in the Turkey’s only underwater archaeology department. AA photo
Turkey’s first underwater archaeology department isn’t located near the sea, but resides at Selçuk University in the central Anatolian province of Konya, 250 kilometers away from the sea. Students in the department are trained to carry out all kinds of underwater research and excavations.
The head of the university’s archaeology department, Professor Adil Tırpan, said it was very important for the university and for Konya that the first underwater archaeology department in Turkey, a country surrounded by water on three sides, be located in a central Anatolian city university.
The department had been filing a big gap in Turkey’s underwater research for 12 years, Tırpan said, adding that the department offered all kinds of technical equipment and expert teams in the field of underwater archaeology.
Three professors, three assistant professors and two research assistants work in the department, according to Tırpan. Selçuk was the only university to also have master and doctorate students in the underwater archaeology department.
“This is the first and only department in Turkey that is also recognized internationally and was chosen in 2011 as the leading university in the field of underwater archaeology. Turkey has a coastal line of 850 kilometers. The line was used as a trade route in the ancient ages. If five ships sank every year since 2000 B.C., when overseas trade began, until today, it equals 25,000 ships in 5,000 years. All of these ships lie under the sea. And of course they are very important cultural artifacts if they are removed. We are trying to shed light on a long history by educating underwater archaeologists,” Tırpan said.
‘We have found many ship wreckages’
The department has so far carried out many research projects especially in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas, according to the professor. “Turkey has a big richness under the sea as well as on the ground. We have so far joined many underwater research projects to reveal this richness.”
Not only have they worked in the seas, but they have also dived in the country’s lakes, Tırpan said. “For example, Muğla-Datça Knidos excavations, Myra-Anriake excavation and underwater research, Myndos underwater research, Aydıncı-Kalenderis port excavations, Çamaltı Cape sunken are among these works. Also, we were present in underwater research in Bafa and Beyşehir lakes. We have found a lot of sunken ships and their remains.”
Tırpan said it was not necessary to open the underwater department in a maritime city. “The Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA), which has also carried out underwater archaeology in Turkey, is in Texas. Is it a maritime city? No, but they come to our country and conduct research on our underwater history. We want to prevent it,” he said.