İzmir’s sunken ships waiting to be discovered

İzmir’s sunken ships waiting to be discovered

İzmir’s sunken ships waiting to be discovered

Sunken ships buried in the Gulf of İzmir during war, collision or malfunction are waiting to be discovered.

Stating that they detected about eight sunken ships during studies in the Gulf of İzmir, Dokuz Eylul University (DEU) Marine Sciences and Technology Institute Department faculty member Professor Muhammet Duman said, “A large-scale study should be carried out in the Gulf of İzmir.”

Due to its strategic location, an important port city throughout history, İzmir has hosted both commercial ships and warships in the gulf for centuries. The city has an important archaeological heritage on land with its ancient cities, and in the gulf with its sunken ships.

One of the sunken ships buried in the gulf during war or collision on different dates was recently detected by DEU Marine Sciences and Technology Institute experts off the coast of Çiğli district in 2017. It was determined that the sunken ship was the İnebolu Shipwreck that sank 100-150 years ago. While nearly eight shipwrecks were detected during the sonar studies carried out in a small area, no studies were conducted on the subject.

Duman stated that marine scientists have the ability to detect all objects on the seafloor with sonar and other equipment during their research on the seafloor and added: “While working on a project of the İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, we came across a shipwreck. When we took the sonar images of the shipwreck, we determined that it was dating back to the last 100-150 years and found out that this was the İnebolu Shipwreck."

"When it was reported that there were other shipwrecks in the Gulf of İzmir, we kept our sonar system active in the project area. Meanwhile, we found many shipwrecks in Yenikale, off the coast of İnciraltı district of Balçova district. Even though it is said that these ships were there to prevent other ships from entering the inner gulf of İzmir during the war, we saw that they sank during the war due to conflict or as a result of collision among themselves. The shipwrecks in Yenikale were especially destroyed,” he said.

Stating that they detected about eight shipwrecks in the gulf, Duman said, “There are seven-eight shipwrecks, including Yenikale. We cannot give an exact figure. We were able to spot the mast of a shipwreck. These shipwrecks need to be investigated, excavated and our cultural values revealed."

"In order to clearly reveal the cultural value of the bay, projects similar to those of the 'Nautilus' research ship in Turkish waters should be carried out. During the last glacial period, the sea level was lowered by 120-130 meters. If we can carry out such a study, we can determine exactly where the coastline of the last glacial period is, which will likely be a place off Foça. Thus, it will be possible to determine the cultural values in that area and other archaeological elements and to present them to the world,” he added.

Stating that the sunken ships in the gulf and the settlements that have been underwater for many years can be used in tourism, Duman said there may be amphora shipwrecks from the ancient periods in the gulf.

“Historians talk about shipwrecks dating back 100 - 200 years before the Republic era. Their number is over 10. Their locations are given, but their images are very rare. We have their original images on the water. Due to the lack of financial resources, we didn’t have a chance to view them in detail.”

Izmir, Türkiye,