Posted by: aiawinnipeg | September 9, 2013

Deborah Carlson’s Lecture September 22, 2013

Shedding New Light on Classical Ionia

Prof. Deborah Carlson, Texas A&M University
President, Institute of
Nautical Archaeology

Deborah Carlson and George Bass examine the ship’s eye

In 1996, one year after I arrived in Winnipeg, I received an email out of the blue from George Bass. The name may not be familiar to everyone, but he is – perhaps next to Jacques Cousteau – the most famous nautical archaeologist in the world. Imagine getting an email from Wayne Gretzky asking for advice on the selection of Team Canada – it was like that.

The email was asking me to identify the dates and places of production of a series of amphoras that Bass and his colleagues had just pulled off the sea bed near the Turkish coast across the water from Chios. My reply that the jars dated to the mid to late 5th century BC clearly made Bass very happy – a shipwreck of the Golden Age of Greece!

Bass shortly thereafter turned much of the work of exploring and studying the wreck to Deborah Carlson, then a PhD student at the University of Texas, Austin. Our lecture on Sunday, September 22, will tell the story of this wreck’s excavation and the importance of the finds for our growing understanding of the region of Ionia in the late 5th century BC.

Some years later, I happened to visit Deborah Carlson while she was excavating another major underwater site not far from Tektas Burnu. This next wreck dated to the early 1st century BC, and it was just as stunning – huge columns drums were the main cargo when the ship went down.

The Kizilburun wreck site in 2005

I was amazed by my visit – the evening meetings to organize the next morning’s dives were like military briefings. We slept in an excavation camp perched on razor sharp limestone outcrops – the only place in the world where i simply could not go for a run! And I learned three things: 1) I get seasick, 2) if you don’t dive, you don’t see a lot visiting an underwater archaeological site(!), and 3) showers … somehow… can carry electrical current! But I had a great time studying the artifacts that had come out of the water.

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