Exploring the Harbors of Old Knidos

Harbor 1: Trench L-M and the case of the Hellenistic shipwreck

By August 29, 2014July 14th, 2015No Comments

(guest post by Lana Radloff)

A late find of wooden planks in L1.

A late find of wooden planks in L1.

In true archaeology fashion, one of our most interesting and surprising discoveries of the 2014 field season was found on one of the last days of excavation. To our good fortune, the sea preserved some wooden timbers in excellent condition within a dense deposit of clay about 1.75m below the water’s surface in Harbor 1. With square iron nails still intact in two of the planks and a double scarf (tapered edge for joining), our initial impression is that they may represent remains of a lost or abandoned vessel. Associated finds near the planks – including river rocks (for ballast?) and a pierced fragment of lead sheeting to protect the hull exterior – strengthen this hypothesis. Diagnostic ceramics in this stratigraphic layer assign the remains to the Hellenistic period. Comprised largely of cooking and tableware, the most notable objects include a small intact black gloss bowl, kalathos (weaving or fruit basket), lagynos (one-handled jug), intact pot lid, and black gloss plate.

While our ‘ship’ may not have come in quite yet, further excavation next summer will determine whether we have indeed found an ancient wreck and what more the sea remembers from Hellenistic and earlier levels in the harbour.

Lana works underwater in L1.

Lana works underwater in L1.