Archaeology: Istanbul to launch replica of Byzantine ship

Part of the world's largest fleet of shipwrecks

09 February, 15:51

(ANSAmed) - ANKARA, FEBRUARY 9 - Turkey is going to build the perfect replica of a Byzantine ship for scientific purposes. The copy of the medieval ship, nearly 10 metres long and more than 2.5 metres wide, will be put to sea next year under the name ''Yenikapi 12''.

The project of the Istanbul University's Cultural Artifacts Protection and Restoration Department was recently announced by a Turkish news website and ANSAmed has received photos of the initiative from the University. Construction will start this summer and the ship's launch is scheduled ''mid-2013''. The organisers of the project suggested that visitors will have an opportunity to come on board: ''they will have a magnificent experience in a boat from the Middle Ages,'' they announced. The ship will be the same type of one of the 36 that were found, along with thousands of other artifacts, during the ongoing excavations for the Istanbul underground that started in Yenikapi in 2004. It will also be exhibited to the public, probably in a museum, before being launched. The shipwrecks that were found on the coasts of Istanbul are estimated to have been constructed between the fifth and 10th century AD, are regarded as the world's largest shipwreck collection, associate professor of the Department that leads the initiative Isil Kocabas said. The ships shed light on the construction technology that was used in the Byzantine era. A doctorate thesis has already shown how the ''Yenikapi 12'' was designed and constructed, indicating the process of making its replica.

Its structure, the researcher specified that ''the body of ship has been recorded with 3D technology. Each wooden detail on the surface of the boat was transferred to computer and we obtained a lot of information about its construction process. As a result of a three-year evaluation, the dimensions of Yenikapi 12 were determined. According to this data, a drawing of the boat has been made and illustrations and animations, showing its situation on the water, have been prepared,'' she said.

"Our purpose,'' Kokabas continued, ''is to gather more information about the construction of a ship from the Middle Ages, seeking answers to questions like: How many people worked on the construction? How did they gain the necessary materials? How were the ships assembled?" The researcher pointed out that financial support is need to build and launch the ship (''the most important factor").

Yenikapi 12 will be displayed in the garden of the Istanbul Archaeology Museums or in the historical garden of Istanbul University. Conferences will be organised for experts and a documentary will be made about the entire initiative. (ANSAmed).

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