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20 May 2007
Ancient wooden anchor discovered in Turkey

The world's oldest wooden anchor was discovered during excavations in the Turkish port city of Urla, by researchers from the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies of the University of Haifa. The anchor, from the end of the 7th century BCE, was found near a submerged construction, embedded approximately 1.5 meters underground.
     The cooperative project between the University of Haifa and Ankara University sparked local interest, not only in marine archaeology, but also in the team of Israeli archaeologists. Israeli-Turkish relations have had their ups and downs over the past few years, but the cooperation between the Institute for Marine Studies at the University of Haifa and Ankara University has continually strengthened. In 2000, Prof. Hayat Erkanal of Ankara University invited Prof. Michal Artzy and scholars from the University of Haifa to join them in archaeological excavations in the port of Urla, a port city located near Izmir, with more than 5,000 years of maritime history. Remnants of an ancient port were uncovered during the excavations.
     The finds revealed that the port, which served the ancient Greek settlement of Klazomenai, sunk following a natural disaster, probably an earthquake, in the 6th century BCE. As there is no record of any such event occurring during this period, the actual cause of port's destruction remains a mystery. During the recent excavation season, it became clear that a wooden log that was found wedged into the ground at the bottom of the ancient harbor in 2003 is actually a wooden anchor with a metal-covered crown. The anchor was found wedged into the ground one and a half meters below the surface and was dated from the end of the 7th century BCE, which makes it the oldest wooden anchor found to date.

Sources: Newswise, University of Haifa (15 May 2007)

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