Overlooking the shores of the Aegean Sea and fabled Turquoise Coast, the modern Turkish city of Bodrum is the hub of INA’s work in the Mediterranean. Favored by tourists who visit from all over the world, this region was also a crossroads of cultures thousands of years ago. Then, seafarers navigated the rugged coastline carrying goods from throughout the ancient world.In 1958, it was on this coast where Peter Throckmorton, a visiting adventurer and journalist, learned from Turkish sponge divers about a very old shipwreck, said to be laden with copper ingots, lying beneath the sea off Cape Gelidonya.
Two years later George Bass and a team of young divers would excavate the Gelidonya wreck, undertaking the world’s first scientific underwater excavation. The project would inspire the birth of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology and transformation of Bodrum Castle into the Museum of Underwater Archaeology. And it would ultimately lead to the creation of INA’s Bodrum Research Center.
Decades of INA surveys in Turkey have uncovered wrecks and cargoes dating from the Bronze Age to the Ottoman Empire. The most significant of these discoveries have rewritten the history books, adding a staggering volume of data to the archaeological record of ancient and medieval seafaring. Students and scholars from around the world work out of the Research Center to survey and study the region’s shipwrecks. Annually, over a quarter of a million paying visitors tour the Museum of Underwater Archaeology where they learn about the important discoveries INA has made with its Turkish partners.