The Legacy of the Cape Gelidonya Wreck and Bronze Age Maritime Trade in the Mediterranean

The Friends of the ANU Classics Museum and The ANU (Canberra) Friends of the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens warmly invite you to an online lecture by Dr Joseph Lehner on The Legacy of the Cape Gelidonya Wreck and Bronze Age Maritime Trade in the Mediterranean.

The ship that sank at Cape Gelidonya (Turkey) ca. 1200 BC is one of only three known wrecks dating to the Late Bronze Age, though this was an era of intensive overseas exchange in the Mediterranean. One of the primary commodities was copper, its alloys, and tin, whose production and trade linked communities from across the Mediterranean world and beyond. Images of copper ingots are even depicted carefully as offerings on New Kingdom Egyptian tomb paintings and temple wall carvings. The cargo on the Cape Gelidonya wreck contained well over 1.2 tons of copper and tin, together with broken bronze tools intended to be remelted and refashioned into useful implements. The ship likely belonged to a tinker traveling a circuit along the coasts of Cyprus, Syria, and southern Anatolia.

The shipwreck was also among the first to be scientifically excavated, when in 1960 George Bass announced to the world the exciting discoveries he made. Newer discoveries at Cape Gelidonya have now shed new light onto this important site, and cutting-edge scientific analyses of the cargo now gives us brand new insight into Bronze Age technologies and trade networks. Even more, we get a view into the life of a maritime metal at the end of the Bronze Age when the famous civilizations and empires of the Mediterranean, Egypt, and the Near East experienced significant upheaval. Here Dr. Lehner presents the Cape Gelidonya shipwreck in its cultural and historical context, revealing how maritime cultures and trade in this crucial time period functioned and what new problems now emerge in the study of ancient societies in this dynamic region.

About the speaker

Dr Joseph Lehner is currently an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award Fellow at the University of Sydney Department of Archaeology, an Honorary Fellow at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Macquarie University, and an affiliated scholar at the Institute of Nautical Archaeology. He finished his PhD at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, and is a former Alexander von Humboldt German Chancellor Fellow at the University of Tübingen and a Senior Fellow at the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations at Koç University in Istanbul. In addition to codirecting research at the Cape Gelidonya shipwreck together with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, he is also the co-director of the Kerkenes Project in Central Turkey and co-director of the Archaeological Water Histories of Oman Project, while also presently participating on projects across the Near East and Arabia.