Abstract: The Excavation of a Late Hellenistic Column Wreck at Kizilburun, Turkey

Lecturer: Deborah Carlson

Since 2005, the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) at Texas A&M University has been excavating the remains of a marble carrier wrecked off the Aegean coast of Turkey at Kızılburun.  The ship was transporting the components of a newly-quarried monumental column comprised of a single Doric capital and eight enormous unfluted drums, each about 1 ½ meters in diameter and over a meter tall.  Isotopic analyses of the marble indicate an origin in the quarries of Proconnesus Island in the Sea of Marmara, while transport amphoras and associated ceramics suggest that the wreck dates from the first century B.C. 

In 2006 and 2007, each of the eight massive marble drums, which weigh nearly 7 tons a piece, was ballooned off-site, exposing the fragmentary remains of the ship’s wooden hull.  The relocation process also made possible detailed recording of the drums themselves, and careful comparison with finished, fluted drums from Doric temples under construction in the first century B.C. suggests that the Kızılburun column was intended for the peristyle of the Temple of Apollo at nearby Claros. The excavation of the Kızılburun shipwreck provides a unique snapshot of quarrying processes, long-distance transport by sea, and monumental construction in marble in Late Hellenistic Asia Minor.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

D. N. Carlson and W. Aylward, “The Kızılburun Shipwreck and the Temple of Apollo at Claros,” American Journal of Archaeology 114.1 (2010) 145-159.

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Elizabeth M. Greene is Assistant Professor of Roman Archaeology with the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Western Ontario.  She holds her degrees from the University of North... Read More

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