Housed in the Castle of the Knights of St. John guarding the entrance to Bodrum Harbor, the Bodrum Underwater Archeology Museum is a “must see” while on a crewed yacht charter along the southern coast of Turkey. Many centuries ago, these waters were an ancient trading route plied by tradesmen over thousands of years in sailing cargo vessels And as wind and water can sometimes be cruel, these waters harbor the gravesites of many ancient wrecks. Since 1960, artifacts from ancient cargos that were strewn across the bottom from various shipwrecks have been excavated and are today on display in the Bodrum Underwater Archeology Museum. Be sure to visit this museum while on a yacht charter in this area to see the well organized displays of artifacts from shipwreck excavations from the very waters in which you may be cruising on your crewed yacht charter in Turkey.
Today, while these waters lap the shores of Turkey, throughout the centuries these waters have lapped the shores of and been sailed through by various civilizations including Etruscans, Lycians, Carians, Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, Egyptians and Venetians. Ship styles and cargos have changed over the centuries, including even the clay amphorae used for cargo storage. Those artifacts now on display in the Bodrum Underwater Archeology Museum offer a peak into ancient life; particularly providing a telling glimpse of everyday life on the seas.
Owned and operated by the Turkish government, the museum artifacts are beautifully displayed in rooms entwined within the medieval stone walls of the Castle of the Knights of St. John. There are artifact exhibits, and even an artifact reconstruction of an excavated ship hull from the Fatimi Wreck of 1077 AD. Many of the exhibits are still unfolding as certain excavations are ongoing with artifacts still being recovered, examined and preserved. An ongoing exhibit, still in the beginning stages, is of the oldest shipwreck ever found from the late Bronze Age known as the Uluburun Shipwreck which includes items possibly belonging to Nefertiti. A very interesting exhibit of amphorae displayed along a time line delineated by centuries and millenniums, which highlights evolving amphora styles, greets the visitor in the inner castle courtyard on first arrival.
The Bodrum Underwater Archeology Museum, the largest of its kind, includes artifacts from the following shipwreck excavations:
Finike-Gelidonya shipwreck: 12th century BC
Bodrum-Yassiada shipwreck; 7th century AD
Bodrum -Yassiada shipwreck; 4th century. AD
Bodrum-Yassiada shipwreck; 6th century. AD
Ṣeytan Deresi shipwreck; 16th century BC
Marmaris-Serçe harbour shipwreck; 11th century AD
Marmaris-Serçe harbour shipwreck; 3rd century BC
Kaṣ-Uluburun shipwreck; 14th century BC
Tektaṣ Glasswreck; 5th century BC
Within the interior castle building is an exhibition of the Fatimi Wreck displaying many artifacts found on the sea bottom evocative of everyday life and especially on board ship life. Another interior hall features coins and jewelry, while another features raw glass chunks, and finished glass ornaments and household goods for the wealthy found from many different ancient shipwrecks.
Wander through the medieval castle of the Knights of St. John standing sentinel at the head of Bodrum Harbor and enjoy the Bodrum Underwater Archeology Museum beautifully housed within the castle. It is well worth stretching your legs while on a crewed yacht charter to visit this one of a kind museum of ancient shipwrecks from the ancient trading route, your yacht charter cruising grounds.