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An underwater mountain of amphoras

A ship-wreck with thousands of amphoras has been found for the first time in Turkish waters; And very near to it another one with the same cargo. The ships had been carrying wine during the 1st century BC from Ganos, which is near Sharkoy.
This real amphora story is the result of several years research. Our starting point is Gazikoy whose ancient name is Ganos It is 30 km’s from Sharkoy and is in the southwest of Tekirdag.

According to the ancient Greek geographer Strabon, who lived between 65 BC and 23 AD, Ganos was built by the Greeks and was a small colony. In those times it’s name meant Sacred Mountain and sailors who had passed medieval times the island was known for it’s monastery. In the 13th century the Bishop lived here and in the 14th century it took on an important role when it became a city. After the conquest of Istanbul, Ganos became part of the Ottoman Empire. While I was doing my research I often wondered what had happened to all the ships loaded with amphoras which had passed by here. My research took me to all the museums from Trabzon to Antakya, and it was during this time that i found the answer. They had all gone to the ports in the Black Sea or Mediterranean.

The north, north-east and south-west, winds all pass over HoshkOy and Gazikoy islands, and August 27th 1993 is no exception. I leave Tekirdag by ferryboat with a photographer and set off towards the Marmara island. When we step onto the island the notorious local winds blow to greet us. Despite the bad weather conditions we still manage to dive as we have intended and find our first ship-wreck.

Reshit Mazhar Ertuzun who wrote the historical novel “KapIdag and her islands” said that the Marmara Island’s first name had been Elafonesos which meant deer. He also wrote that the island was given the new name of prokonnessos. However nobody knows when she took the name of Marmara Island, but we understand that it comes from the word “marble” which the Italian sailors gave her.

On the island we can still see traces of her ancient and recent history. If ever you are passing, you should visit Asmah village and Dr. Nushin Asgeri’s open-air museum which is famous for it’s marble art. If you go during the summer months and if you are thirsty you must have a glass of “guest water”.

The next day my friend and I find 2 ship-wrecks on our 4th dive. The ships had sunk because of hitting the islands. The following day we set sail and my friend, who is becoming impatient to find the amphora mountain, and 1 prepare to dive again.

At first we can not see anything, but as we go deeper we see something dark. Yes, here they are! Hundreds of Ganos amphoras. While I am thinking how huge our find is, realize that this it not, in fact, the ship we have been looking for. So we start to deeper. This time I am shocked to see thousands of them. As I continue to swim, the number grows until finally I can see nothing but amphoras and I am shaking at the scale of our find.

Now we are going return the surface and tell you about, these amphoras which belong to all of us.


Dr. Nergis Gunsenin, archeologist, Instructor, Istanbul University Underwater Technology Program Atlas, Monthly Travel Magazine, December 1993

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