One of the most important underwater archaeological discoveries in Cyprus was made off the coast of Kyrenia under the leadership of Cyprus International University and Honor Frost Foundation, with contributions of Natulius Diving School, under the auspices of the Department of Antiquities and Museums.
A 3,000-year-old anchor with Egyptian hieroglyphs was recovered.
The Cyprus International University (CIU) Archaeology, Cultural Heritage and Conservation Center, which has been conducting underwater cultural heritage research since 2018, funded by Honor Frost Foundation, has carried out another important study. The teams conducting underwater diving research on the northern coastline, evaluating a notice tipping them off, pioneered the removal of a rare anchor with Egyptian hieroglyphs, estimated to date back 3,000 years.
The discovered historical anchor, under the management of CIU faculty member Assoc. Prof. Dr. Müge Şevketoğlu, and with the contributions of Tevfik Camgöz who found the anchor, was removed from under the sea under the supervision of the Department of Antiquities and Museums and Archaeologist Bural Karataş, and moved to the conservation laboratory of the Nicosia Department of Antiquities and Museums for conservation.
Conservator Pembe Özen, an expert at the Center for Conservation and Repair of Cultural Heritage, under the Nicosia Department of Antiquities and Museums, initiated the necessary work for the conservation of the historical anchor. Regarding the historical discovery made, CIU Faculty Member Assoc. Prof. Dr. Müge Şevketoğlu gave information.
“The rarest piece discovered to date”
Şevketoğlu noted that the historical anchor, which has high estimates that it belongs to an Egyptian ship, is the first stone anchor found in the Mediterranean so far, with such dense inscriptions.
Şevketoğlu stated that the anchor found as a result of the researches could be a tombstone belonging to a grave used in Egypt, or a monument inscription belonging to a religious tradition, and pointed out that it was determined that the anchor found was turned into an anchor for the second purpose of use, which was a general practice of the period.
“Efforts have begun to decode the inscriptions”
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Müge Şevketoğlu stated that the necessary studies have been initiated for the reading of the Egyptian script, and that in the future, she will share new findings both through scientific publications and with informative conferences. Emphasizing that the information shared with the public is very important for archeology and cultural heritage awareness, Şevketoğlu underlined that in addition to the underwater research and documentation works they have carried out at the Tatlısu Excavation Directorate since 2018, they also evaluated the chance tip off notices they received. Şevketoğlu elaborated; "We will continue to contribute to our cultural heritage in our seas as well as on our land."
“There may be results that will affect the world of archeology science”
Stating that if the hieroglyphs, which are accepted as writings of the Gods on the historical Egyptian anchor, are resolved, it will affect Mediterranean archaeology, especially Cyprus and Egypt, and that it is likely that new very important archaeological information will emerge, and following the discovery that has been made in the relevant diving area, large-scale research will be initiated in the region.
“Anchors were used as part of a ritual”
Noting that the stone anchors used in the Bronze Age were used as a tool to secure ships against currents or in stormy weather, Şevketoğlu underlined that the anchors that contain a few letters on them, especially those known in Cyprus, were discovered in the two important Late Bronze Age settlements of Cyprus; Enkomi and Kitionin, and in temples.
Following research carried out, Şevketoğlu advised that it was established that the anchors in the temples were left as a votive to protect the sailors and their precious cargo in religious ceremonies.
“Our researches dating back to 10 thousand years are also continuing”
Following excavations made in Tatlısu in 1999, Şevketoğlu explained that they investigated the copper trade and relations of the Cyprus-Anatolia and the Mediterranean basin in the following periods, with the Obsidian trade relations and underwater studies, which showed definitive evidence of the Cyprus-Anatolia relations of 10 thousand years ago.
“Extraction by experts was waited for”
Stating that the historical anchor was discovered by Tevfik Camgöz years ago, Şevketoğlu underlined that it is a crime for people who are not archaeologists who have scientific competence in accordance with the Antiquities Law and who do not have permission from the relevant ministry to extract artifacts from the sea, Şevketoğlu underlined that for this reason the anchor was only able to be extracted this year.
Şevketoğlu explained that across the country, the team established within the CIU Archeology, Cultural Heritage and Conservation Center is the only team with an underwater archeological excavation permit and the necessary equipment, enabling them to achieve such historical success.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Müge Şevketoğlu also drew attention to the fact that Expert Instructor Tevfik Camgöz, owner of the Natulius Diving School, has a great contribution in the protection and extraction of the stone anchor, due to his National Geographic and Nautical Archeology Society certificates.
Emine Pilli, Director of Antiquities and Museums Department: "I would like to thank everyone who contributed.”
Emine Pilli, Director of the Department of Antiquities and Museums, and the project and scientific director Assoc. Prof. Dr. Müge Şevketoğlu, thanked diving leader Tevfik Camgöz, cameramen Cevdet Aydınova, Şahap Tokatlı, Ümit Eşmeoğlu and Zhanay Amanov.
Underlining that it is a legal obligation to report discovered historical artifacts to the Department of Antiquities and Museums, Pilli added that the necessary steps will be taken in order to find the necessary financial support for the display of the Egyptian stone anchor, and underlined that our country needs such studies.