A voyage of history: From Foça to Marseille

A voyage of history: From Foça to Marseille

A Turkish research team is working on a new project “Foça-Marseille: A Voyage to History” centered on creating faithful copies of war and cargo ships used over 2,000 years ago. The 360

A Turkish research team is working on a new project “Foça-Marseille: A Voyage to History” centered on creating faithful copies of war and cargo ships used over 2,000 years ago.

The 360 Degrees History Research Team, under the leadership of Professor Hayat Erkanal, head of Limantepe excavations, has kicked off the project with its reconstruction of the Uluburun ship, which is known as the oldest sunken ship. The team hopes the ship will closely resemble the real one when construction is completed.

The 360 Degrees team is still working in a workshop at the Port Limantepe Underwater Research and Development Center, with support from the Urla and Foça municipalities.

Erkanal said a few years ago the team traveled for nine days and nine nights on a ship that was a copy of the 3,500 year-old Uluburun boat. “Building the Uluburun boat with the same specialties of the time when it was first built made a great impact around the world. I believe that the Foça-Marseille: A voyage to history project will be very successful,” Erkanal said.

Archaeologist Osman Erkurt, member of the 360 Degrees History Research Team, said the team would launch the ship in two months if everything goes according to plan. “Marseille was founded by the people of Foça in 600 B.C. We learned this thanks to the experience of an archeological discipline that helped us create the project. Within the project we are constructing two ships, one battle ship and one cargo ship. We attempt to launch these ships on a voyage to Marseille,” Erkurt said, adding that the project is aimed at promoting Turkey in addition to its scientific purpose.

“Once our ships are completed we will begin trial runs. Our first stop will be Istanbul. After organizing presentation activities in Istanbul we planned the steamer date for April 2009. We will arrive in Marseille after two-and-a-half months and 2,300 sea miles,” said Erkurt, adding, “After Marseille we head to the Rhone River in July 2009 and then to Paris through the Seine River. We will stop in the port of Paris to promote Turkey with a fleet showing Turkish seamanship and archaeological values.”

Noting that 2009 was chosen as the “Year of Turkey” in Paris, Erkurt said Turkey’s project was a favorite of the French. After the activities in Paris, the ship is set to sail to the Danube through the Rhone River and arrive at Köstence, the Black Sea region’s biggest port city, after passing through eight countries. “We believe this voyage will go very well. We are planning to come back to Istanbul in 2010 since the city is the European Culture Capital that year. After these activities we will return to Izmir and our voyage will end where it began.”