2009-05-06 10:31:13 UTC
1300 BC, making the age 3300 years. Turkey is the site of many of the
undersea wreck recoveries and has made that fact a part of their
public relations with other European countries.
A historic deja vu: Phokaians taking civilization to Marseille
İZMİR- Foça will be linked to Marselle in a special project to revisit
the history: A Turkish crew will travel the route from the İzmir
district to the French city in the next two months, just as their
ancestors did centuries ago. Building a replica of an ancient vessel,
the group is set to sail to Marseille in as conditions as true to
those in 600 B.C. as possible
The replica of an ancient vessel is retracing the historic route from
Foça off the coast of Turkey to Marseille off France some 2,600 years
The project "A Journey into History: İzmir-Phokaia-Marseille" is to
recreate the passage of the ship named Kybele, which has been built
exactly the same way as the ancient vessels dating back to 600 B.C.,
and rediscovered in recent excavations.
By using an exact replica and traveling the same 1,700-nautical mile
route, the project aims to recreate what the sailors would have
endured on the trip the first time around. The ship aims to sail for
10 hours a day and will call into 60 different ports before reaching
Marseille on July 1.
The captain of the Kybele, Osman Erkut, who is also the chairman of
the foundation behind this project, the 360 Degree Historical Research
Association, said that he and his crew would set to sail to Marseille
in as conditions as true to those in 600 B.C. as possible.
A crew of archaeologists, engineers, volunteers
"The Kybele was built by a crew of 30, formed of archaeologists,
engineers and volunteers," Erkut told the Hürriyet Daily News &
Economic Review. "We aim to promote the history of the sea,
archaeological findings and other historical riches in a popular way,
such as interactive projects, animating history and symposiums. We
call this experimental archaeology and maritime archaeology."
An archaeologist himself, Erkut explained why revisiting the route
between Marseille and İzmir was important:
"The most important of the 12 Ion cities in Western Anatolia were
Smyrna (İzmir) and Phokaia (Foça) during B.C. 600," he said. "Phokaia
established many colonies in the Mediterranean and took their culture
and advanced ideas to these colonies in the Mediterranean. One of the
most important colonies was Marseille.
"The basic aim of the project is recreating history to tell and
document the impact of Anatolia on the Mediterranean," he added. "What
we will do is that we will set to sail from Foça to Marseille under
the conditions of that era. This means we will go to Marseille by only
sailing or rowing depending on the weather conditions. Although there
will be a boat accompanying us during the journey just in case."
Talking about the features of the ship they built, Erkut said that the
ship Kybele was a war ship from 600 B.C.
"We finished constructing the ship in a year and a half in the Urla
district of İzmir through a cooperative effort by the 360 Degree
Historical Research Association, which is co-organizing the journey
with the French Cultural Center, and the Turkish American
Association," said Erkut. "Its length is 19 meters, its width is 5.5
meters. The total sail area is 85-square meters. There is room for 20
oars on each side of the ship. We have a crew of 30 made up of various
professionals. Eight of the crew are female."
A littel delay due to bureaucratic procedures
The group had a leaving ceremony in Foça last Saturday, but will have
to wait as certain bureaucratic procedures need completing before they
can set sail next week.
"We had this ceremony, but we did not really start sailing because we
were still waiting on some bureaucratic signatures from the Ministry
of Culture and Tourism. Most probably we will set to sail between the
10th and 15th of May from Çeşme," he explained. "I am saying most
probably, because we have to consider weather conditions. In ancient
times, they also had to take the weather conditions into
The skipper said: "French people, Marseille people in particular, pay
attention to Foça. For that reason French institutions also paid
attention to this project, especially when it is the Season of Turkish
culture in France. Our journey will not end when we reached Marseille
on the 1st of July. We will attend some activities to be organized in
The journey does not end in Marseille, either, as from there the crew
will head on to Paris to be there for Turkish Republic day on Oct. 29.
After that they will sail by river through Germany, Austria, Hungary,
Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania until the Black Sea. Finally,
The Kybele will be back in Istanbul to be part of the activities for
the 2010 Capital City of Culture.
The crew is embarking on this journey in the hope of experiencing how
cultures interacted some 26 centuries ago.
"We are carrying out our studies under the name of 'Experimental
archaeology. This means we will be looking to answer the questions of
what happened, how they did it, and what it was like," Erkut said.
Talking about their other projects, Erkut said that recreating the
Uluburun, the world's oldest wreckage would follow.
"We will remodel the Uluburun, the 3,000-year-old ship that was
exhibited in Bochum Bergbau Museum and visited by 500,000 people," he
said. "We are also planning to make a journey between Crete and
As to financing such a huge undertaking, Erkut said they found
sponsors for the projects, "plus there are donations to our