Yenikapı 12, a replica of a ship built during the Middle Ages that was unearthed during metro project excavations, will be launched at sea next year within the scope of a project coordinated by Istanbul University.
One of 36 sunken ships found during archaeological excavations carried out as part of Istanbul’s metro project will be replicated, put on display and launched at sea as Yenikapı 12.
A replica of the 9.64-meter-long, 2.6-meter-wide boat that was built in the Middle Ages will be launched in 2013.
Işıl Kocabaş of Istanbul University’s Cultural Artifacts Protection and Restoration Department said 36 wooden shipwrecks along with thousands of other artifacts had been found during the ongoing excavations that started in Yenikapı in 2004.
These shipwrecks, estimated to have been constructed between the fifth and 10th centuries, are regarded as the world’s largest shipwreck collection, the associate professor said. Research on 28 of them has been carried out by experts at the university under the leadership of the head of the department, Ufuk Kocabaş. The Yenikapı wrecks represented the technology of the mid-Byzantine Empire, which is not well-known, and the remains of the ships survived in very good condition, she said.
“The Yenikapı ships bring evidence of Middle Ages technology to the present. The boat gives us unique information about the construction technology of the period,” she said.
Kocabaş said the first stage of the Yenikapı 12 project was preparing the doctorate thesis on the boat’s construction technique and reconstruction. “The doctorate thesis tells us how the Yenikapı 12 was designed and constructed, and the process of making its replica. The body of Yenikapı 12 has been recorded with 3D technology. Each wooden detail on the surface of the boat was transferred to computer and we obtained a lot of information about its construction process. As a result of a three-year evaluation, the dimensions of Yenikapı 12 were determined. According to this data, a drawing of the boat has been made and illustrations and animations, showing its situation on the water, have been prepared,” she said.
The goal of the project was to produce a replica of the ship, Kocabaş said. “Our purpose here is to
gather more information about the construction of a ship from the Middle Ages. We will seek to answer questions such as: How many people worked on the construction? How did they gain the necessary materials? How were the ships assembled?”
Replica will be on display
Kocabaş said preparations for the project were continuing. “The construction will start this summer. We plan to finish it and launch it into the sea in the middle of 2013. But we need to find financial support to start the construction; this is the most important factor.”
Yenikapı 12 will be displayed in the garden of the Istanbul Archaeology Museums or in the historical garden of Istanbul University Rector’s Office Building in Beyazıt, she said.
“This way, visitors to the museum will be able to see the construction process of the replica. There will also be conferences given by experts during this process. Also, the whole process will be recorded in a documentary film as part of the project. When the replica is finished, visitors of Yenikapı 12 will have a magnificent experience in a boat from the Middle Ages,” Kocabaş said.