Event: Pizza Talk: "The Bronze Age Cargo of the Cape Gelidonya Shipwreck: New Data on Maritime Trade and Metal Production in the Mediterranean"

Date & Time

April 18, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Contact Information

Matthew Swanson
Phone 310-825-4169


Fowler A222

Event Type

Pizza Talk

Event Details

Speaker: Dr. Joseph (Seppi) Lehner, Assistant Professor, Department of Archaeology, University of Sydney

The ship that sank at Cape Gelidonya (Turkey) ca. 1200 BC is one of only three known wrecks dating to the Late Bronze Age, though this was an era of intensive overseas exchange in the Mediterranean. It was also one in which metals had an importance like that of oil today, and the cargo found on the seabed at Cape Gelidonya consists primarily of copper and tin in the form of ingots and ingot fragments, along with broken bronze tools intended to be remelted and refashioned into useful implements. The ship likely belonged to a tinker traveling a circuit along the coasts of Cyprus, Syria, and southern Anatolia.

The shipwreck was among the first to be scientifically excavated, when in 1960 George Bass announced to the world the exciting discoveries he made. Newer discoveries at Cape Gelidonya have now shed new light onto this important site, and cutting-edge scientific analyses of the cargo now gives us brand new insight into Bronze Age technologies and trade networks. Even more, we get a view into the life of a maritime metal at the end of the Bronze Age when the famous civilizations and empires of the Mediterranean and Near East experienced significant upheaval. Here Dr. Lehner presents the Cape Gelidonya shipwreck in its cultural and historical context, revealing how maritime cultures and trade in this crucial time period functioned and what new problems now emerge in the study of ancient societies in this dynamic region.