One of the most popular attractions in Bodrum is the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology. Situated inside the Bodrum Castle of St Peter, the creative displays of nautical archaeology have a well-deserved reputation as being some of the finest in the world.
Bodrum Castle was an abandoned former prison and very much in ruins before it was transformed into the visitor attraction it is today. The castle was first officially designated a museum in 1961 and it is the ?living museum? concept which has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors over the years and earned it international recognition.
The idea for the museum was formed after Turkish sponge divers had been recovering various amphorae, and these and other artefacts found after explorations of coastal wrecks were to become the first reposits of the museum. The first exhibit hall opened in 1963 after various restoration works had been carried out to bring parts of ailing Bodrum Castle back to its former glory. Today there are 14 exhibition halls all housing mainly underwater artefacts.
We?ve detailed below just some of the exhibits you can see in the museum but there are many more areas to explore. Visit the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology website for more information.
Amphora were vessels made out of clay and used as containers for wine, olives, olive oil, almonds, grains and numerous other types of goods. These were produced in many different places around the Mediterranean but each producer could be identified by their unique design, a fact that has really helped historians trace the trading patterns and routes of the ancient world.
Carian Princess Hall
In 1989, a construction crew were digging foundations for a new building close to where a cemetery of the ancient city of Halicarnassus was known to be situated, and a buried ancient structure was found. Due to the proximity to such an important ancient site, archaeologists from the Bodrum Museum supervised the excavations and discovered the structure housed a burial chamber with an intact sarcophagus containing the remains of a human female. Gold jewellery and ornaments also found with the skeleton showed that this was someone who had once enjoyed considerable wealth. The remains were dated as belonging to the Late Hellenistic-Early Roman period and there was much excitement in Bodrum because this indicated they may have found the remains of the last Hecatomnid ruler of ancient Caria, Ada I. Further extensive scientific investigations followed which neither proved or disproved conclusively whether these remains truly were those of the Carian queen. It was deemed highly likely that this woman was indeed a Carian princess and not impossible that she was Ada I. The exhibition of the Carian Princess was created in the Bodrum Museum and first opened to the public in 1993.
The museum?s glass collection is cleverly exhibited in darkness with illumination from below, so you can see all of the various colours and markings on the glass. The collection houses pieces dating from the 14th century BC to the 11th century AD. Set into an indentation in the wall is a small aquarium which illustrates in great detail, an underwater excavation.
The Uluburun Shipwreck Hall houses specimens found during excavations that took place between 1984-1994. The Uluburun shipwreck is situated about 6 miles south-east of Kaş, in south-western Turkey, and it was first discovered in 1982 by Mehmed Çakir, a local sponge diver from Yalikavak. The shipwreck dates back to the Bronze Age.
Late Roman Shipwreck
This shipwreck dates back to the late Roman period in the 4th-5th century AD and it was found near Yassiada which is off the shore of Turgutreis, at the west end of the Bodrum peninsula. Several amphorae were found during excavations and included one complete glass jug.
If underwater archaeology fascinates you then a visit to Bodrum is a must. This award-winning museum has some fascinating displays which are carefully and creatively presented to ensure the audience fully engages with the subject matter.