Yenikapi 27 Shipwreck: Hull Members, Construction Technique and Structural Features

Turkmenoglu E.

ART-SANAT, vol.16, pp.557-574, 2021 (ESCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 16
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.26650/artsanat.2021.16.0019
  • Journal Name: ART-SANAT
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.557-574
  • Keywords: Yenikapi, Theodosian Harbour, nautical archaeology, Byzantine, Mediterranean, shipbuilding traditions, THEODOSIAN HARBOR, ISTANBUL, TURKEY
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


Yenikapi (YK) 27 shipwreck was uncovered by salvage excavations conducted by the Istanbul Archaeology Museum between 2004 and 2013 at Yenikapi, Istanbul. The vessel, most probably a merchant ship from the 8th and 9th centuries AD, was one of the 37 boat remains found at the site where Thedosian Harbour was situated in the Byzantine period. The principal structural components of the ship's hull including the keel, bottom planks, and most of the floor timbers were found intact, however the upper structure above the waterline level and rigging are not survived. This study analyzes the construction technique and structural features of the vessel based on a detailed post-excavation examination of the wooden hull members; its construction features have been evaluated within the framework of development of shipbuilding traditions in the Mediterranean and by comparisons with other contemporaneous wrecks. As the condition of wreck's surviving hull members is exceptional, its examination provides a better understanding of important details that might help to explain the profound change that occurred in Mediterranean shipbuilding during the early medieval period. Rarely seen framing pattern and non-edge fastened planking strakes are the major features that make YK 27 different from other ancient ship hulls. General characteristics of the ship suggest that it was built with a distinctive understanding of shipbuilding combined with ancient and early medieval traditions.