A unique first-person report on the exploration of the archaeological site Byzantium, or Constantinople, is available to North Carolina residents this week.
Dr. Ufuk Kocabas, director of Istanbul University's Department of Marine Archaeology and Yenikapi Shipwrecks Project, will speak at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh on Thursday, March 1, the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort on Saturday, March 3, and the N.C. Maritime Museum in Southport on Sunday, March 4.
The lecture and question-and-answer session at each venue will review work and archaeological findings of the ancient harbor beneath the modern Yenikapi neighborhood in present day Istanbul, Turkey. In 2004, workers discovered the silted remains of the 4th century harbor during construction of the world's deepest tunnel for a rail and metro network designed to run under the Bosphorus Sea and link Europe and Asia.
The vast archeological site covers the equivalent of ten city blocks in Istanbul. Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of 36 Byzantine ships, cargo boats, gold coins, marble, 8,500 year old skeletons and more.
"This is unquestionably one of the most important archaeological finds in the last 100 years," said Joseph Schwarzer, director of the N.C. Maritime Museums. "This has changed and will continue to change, our understanding of history."
The two-week lecture tour is the first for Kocabas in the United States. The free presentations will be at the N.C. Museum of History, March 1 at 6:30 p.m.; the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort March 3 at 5;30 p.m.; and the N.C. Maritime Museum in Southport March 4 at 2 p.m.
The Division of State History Museums is part of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. For additional information call (919) 807-7389.