An underwater archaeology museum will be established in the southern province of Antalya’s Kemer district in collaboration with the Culture and Tourism Ministry and Antalya Governors’ Office.

The Underwater Research Center’s instructor, Associate Professor Hakan Öniz, said the museum, where the materials removed from the world’s oldest 3,600-year-old shipwreck will be exhibited, will make Kemer the center of underwater archeology.

The world’s oldest shipwreck was found by Öniz and his team in the western part of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, paving the way for Kemer’s tourism landscape to change. Works have been initiated for the establishment of the Mediterranean Underwater Research Archaeology Museum in Kemer.

“The museum project was made three months ago and a special place has been determined in the third degree site of Idyros ancient city, which is still undergoing excavations in the center of Kemer. The museum will be established on an area of 3,000 square meters. The museum will display the world’s oldest commercial wreck, which was discovered in recent months and recently revealed. The ship was probably caught in a storm on the way to Cyprus, Crete, or another place in the Aegean and sank. Now an international team, including international experts such as Professor Cemal Pula, will start excavations in the shipwreck,” said Öniz.

Findings from a shipwreck pass through two stages, Öniz said. “First is conservation, which is desalination. The second is the restoration, which means if they can be repaired, they will be repaired with scientific methods. These stages will be passed in the laboratory of the Antalya Museum the Bodrum Underwater Museum and then continue in the new underwater museum in Kemer. Finally, they will be displayed in the Mediterranean Underwater Museum which will be finished possibly in two years.”

Öniz said that these artifacts are very important because an article published last week confirmed that it was the world’s oldest.

“At present, there are 74 pillow-type copper ingots in the shipwreck. Maybe there will be more. The New York Metropolitan Museum has one ingot and the Athens National Museum of Archaeology has four. In other words, while there are five ingots on display all over the world, at least 73-74 ingots will be exhibited in the Museum of Underwater Archeology in Kemer. This will probably be with the revival of the wreck,” he said.

‘Magnificent display area’

Öniz said that there is also an Ottoman shipwreck off Alanya’s coasts, of which an important part will be displayed in the new museum. He said the museum will be located in the ancient city of Idyros.

“Within the scope of the museum project, the ancient city that is home to an early period church and a bridge with many different beautiful structures and Roman-era road will be transformed into an archaeology park. The stream there is already in a little bad condition. The renewal and revision of this stream is also in the project. Fishermen will have an accommodation opportunity there and this place will become a tourism hotspot. A part of this archaeology park will be the Mediterranean Archaeology Museum. The Culture and Tourism Ministry is working on it. I can say in advance that there will be a huge exhibition area,” he said.

He added that the museum will also be an extension of Kemer’s tourism vicinity.

“Because, as we all know, there are not enough reasons for tourists to go out in areas such as Kemer, Alanya and Side. Now we expect that holidaymakers in Kemer will want to see the oldest shipwreck in the world. And we only know that people from all over the world will come to see this wreck. The shipwreck, which is the Göbeklitepe of underwater archeology, will make Kemer an underwater archaeology center. This Bronze Age shipwreck was a trending topic on Twitter last week when only the scientific article was announced,” Öniz said.