Monday, April 14, 2008
Ancient Egyptian Anchor Discovered
From the Turkish Daily News A unique anchor discovered Friday, April 11, 2008 Vercihan Ziflioğlu ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News Archaeology and anthropology are two sciences trying to shed light on the lives of ancient civilizations. The main aim of all the research is to find vestiges of lost cultures and civilizations, to decode the code of the universe, and hence, life. Ancient Egypt, with its aura of mystery, is one of the most important civilizations among the cultures of Antiquity and continues to attract the attention of scientists. As the pharaohs refuse to give up their secrets, science takes a further step toward unveiling what has been hidden for millennia. Last year, a stone anchor bearing hieroglyphic inscriptions was discovered, by chance, off the shores of Kyrenia, a significant port city in northern Cyprus. Examined by professional diver Tevfik Camgöz, the historic artifact was sent by authorities in northern Cyprus to the British Museum's Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan. After a number of examinations, experts found the anchor to be 3,000 years old and that it has no equal in the world. Camgöz refrained from giving concrete information about the coordinates of the spot where he found the anchor. Noting that research is ongoing, Camgöz said, “the main goal of the examinations conducted on the hieroglyphics inscribed on the stone anchor is to discover why the Pharaoh sailed the waters of Cyprus. That journey by the Pharaoh might change history fundamentally.” History of humanity hidden beneath northern Cypriot shores Camgöz's adventures in diving began when he was a 4-year-old. He performed his first dive when he was 15 and made many other dives in the waters of Turkey and northern Cyprus later in his life. He continued to search for the unknown under international waters as well. But it was the waters of northern Cyprus that attracted him the most. “North Cyprus is very rich in terms of underwater archaeology. An unbelievable treasure of sunken cities, ships, amphorae, and sculptures is hidden beneath the shores of North Cyprus.” Camgöz founded the Nautilus Diving School, the only diving school in northern Cyprus, five years ago. It is the only dive center to be awarded a grant by the United Nations Development Programme and Office for Project Services (UNDP-UNOPS). Behind a curtain of secrecy Camgöz found, by chance, the invaluable anchor that belonged to an erstwhile pharaoh. “One day, nine years ago, I was trying to discover diving spots in Kyrenia, a mile offshore.” Exploring at a depth of 20 meters, an object caught his eye. After a few minutes, Camgöz decided that it was just an illusion and surfaced. Last year, Camgöz made another dive at a spot near the location where he had made that dive nine years earlier. It was during that dive that he found the stone anchor. When he moved it slightly, he saw some hieroglyphics on its back surface. “I immediately recognized the hieroglyphics. I was running low on air. That's why I had to surface,” he said. A second dive to further examine the anchor resulted in the discovery of a few other historic artifacts located close to the anchor. He went on a third dive with students from the North Cyprus Campus of the Middle East Technical University to conduct scanning and inventory studies. A fourth dive was undertaken with a professional team, led by underwater archaeologist Enver Gürsoy, during which the coordinates of the site were recorded and photographs were taken. Camgöz said all the studies were undertaken under the supervision of northern Cyprus' Office of Historical Monuments. Coordinates not revealed The anchor with the hieroglyphics was then sent to the British Museum to decipher the hieroglyphics. “After an initial examination, some of the hieroglyphics were decoded. The inscriptions included information about the pharaoh's Cyprus expedition,” said Camgöz. What that discovery could fully yield is unclear for now as examinations on the ancient anchor have not yet been completed. “Studies have focused on the question of why the pharaoh conducted expeditions into the waters off Cyprus. Currently, we don't have adequate information, but experts have determined that this ancient anchor has no equal in all the world,” said Camgöz. Funds insufficient for underwater archaeology Camgöz said underwater archaeology is an evolving field, both in Turkey and northern Cyprus. “But funds are insufficient. There is a great need for financial support.” Cyprus' waters are available for diving throughout the year. The water temperature ranges between 16 and 20 degrees centigrade while diving depths range between 30 and 40 meters. Camgöz also produces underwater documentaries. Two years ago, together with Turkish state broadcaster, TRT, he prepared a documentary called “Blue Depths of Green Island” about northern Cyprus' underwater life and diversity of fish. The Web page of Camgöz's diving school is: www.nautilusdivingcyp.com.