Researchers Uncover Secrets of a Ship Sunk Almost 500 Years Ago

Total Croatia News

More secrets of the past are uncovered by the Department of Archaeology of the University of Zadar.

Underwater research at the Gnalić site near Biograd, where the ship Gagliana sunk in the 16th century, is in full swing. Divers are working on wreckage of the ship which sank in November 1583 and removing various items: pieces of glass, parts of candlesticks, amphorae, luxury dishes and glasses, scissors, bells… The wreckage includes even some guns. So far, at the bottom of the sea more than 20,000 items have been found. Current research activities are being led by Irena Radić Rossi from the Department of Archaeology of the University of Zadar, reports Jutarnji List on October 18, 2015.

“It is a rich site and my estimate is that the project will certainly take at least ten years. It all depends on how thoroughly we want to study the wreckage, and of course our goal is to explore it completely. However, the duration of the project does not really depend on our wishes, but on available funds”, dr. Rossi said.

Gagliana was sailing from Venice to Istanbul, carrying luxury items to the harem of Sultan Murad III. In May 1583, there was a fire in the harem at the Topkapi Palace, so the Sultan ordered its reconstruction. Among other items, in Venice he bought five thousand round windows. The cargo, and there was a lot of it since the ship could carry 720 tons of cargo, included fine fabrics intended for his mother. However, the shipment never reached Istanbul. We still do not know why the ship sank, but there are indications that it was sunk by the captain, Alvise Finardi, himself. Apparently, the ship was also carrying some diamonds, and the captain saw it as an opportunity to solve some of his personal debts. He survived the event, but many of his sailors were not so lucky.

“So far, we are very satisfied with the progress of research activities. However, there is a lot more work ahead. Every day, about 15 divers take part, and the project involves volunteers from Croatia, Germany and Italy. The site which we are researching is well known around the world. A lot of people are asking us about the results of the project, and many of them want to participate as well”, says Radić Rossi.

After restoration, all items will likely become a part of the Regional Museum in Biograd.


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