FULL SCALE REPLICA OF THE YENIKAPI 12 MEDIEVAL SHIP
The Yenikapı 12 shipwreck was uncovered in 2007 in the course of salvage excavations at the Theodosian Harbor, one of the most important Byzantine harbors on the Marmara coast. Based on a coin found in the context of the shipwreck and results of the 14C analysis of the woods indicate that the ship has been dated to the 9th century AD. Because the boat sank at a slight angle on its hull and was suddenly covered by sand, part of the amphorae cargo, and therefore most of the wooden members under this cargo, were preserved completely and in situ.
According to the reconstruction results, YK 12 was a small trading vessel min. 9.20 m long and 2.54 m wide, suitable for coastal navigation. It travelled with a single-mast lateen sail and was controlled by two quarter-rudders characteristic of that period. It had a special compartment closer to the stem, a foredeck, side-deck, and a poop deck. The flat-framed hull shape increased the boat’s ability to enter easily into shallow harbors and bays, and the wider build of the bow increased its capability to cope with high waves.
The replica is being built at RMK Marine shipyard in Istanbul; one of the pioneer companies of Turkish shipbuilding industry. Construction team includes Istanbul University’s Conservation of Marine Archaeological Objects Department staff, experienced carpenters, ship designers and experts.
The design of the hull form of the replica is based on the actual remains of the shipwreck. Reconstruction data was processed with digital software providing hydrostatic values, stability curve, load distribution, load center calculations and volumetric analysis. Other data such as planking dimensions, planking and frame joint locations, framing pattern, ceiling pattern, bulkhead arrangement, through beam locations and deck height were defined in detail.
This replica construction is aimed to inform students, both professional and amateur researchers as an educational item. In doing so all the construction phase has been documented with time-lapse shootings through GoPro camera, besides a documentary by Istanbul University’s Faculty of Communication Sciences has been prepared. It is important to note that although the material and design of the replica is based on the actual remains of YK 12 shipwreck, this study should not be considered as an experimental archaeology project. Rather it aims to perceive a 9th century ship with its original form and dimensions as a physical visual source. Future exhibitions at both national and international museums and sailing experiences have been planned.