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University of Alicante reveals the history of frigate Ertugrul, an Ottoman wreck sunk off Japan in 1890

Over 8,000 pieces have been recovered, catalogued and photographed during the underwater archaeology work

 

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Wide selection of historical photos of the frigate and survivors, photos of the naval ship’s Japanese documents, memorial, underwater excavation, pieces and findings, Japanese collaborating volunteer and the poster of the Turkish-Japanese co-production film that reproduces the event Courtesy by thesis author Berta Mª Lledó

 

Alicante. Thursday, 01 December 2016

The University of Alicante leads a project of contemporary underwater archaeology on a wreck sunk off Japan in the late nineteenth century. Moreover, Berta Mª Lledó defended her PhD thesis on that frigate (named Ertugrul), an Ottoman wreck in Japan, its documents, materials, exhibition and memory. The PhD Viva took place on Friday, 2 December at 11 am at the Faculty of Arts Graduation Hall.  

This is an important international Turkish-Japanese project on the Ertugrul frigate, a diplomatic trip made in 1890 between the Ottoman Empire and the Japan Meiji. Author of the PhD thesis Berta M ª Lledó is the director of the project Archaeology area along with an international team of researchers from the Institute of Nautical Archaeology  (INA), the largest organisation in the world dedicated to the study of human interaction with the sea.

The Ertugrul Frigate belonged to the Ottoman navy under Sultan Abdul Hamid II and was built in Istanbul in 1858, with a combined structure made of wood and iron and three masts, which was equipped with a steam engine in 1864 in Portsmouth (England ). On 14 July 1889, it left for Japan on a diplomatic mission which sought to strengthen ties between the two nations. The Frigate sank in Japan on 16 September 1890, after successfully completing its mission only two days after starting its return. Only 69 of its crew survived. Although the Japanese government made a rescue attemp, a large amount of decorative and personal materials were 15-metre deep by the rocks Funagora.

The archaeological project includes prospecting work in 2007 and excavation works between 2008-2010 and 2015, which retrieved, catalogued and photographed more than 8,000 pieces at both the Ertugrul Research Centre (ERC) in Kushimoto (Japan) and the Nixon  Griffis Conservation Laboratory, located at INA research centre in Bodrum (Turkey), specialising in materials from marine deposits.

Led by  Sonia Gutiérrez, Professor in Archaeology and Director directora of INAPH- UA University Institute for Archaeology and Heritage Research, the thesis is part of a line of research of which the University of Alicante is a pioneer: archeology in recent times, that is, in modern and contemporary times. 

"The work carried out by Berta Lledó draws a comprehensive analysis of the wreck and its remains as both a testimony of contemporary history and as a unique example of the construction of a common memory that has built a bond of friendship and collaboration between the two nations, with exhibitions, memorials and historical dissemination. This University of Alicante project is indeed an example of leading international research in recent Archaeology”, as stated by the UA INAPH Director.

The sinking of the Ottoman ship off the coast of Japan was even adapted for cinema in 2015 with the film 'Ertugrul 1890'.

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