A Shipwreck, a Scarab, and a Cylinder Seal: A Snapshot of Long Distance Trade in the New Kingdom
In the late 14th century B.C., a ship carrying over 20 tons of cargo sank off the coast of Turkey. But this ancient tragedy has proved to be one of the most exciting archaeological finds of the 20th century! For the Uluburun shipwreck, as it is now known, is that rarest of discoveries, a moment frozen in time. Its contents can be assigned to at least seven different cultures ranging from Greece to Mesopotamia and Syria to Nubia. The shipwreck, the oldest found to date, reveals the tangible evidence of the vibrant Mediterranean trading network only alluded to in the Amarna letters.
Jeanne Nijhowne holds a PhD in Middle Eastern archaeology and currently works at CU Boulder.
I decided to become a Near Eastern archaeologist at age 11 after reading a book on the six great, ancient civilizations. That determination never wavered. My first overseas dig was at the site of Nagada, a third millennium B.C. site about a half hour north of Luxor, Egypt in 1981. I returned to Egypt in 1992 to work at Abu Sha’ar, a Roman fort on the beach of the Red Sea. Both before and after my Egyptian trips, I participated in archaeological excavations in Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, and Syria. I was part of the permanent staff at Tell Mozan in northeastern Syria until the war started in 2011. Along the way, I earned a PhD in Anthropology with a specialty in Near Eastern archaeology. I wrote my dissertation on Old Babylonian and Kassite cylinder seals. I also discovered a passion for teaching. I’ve taught anthropology and archaeology courses at Binghamton University, Hartwick College, and SUNY-Oneonta all in upstate New York and at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. I currently teach “The Archaeology of Mesopotamia in the Second Millennium BC” and “Religion and Politics of Ancient Egypt” at CU Boulder and take the opportunity to lecture about Near Eastern archaeology whenever the opportunity arises.