Dr. Pamela Armstrong, Senior Research Fellow at Campion Hall, has been awarded a residential short-term Fellowship in Istanbul, at Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED) to pursue the study of the Byzantine ceramics from the Çamaltı Burnu I shipwreck excavation.
Dr. Armstrong, although not an underwater archaeologist, has been involved in this project from its inception through her collaborative work with the excavation’s director, Professor Dr. Nergis Günsenin, on the estates of the monastic confederation of mount Ganos on the north coast of the Sea of Marmara. The early thirteenth-century wreck is located just off the coast of the island of Marmara (anc. Prokonnesos) in the Sea of Marmara. The ship was carrying a cargo of wine from Ganos (mod. Gaziköy) to supply nearby Constantinople. Wine produced in the medieval period in the Mediterranean was mostly transported in amphorae, mass-produced ceramic transport containers that provide vital information about trade networks, otherwise undocumented.
The monasteries of mount Ganos have no surviving documentation for their wine trade, so the archaeological evidence is of prime importance. This is in marked contrast to the monasteries of mount Athos, which always feature in the secondary literature concerned with the economic activities of Byzantine monasteries because of the survival of their relevant archives. None of the Athos trade is supported by archaeology. Dr. Armstrong’s contribution to the publication of this excavation forms part of the wider strategy of her research: to challenge written texts with material evidence, especially in monastic contexts.
Pictured: Some of the wine amphorae found during the excavation of Çamalti Burnu I