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The French Tower, with its height of 47.5 meters, is among the most imposing structures that comprise the Bodrum Castle. It was built in the early years of the 13th century by Philibert de Naillac, the Grand Master of the Order of the Knight of St. John of Rhodes. His coat-of-arms is emblazoned on the tower wall along with the arms of the Pope and the King of France. Today, the two lower chambers of the tower house the Tektas shipwreck exhibition.
Located and identified in 1996 by archaeologist divers of INA, the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, during a routine underwater shipwreck inventory survey off the south coast of the Cesme peninsula, the site was excavated in 2001. The excavation, under the sponsorship of the National Geographic Society , was performed by INA and TINA, the Turkish counterpart of INA. The wreck was dated to the 5th century B.C., the Late Classical Age in which Herodotus lived, traveled and wrote his “Histories”. The finds from this excavation went on display here in 2004.
There were over 200 amphoras found in excellent condition and most are on display here; also, there is a replica of an anchor and an upper section of an anchor found in the wreck.
Marble discs were among the recovered artifacts and their replicas are shown attached to a model prow of a ship where they belong according to Prof. George Bass who led the excavation effort. Prof. Bass believes that they form “The eye of Achilles, ornamental or perhaps talismanic, believed to protect the ship”.
The original recovered discs are shown here separately in a showcase.
The exhibition also includes some kitchen utensils, various clay pots and oil lamps, bones, simple hand tools and hunting (and fishing) gear.
Also on display are some facsimiles of artifacts recovered from the wreck of the ship which is believed to have carried goods between potrs in the vicinity of the ancient city of Teos, near to today’s harbor of Sigacik.
The exhibition is enhanced by a display of large size photographs showing work done on land during the excavations.