National Geographic : 1987 Dec
Raw ivory for the workshop OYAL HUNTS in Syria are evoked by a section of ele phant tusk. Artisans fash ioned the ivory into decorative containersto hold ointments and cosmetics. In a possible sequence (lower right) a bottom and lid were cut first.A bow drill then removed the solid interior, yielding a cylinder available for anotheruse. When carving was complete, the bottom was attachedwith ivory pegs, and a disk was carved inside the lid to fit the rim. Two hippopotamus teeth were also found on the wreck. universe but also the patron god of craftsmen, especially metalsmiths? THAT SEASON added as many questions as it did clues to the nationality and character of our ancient ship's crew. Cemal showed me an Egyptian gold ring that had been cut in half with a chisel, thus rendering the text of the inscription on its bezel illegible. Our crew had already guessed why a damaged ring was on board. They had found other deliberately damaged jewelry such as halves of ornate gold pendants, some of them crumpled like pieces of pa per, and a crushed gold flower. Twisted fragments of silver bracelets added proof that the ship carried a hoard of precious scrap metals. I had hoped that the type and design of weapons, which might represent personal items of defense, would give us some hint at the nationality of our ship's crew. Two bronze swords of nearly identical size had been found that summer on the wreck, lying only a few feet apart. But one was distinctly Mycenaean and the other Canaanite! Perhaps the crew of our ancient merchantman was as mixed as those aboard modern tramp steamers. When we began the 1986 season atUlu Burun, we thought we might have run out of archaeo logical firsts. We needn't have worried. As usual some of the surprises came from laboratories half a world away. Most of the hundred Canaan ite amphorae we had so far exca vated had been filled with a yellow resin. Analysis by John S.