Bosphorus tunnel project creates "Indiana Jones-type" archaeological dig

When construction workers for Istanbul's overwhelmed subway system opened up a tunnel running under the Bosphorus Strait, they expected to begin a process to relieve the traffic congestion. Instead, they uncovered the lost Byzantine port of Theodosius, complete with "an ancient armada: 34 Byzantine ships ranging from dating between the 7th and 11th centuries AD."

Archaeologists are working day and night on the site, which is unusually large for modern digs. "It's mind-boggling ... it really looks like an Indiana Jones-type operation," says Cemal Pulak, an anthropologist from Texas A&M University's nautical archaeology program, who has worked as a consultant on the excavation of the lost port. Experts point to the remains of the ships as pivotal in the history of shipbuilding, including "the first examples of ships being built using the beginnings of the 'skeleton approach' to constructing the vessel's hull."