Digging at the ancient archaeological site of Yenikapı in Turkey, archaeologists found what they call “the ancient equivalent of a tablet”.
A 1,200-year-old wooden tablet was found in the remains of a ship that sunk in what was once known as Theodosius Port in the ancient Constantinople and probably belonged to the ship’s captain.
The rectangular object opens up like a notebook and has a sliding cover with removable tablets inside on which notes could be taken by using wax. One of the internal levels had spaces in which weights could be inserted and used as an assay balance. Assay balances were used either to determine the content of a precious metal (usually gold) in an alloy, thus establishing the fineness of the latter (usually in carats or per cent). Or the determination of metal content (usually in per cent) in an ore.
Until a few years ago, it was thought that the first human settlements in Istanbul dated back 2,700 years when Greek colonists from Megara in Corinthion peninsula (near Athens) sailed and first settled in Chalchedon (present day Kadikoy) on the Asian side in 675 BC. Approximately 16 years later King Byzas, settled on the opposite side of Chalchedon, an area chosen for its strategic location on the sea routes from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. King Byzas named the city Byzantium after himself. However, the belief that the Greek colonists were the first was upturned when excavations for the Yenikapi subway station and the Marmaray undersea tunnel to cross the Bopshorus uncovered Neolithic settlements, with the oldest dating back to 6,700 BC. The discovery served to rewrite Istanbul’s history.