Photo copyright the Institute of Nautical Archaeology.

3,300 years ago, a ship failed to clear Uluburun, a rocky peninsula in southern Turkey that juts into the Mediterranean. Excavated from 1984 to 1996, the ship yielded a rich Near Eastern cargo, including ten tons of copper ingots mostly in the shape of dried ox hides—which rested on the seabed much as they had been stacked on the ship—and one ton of tin (raw materials for 11 tons of bronze). In “Shipwreck!” Cemal Pulak, co-director of the underwater excavations at Uluburun, suggests that the ship may have been carrying royal gifts. In “Recovered! The World’s Oldest Book,” Dorit Symington discusses the ship’s most precious cargo: a Bronze Age folding tablet. To write on this “book,” a scribe would have inscribed a message on wax with a stylus.