Divers exploring ancient shipwreck where human remains found off Greece discover second wreck, new treasures


What technology could change the way we learn about shipwrecks


What technology could change the way we learn about shipwrecks

05:06

A new survey of an iconic ancient shipwreck off the coast of Greece has revealed new treasures — and the remains of a second sunken vessel — more than 2,000 years after it plunged to the bottom of the Aegean Sea.

During a recent expedition at the site of the Antikythera shipwreck, marine archaeologists uncovered about 300 new objects, including 18 marble statue fragments,  a previously undiscovered part of the vessel’s hull and the remains of a wooden ship that was “beneath the crushed cargo it was carrying,” the Greek Ministry of Culture announced last week.

The Antikythera shipwreck, which dates to the 1st century BC, was originally discovered in the Aegean Sea by sponge divers in 1900. In the decades since, researchers have tried to the identify human remains found in the wreck, as well as learn more details about the mysterious fate of the Roman-era ship.

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Archaeologists uncovered about 300 new objects, including 18 marble statue fragments,  a previously undiscovered part of the vessel’s hull and the remains of a wooden ship, officials said.

Greek Ministry of Culture


The most recent survey, conducted from May 17 to June 20, revealed the wreckage of a second ship and new artworks, which scientists said triggered brand new questions.

“Was there only one ship involved in this ancient maritime tragedy? How exactly did the wreck happen? Did the human remains recovered in recent years belong to passengers or crew members?” the ministry wrote in a news release, which included seven images from the expedition.

The archaeologists, aided by exceptionally good weather conditions, were able to study two sites, Area A and Area B, which are more than 600 feet apart and over 150 feet below the water’s surface. Researchers said “the most important find” in Area A was a previously unseen part of the ship’s hull that combines important nautical features, including wooden planks and copper pins, which confirmed the exact orientation of the ancient ship.

“Through the ongoing comparative study of data, the question arises whether more than one ship sank during the same event in Antikythera,” the ministry said.

In Area B, archaeologists discovered pottery very similar to that recovered over the decades from the main wreck site — and further excavation confirmed the presence of the remains of a wooden ship, found under its crushed cargo.

At both sites, divers found marble fragments from sculptures, including several marble fingers, a part of a palm, and fragments of clothing. Researchers were able to determine that all the fragments were parts of different statues.

Divers also uncovered more than 200 ceramic fragments, including an oil lamp, a two-handled vase and table pottery.

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Researchers said “the most important find” was a previously unseen part of the ship’s hull.

Greek Ministry of Culture


The recent expedition, led by Angeliki G. Simosi and Lorenz Baumer, was part of the Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece’s (ESAG) 2021-2025 research program, the ministry said. The site is perhaps most famous for the discovery of the Antikythera mechanism, a mysterious device with interlocking gears that appears to be an “astronomical calculation machine of immense complexity,” according to Scientific American. It is often referred to as the world’s oldest analog computer.

Countless shipwrecks are scattered off the coast of Greece. Earlier this year, Greek researchers using Homer’s “Iliad” as a guide announced they found 10 shipwrecks, including one estimated to be more than 5,000 years old and another from the World War II era.



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