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by Archaeology Newsroom

The shipwreck of the “Mendor”

The Institute of Underwater Archaeological Research is the first Greek institution engaged in underwater archaeology. It is staffed with a wide range of specialists who voluntarily offer their experience and knowledge; architects, archaeologists, geologists, photographers and others who are also qualified divers. The Institute has to its credit many underwater research projects while it also runs a variety of other programs, the organization of educational seminars, congresses, the editing of the periodical “Enalia”, a library, scientific archives and an educational film library. Among the research projects undertaken by the Institute is that of the shipwreck “Mendor”, loaded with seventeen boxes of Elgin marbles, mainly from the Parthenon and the Temple of Niki Apteros on the Acropolis. On September 16 1802, the ship departed from Piraeus with a crew of twelve and its first scheduled stop was the Island of Malta. The next day and while the “Mendor” was sailing close to Cape Maleas, it sank due to stormy weather. Immediately after the accident, Lord Elgin employed Greek divers and the raising of the precious cargo from a depth of 22- 24 metres began. In 1980, the Institute examined the wreck of the “Mendor” with the purpose of studying the conditions that caused the wreck, location and finding a part of the lost cargo. The findings were rather poor but more extended research may prove more successful