For the third consecutive year, the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities has conducted an underwater excavation at the site of the Antikythera shipwreck. Work was carried out between the 4th and the 20th of September, under particularly good weather conditions, as has been announced by the Ministry of Culture and Sports.
During research, excavations continued in the sea area, from where come the remains of skeletons from last year’s operation, as well as components from the ship itself such as: sections of lead tubing, counterweights and aggregates of iron objects. At the same time, a multitude of shards of amphorae and other vessels were recovered in this year’s excavation season.
Among the most significant finds to be pulled up is a section of the bronze folds from a statue’s garment, as well as a right arm made of bronze, in one piece. An aggregate was also recovered formed round some iron object that is entirely oxidized and has left its imprint. It was also observed that lead leaf, shells and pieces of wood have been trapped in it. As showed by radiography, inside the aggregate there is also an omphalos bowl/phiale made of a metal whose type will be discovered when released from the limestone formation.
Also found was a rectangular, practically intact slab of multicoloured reddish marble from a table top with a rim on its obverse side, measuring 68×35 cm and 5cm thick, as well as one more stamped amphora handle ,similar with two others found in earlier excavations.
It is worth noting that the bronze findings include a highly oxidized disc-shaped object, with four perforated appendages, on which, as radiography has shown, there is the image of an animal, possibly a bull.
Lastly, a particularly important finding is a wooden part of the ship itself (shell and ribs), which, combined with the findings of the cargo and its location, further clarifies the picture of the naval accident, especially in conjunction with the indirect information from material recovered by sponge divers in 1900.
More small items were labelled or pulled up such as ceramic fragments, nails from the ship itself and sheets of metal from the ship’s plating, as well as objects that are evidence of the presence of the Cousteau/Ministry of Culture and Sciences team in 1976. The excavation also yielded objects which, αt first glance, are hard to distinguish and which will later be studied in order to be identified
At the same time, the excavation was extended to two more areas, where fragments of copper and marble statues to be researched in future, were located under large boulders that had landed on the sea bed during a massive earthquake.
The research conducted is under the direction of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities headed by Angeliki Simosi, while the scientists responsible for the project and field operators are archaeologists Th. Theodoulou and D. Kourkoumelis from the EUA. The research team collaborates with the archaeologist technologist Dr B. Foley from the University of Lund.
“This research conducted by the Ministry of Culture and Sports is under the auspices of the Presidency of the Hellenic Republic and funded from resources secured by Dr. Foley and provided through the University of Lund or through the Non-Profit Organization ARGO. Research was supported by the Swiss company Hublot, the Catherine Laskaridis Foundation, the Swordspoint Foundation, Autodesk, the OTE-COSMOTE companies and the Domestic Property Committee of Kythera and Antikythera. Special thanks are due to the Municipality of Kythera, which provides the entire municipal infrastructure for hospitality in Antikythera, as well as to the people of Antikythera”, concludes the Ministry’s announcement.