In October 2019, the underwater archaeological research was resumed once again at the site of the emblematic Antikythera shipwreck with a by now exclusive Greek participation under Dr Angeliki G. Simosi, Head of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Euboea.
As announced by the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the operation was a great success, despite adverse weather conditions and the limited time allowed for the research’s salvage nature. The research was supported by the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation with the help of the boat “Typhoon” loaned by the A.C. Laskaridis Public Benefit Foundation for the duration of the field research.
Initially the site of the shipwreck was located once again and fresh boundaries set up following the last research in September 2017. Five sacks of sand were brought up, left on the seabed from the previous excavation season, the products of which were very carefully sifted by the expert conservator of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities in the presence of two archaeologists. During the separation process bones were selected to be analyzed, what may be olive pits, copper nails from the ship and a bronze ring whose use is so far not known.
In addition, a plastic basket measuring 110x110x45 cm was pulled up, full of parts of amphorae; their bases, necks and bodies preserved from the belly to the base.
Among the findings was an iron shaft with a circular ending to it.
It is significant that among the bases of the amphorae from the island of Kos, a different type was also found whose origin is not yet known and which needs to be identified. Recovered from the surface of the sea bed of the site were three necks of amphorae, two of the Laboglia 2 type from Southern Italy and one from Kos, as well as a complete Koan amphora with a missing handle.
An impressive find is a section of wood bearing four bronze nails possibly related to the shipwreck’s statics. All the finds were moved to the laboratories of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities for conservation.
In this present research, the half finished mapping of the shipwreck site was completed with the method of photogrammetry.
Participating from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities were Dr George Koutsouflakis the project’s scientific head and team supervisor, Aikaterini Tagonidou, architect scuba diver, and Chrysa Fouseki , conservator scuba diver. They were invaluable to the mission’s success and were warmly thanked by its head Dr Simosi.
Also taking part for the first time in the underwater research were four deep sea divers from the Underwater Missions Unit of the Greek Coast Guard: Dimitrios Stamoulis, George Lytrivis, Dimitrios Hatziaslan and Athanasios Keitzis , the dive technicians Alexandros Sotiriou, Nikos Yannoulakis and Athanasios Chronopoulos, as well as two marine archaeologists Orestes Manousos and Achilleas Dionysopoulos. All research work was recorded by cameraman Michael Tsimperopoulos. Retired Commander of the Navy Alexandros Palatianos was the operational director of the expedition.
Head of the research, archaeologist scuba diver Dr Angeliki G. Simosi dived and stayed in the field through the entire research by the team of twenty. This was considered to be a very impressive number, since other than the participants who were highly trained and experienced divers , the operation was supported by the boat “Typhoon”. This unique vessel in the Aegean is 72 metres long and 16 metres wide and is equipped with state of the art navigation systems. It has five large inflatable boats on its operation deck on the alert at all times for any lifting required.
This scientific expedition in October 2019 completes the first five year research programme. Based on the results of the last research, preparations will begin immediately on the new five year programme starting in May 2020, with the continuation of the excavation in various parts of the shipwreck where there are valid indications that new impressive findings will come to light.
After submitting the first excavation report of the five years research, publication is forthcoming of results of the overall research programme of the first five years.
“Thanks are due to the research sponsors; the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, Hublot the Swiss watchmaker and the Athanasios Laskaridis Public Benefit Foundation, the Mayor of Kythira Antikythera Efstratios Chrysakis and the people of the island who have been supporting the research over the years, for whom the expedition members arranged a special briefing session”, concludes the Ministry’s announcement.
The expedition’s official video will be posted on YouTube.
The official website ‟Return to Antikythera” is at: http://antikythera.net.gr