Aegean Sea yields 22 shipwrecks in less than 2 weeks, the oldest dating back to 700 B.C.

By @vitthernandez on
Sunken Amphoras
A diver swims next to a replica of the North African amphoras from the second to fourth century B.C. in Historical Underwater Park in Mali Losinj July 23, 2014. The park features 11 different exponents, placed between 5 and 15 metres deep in the water, which testify the rich history of Losinj island and its region. Picture taken July 23, 2014. Reuters/Anotnio Bronic

Greek scientists have discovered 22 shipwrecks in less than two weeks. Most of the sunken vessels under the Aegean Sea are ancient ships, with the oldest dating back to 700 B.C.

The search, a joint Greek-American archaeological expedition to the Fourni archipelago, was done over 13 days. Their find is considered among the top archeological discoveries of 2015. A British charity, the Honor Frost Foundation, funded the expedition, aided by local sponge divers, fishermen and free divers, with some help from technological and archeological methods. To create the 3D site plans, archeologists used photogrammetry.

More than just yield old artefacts, the discovery resurfaces ancient trade networks which used to connect the whole Mediterranean. These commercial networks are believed to have linked parts of the Black Sea, Aegean Sea, Cyprus, the Levant and Egypt, reports Mashable.

The vessels also yielded diverse cargoes, some of which were discovered only for the first time, says George Koutsouflakis, Greek director of the group of scientists from the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, RPM Nautical Foundation and University of Southampton.

Images of the recovery posted by the group include large amphoras and pithos, now undergoing analysis and conservation at the Ephorate’s laboratory in Athens and may possibly be displayed in museums later. Amphoras were large containers where wine was stored in ancient Greece, while pithos were used to store fluids and grains.

The oldest vessel belongs to the Archiac Period, while the later ones, the “newest” of which was a ship in circa 300-600 A.D., were from the Late Medieval Period, Classical, Hellenistic and Late Roman Period.

Besides Greece, Australia too has a history of 800 shipwrecks as the early settlers, who were convicts, went by water vessels from England. To boost the protection of the country’s Great Barrier Reef, 20 participants attended a two-day course on Nov 3-4 in marine archeology in Townsville.

The participants are marine rangers from national parks, sports and racing rangers, employees of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and students from the James Cook University.

Marine archeologist Paddy Waterson, from the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, discloses that since the late 1700, about 1,400 ships are believed to have been shipwrecked along Queensland’s coastline, and 800 are believed to be still in the protected marine park.

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