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Ancient treasures discovered on Roman wreck in Kasos

A team of Greek underwater archaeologists investigating sites located in the Aegean waters surrounding the island of Kasos have discovered and brought to the surface a number of interesting artefacts dating back to Roman times. The researchers focused on exploring and documenting the wreck of an ancient Roman ship from the 2nd to 3rd centuries,
Published: January 22, 2021 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 21:52
Ancient treasures discovered on Roman wreck in Kasos

A team of Greek underwater archaeologists investigating sites located in the Aegean waters surrounding the island of Kasos have discovered and brought to the surface a number of interesting artefacts dating back to Roman times.

The researchers focused on exploring and documenting the wreck of an ancient Roman ship from the 2nd to 3rd centuries, which was discovered during an expedition conducted between 23 September and 14 October 2020, led by Xanthis Argyris and Georgios Koutsouflakis.

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Documentation of an ancient shipwreck
Investigation and documentation of an ancient shipwreck near Kasos photo Greek Ministry of Culture

Until now, any information about the discovery of the wreck has been kept strictly secret. In a press release published by the Greek authorities, it was reported that the wreck is “full of ancient treasures”.

The cargo found on the wreck consists of two types of amphorae – “Dressel 20”, which are oil amphorae and were produced in ceramic workshops in Spain, and amphorae of the “Africana I” category, which were produced in the area of present-day Tunisia. Based precisely on the ceramics collected and studied, the experts determined the origin of the wreck to be between the 2nd and 3rd centuries.

artefacts found on an ancient wreck
Artefacts found on a wreck from the 1st-3rd century photo Greek Ministry of Culture

In addition to the Roman merchant shipwreck described above, three other wrecks have been identified and documented. Two from ancient times with a cargo of amphorae from the 1st century BC produced in areas on the northern side of the Aegean Sea and a cargo of amphorae from the 5th century BC produced in Mendi. Another wreck is from modern times.

Kasos, is the southernmost Greek island in the Aegean Sea. It lies between Crete and Karpathos and is located on the historical sea trade route connecting the Middle East with the Aegean Sea. In ancient times the island was inhabited by representatives of the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures.

Artefacts recovered from the wreck
Fragments of amphorae brought to the surface photo Greek Ministry of Culture

Between 2019 and 2021, the waters around the island were for the first time the field of systematic archaeological research. The main objective of the three-year project was to identify, document and study marine artefacts at a site that was a crossroads of cultures, but also an important navigational point from antiquity until modern times.

Photo Archaeologists lifting an amphora from an ancient Roman shipwreck near Kasos/Greek Ministry of Culture

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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