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Eight ancient shipwrecks discovered in the Aegean Sea

With the end of the year came news of a wonderful find made by a team of Norwegian underwater archaeologists. The researchers discovered 8 ancient wrecks belonging to the Roman civilisation. The vessels were found at the bottom of the Aegean Sea, near the very popular among tourists island of Naxos – the third largest,
Published: January 8, 2018 - 13:15
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 16:18
Eight ancient shipwrecks discovered in the Aegean Sea

With the end of the year came news of a wonderful find made by a team of Norwegian underwater archaeologists. The researchers discovered 8 ancient wrecks belonging to the Roman civilisation. The vessels were found at the bottom of the Aegean Sea, near the very popular among tourists island of Naxos – the third largest, included in the Cyclades archipelago.

For the Greeks living in this area, knowledge of the ancient artefacts that dot the sea bed in the area is nothing new. Various objects, mainly amphorae and anchors, have been and are discovered from time to time. However, it is rare to find as many as 8 ancient wrecks with cargo holds scattered around in such a small area.

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The shipwrecks rest at a shallow depth of about 30 metres. In comparison with the conditions under water, this makes it much easier to explore and document the site, which raises a lot of emotions and hopes. The researchers hope that their discovery will reveal some of the mystery that shrouds the interesting history of this area in ancient times.

[blockquote style=”2″]”These finds prove that the surrounding reef could be a great resource to learn more about the region’s trade routes in antiquity.”[/blockquote]

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The find is tentatively estimated to be 2,000 years old and, interestingly, its discovery is… a coincidence. Researchers from the Norwegian Institute in Athens, came across the wrecks while searching for the remains of the southern port of Naxos.

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Among the artefacts found are amphorae, tiles or bricks, among others, clearly indicating the type of units we are dealing with. Some of the amphorae found, having two handles and a narrow neck, allow their approximate age to be determined at 100-300 BC.

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The determination of the approximate age of the archaeological sites that have been located has made it possible to assign individual wrecks to specific periods. Among them were those from the Hellenistic period and particular phases of the Roman influence period.

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Several types of uncovered anchors, made of different materials including stone, lead or iron, should be considered of exceptional value. As you can guess, those made of stone represent the most primitive version and are the oldest, while those made of metal show the development that took place in a short time.

As for how the vessels ended up at the bottom and lying on the surrounding reefs, archaeologists hypothesise that the crews sought a safe haven near the island of Naxos, as the area was famous for its large number of harbours and anchorages.

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So far, scientists have only managed to explore four wrecks. Another four have been located using side scan sonar, but their hidden secrets still await the seabed. We will have to wait until archaeologists return to work later in 2018 to discover them, and perhaps to find more wrecks.

Source: greekreporter.com Photo: Frode Kvaloread

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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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