Ancient shipwrecks were discovered near a Greek archipelago during an expedition in the eastern Aegean Sea. Marine biologists investigated the waters near Fourni, Greece.
Locals had been reporting seeing ancient pottery on the seafloor for a long time and last month a diving expedition began in the area. With the very first dive the discoveries made far exceeded the scientist’s expectations. Remains of an ancient late Roman-period shipwreck were found on the very first day of the expedition and, by the fifth day of diving, evidence of 9 more sunke ships had been uncovered.
By the end of the 13 day expedition a total of 22 ancient shipwrecks had been found, some dating back more than 2,500 years. Fourni, which is located between the islands of Samos and Icaria, may have more waters worth exploring and more hidden relics buried underneath them.
Although it did not have any big cities, Fourni was important in the ancient world in terms of its location along the Aegean trading and crossing routes. Roman historical records describe it as an affluent and prosperous place, with a thriving population at the time.
However, in the late Roman period, written mentions of the area and the archipelago are scarce and contain little information. This makes the discovery of relics and ships from this era uncovered by the divers in Fourni even more impressive and unusual.
The ships discovered there dated from several historical periods, such as the Archaic and Medieval times, and were found at different depths, some in shallow waters and some deeper under the sea., over an area on 17 square miles.
Although wood does not fare well under water unless it is buried deep in mud and deprived of oxygen and the ship remains themselves do not offer much information for now, there are lots of piles of cargo which offer valuable information.
As the wrecks uncovered so far are not far out at sea but closer to the Fourni coasts, the piles of cargo and amphoras found are scattered around the place where the ship crashed onto the rocks. However researchers predict that bigger clusters of cargo might be found on the following underwater excavations as the marine biologists will search farther out into the sea.
Before the excavations can take place, the scientists will return with additional equipment such as underwater robots to continue the exploration and gather further information for the expeditions to come.
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