Δευτέρα, 4 Ιουνίου 2012

Shipwrecks Discovered in the Deep Sea off Corfu Island



Greek expert’s team from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research discovered the remains of three shipwrecks some 1100 to 1300 meters deep in the Ionian Sea while researching 77 square miles of seabed off the islands of Corfu and Paxoi in Northwestern Greece.
According to the Greek Ministry of Culture, the research was conducted in an area where a Greek-Italian gas pipeline was scheduled to be sunk. Laying 1100 to 1300 deep in the sea, the two third-century Roman shipwrecks are deemed as a momentous discovery in maritime archaeology, challenging the so far popular belief that ancient sailors would sail their ships close to the coasts for safety rather than sailing the open sea.
The new findings rank among the deepest known ancient wrecks in the Mediterranean Sea. Most ancient shipwrecks are found at 150 to 200 meters deep because traders with small vessels would not easily stay away from the coasts due to their ship’s cargo and burden.
The first wreck was named “Poseidon 1” and is located 1180 meters deep. Dating back to the 3rd century AD and the Roman era, experts retrieved from the wreck so far a marble basin 30cm tall and the inlets of two different African amphorae. With the help of a Greek oceanographic vessel (Max Rover) using side-scan radar and robot submarines, the remaining cargo of the ship includes pottery, cookware, at least two anchors, parts of the ship’s ballast and remains of the wooden construction.
The second wreck was named “Poseidon 2” and is located some 1375 meters deep. Most probably this shipwreck belongs to the same historic period with the first one. The wreck contains amphorae, cookware, different metal objects, while parts of its ballast and the ship are also well preserved. However, archaeologists have been unable so far to retrieve anything from this wreck because of the muddy sea floor.
The third wreck was named “Poseidon 3” and is located 1260 meters deep. According to estimates, the ship belongs to the 17th-18th century. This wreck also holds remains from the wooden structure of the ship, iron anchors, cookware and packaging basins.
Deep wrecks are very important from a marine archaeology standpoint because they are almost always more intact than those found in shallow water, so they contain far more archaeological and historical information than other sites.
This discovery also comes during Greece's severe financial crisis, which has taken a toll on funding for archaeology.

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