Marine archaeologist Bjørn Lovén from the University of Copenhagen has – with a team of Greek colleagues – discovered the remains of Athens’ ancient naval base that was established in 493 BCE. The base, which was one of the Ancient World’s largest structures, played a pivotal role in the defense of Ancient Greece.

On the University of Copenhagen’s website, Loven said the team used pottery and carbon-14 dating on a piece of wood and dated the sheds to around 520-480 B.C.

Moreover, the sheds are thought to have housed ships that were used to fight Persian invaders during the Battle of Salamis, which took place in 480 B.C. between an alliance of Greek city-states under Themistocles, and King Xerxes’ Persian Empire. Although the Greeks were outnumbered, they won the battle, which took place in the straits between the Greek mainland and the island of Salamis.

naval base

“This naval battle was a pivotal event in Greek history; it is difficult to predict what would have happened if the Greek fleet had lost at Salamis, but it is clear that a Persian victory would have had immense consequences for subsequent cultural and social developments in Europe,” said Loven.

“The victory at Salamis rightly echoes through history and awakens awe and inspiration around the world today.”

The sheds were discovered as part of the Zea Harbour Project, which took place from 2001 to 2012.