A new survey at the site of the British ship Mentor, which sank off southern Greece more than 200 years ago carrying marbles from the Acropolis to London, shows that Lord Elgin collected other Greek antiquities besides the sculptures taken from the Parthenon.
During a two-week search, Greek Culture Ministry divers explored the wreck of the Mentor, off the island of Kythera and found three ancient handles of Rhodian amphoras and a small stone vessel. The findings confirm the theory that other antiquities besides the Parthenon marbles were aboard the ship. The shipwreck has been investigated by underwater archaeologists since 2009 in the hope of finding other Parthenon marbles.
The ship was loaded with 16 crates of marble art removed from the Acropolis on behalf of Thomas Bruce, the Scottish Earl of Elgin. En-route to Malta and then the United Kingdom, the ship sank in 1802 during a storm at the entrance of the port of Avlaimona, on the island of Kythera.
Recovered soon after the sinking, the sculptures are now displayed with other Parthenon Marbles in London’s British Museum. They are at the center of a long standing cultural dispute between Greece and Britain.
As with the other explorations, the July underwater excavation aimed at establishing whether there are still remnants of artworks near the ship. Carried out with the support of the Kytherian Research Group, an Australian foundation, and under the direction of archaeologist Dimitrios Kourkoumelis, the excavation concentrated on a 17 by 17-foot area.
Poorly preserved wood fragments, possibly related to the hull of the ship, were recovered along with objects related to the operation of the vessel such as a pulley, an intact hourglass, and several fragments of dishes and everyday utensils.
Among the personal items belonging to the 12 men aboard, crew and passengers, were a glass decorative stamp bearing the letter “B,” a bone pawn chess piece and fragments of a bone comb.
Source: news.discovery.com, by Rossella Lorenzi