Top heads of Greek Underwater Archeology reviewing the past with an eye to the future
On Friday, March 6, a conference of the Greek Department of Underwater Antiquities took place in the crowded amphitheater of the Acropolis Museum reviewing the activity of the department.
Ancient shipwrecks and their cargo, ancient ports, precious sculptures, thousands of artifacts, but also evidence to suggest possible locations of undiscovered shipwrecks, are some of the treasures of the underwater survey conducted since 1976.
Special reference was made to the Shipwreck of Antikythera, which might have no interest for recreational divers but is of a high archeological and scientific value.
Most advanced surveillance and diving methods, including the Nuytco Research Exosuit help re-discover the wreck site in an ongoing exploration that has much more to reveal and is leading the U/W archeological research worldwide.
One of the most important shipwrecks of the classical period ever revealed to the public is the one among many in The National Marine Park of Alonnisos, virtually in the center of the Aegean Sea. Originally aiming the protection of the endangered Monachus Monachus seals, it helped protect the shipwreck of a “colossal ship” (approximately 25 meters) with 3000-4000 amphorae in an a dating to the last fourth of five BC century. This vessel documents the excellent techniques of Greek shipbuilders in the 5th century and overturns the theory that large commercial ships first built by the Romans.
The good news for diving community comes as the area of The National Marine Park of Alonnisos is planned to be one of the two organized underwater archaeological sites open to recreational divers. The second site is planned for the area of Pylos in southern Peloponnese, and both are to be operational soon if not later this year.
Furthermore, there was a presentation for one of the most famous shipwrecks in the world, the HMHS Britannic that lies at the bottom of 400ft-122 m near the island of Kea, few miles southeast from Athens. Due to 2016 centennial of the shipwreck, there are plans for the wreck site, a challenge to an elite of technical divers, to be open for visitors with the use of mini subs.
As an outcome of the conference, warm and crystal clear Greek water are about to become a diving destination of global importance. Beyond the extreme archeological wealth of the Greek sea soon accessible to recreational divers, more exciting discoveries are yet to be made.
MSc Media& Communication, PADI OWSI