Joint Greek-American Venture Discovers 45 Shipwrecks
Two Greek-American expeditions have discovered 45 shipwrecks in the Fourni archipelago in Greece.
The team headed by Peter Campbell, a University of Southampton (UK) archaeologist, launched the first expedition in September 2015. The latest was conducted during June and early July 2016 which led to the discovery of 23 new shipwrecks dating from around 1,000 BC to the 19th century AD.
Both expeditions aim to find and document ancient, Medieval, and post-Medieval shipwrecks in the archipelago.
More Sites to Discover
According to Peter Campbell, the concentration of the shipwrecks gives them possibility for more discoveries.
“The concentration of the shipwrecks and the large area remaining to be explored leaves every indication that there are many more sites to discover.” – Peter Campbell
In addition, the project only covered less than 50 per cent of the archipelago’s coastline with diver surveys. This means there are regions, especially deep-water areas, still to explore.
With the assumption that there are still more shipwrecks to discover, the project plans to continue the survey through 2018. After completing a full survey of the archipelago’s underwater cultural resources, the team will consider excavating shipwrecks of significant scientific value.
The latest expedition led to discovery of ancient ships that spans the late Archaic Period (c. 525-480 BC) to the Early Modern Period (c. 1750-1850). The most significant shipwrecks of the latest survey are a Late Archaic-early Classical wreck with amphorae (large jug like containers) from the eastern Aegean, a Hellenistic cargo of amphoras from Kos, three Roman cargos of Sinopean amphorae, a wreck of North African amphorae of the 3rd – 4th century AD, and a cargo of Late Roman tableware.
Aside from ancient shipwrecks, the team also discovered rare finds such as jettisoned pottery and ancient anchors. Among these are two massive stone-stocks of ancient anchors dating to the Archaic Period – the largest found in the Aegean so far.
Fourni in Focus
Fourni is a collection of 13 islands and islets between the Aegean islands of Samos and Icaria. Many of its inhabitants are fishermen.
Fourni lies along a major east-west crossing route, as well as the primary north-south route that connected the Aegean to the Levant.
Fourni becomes a tourist attraction during summer season for its exquisite beaches. On the main island are a number of beaches such as Vlychada, Vitsilia, Petrokopio, Elidaki, and Bali.