In the last week, archaeologists have discovered one of the world’s largest, untouched shipwreck sites. Now referred to as the shipwreck capital of the world, there are 22 wrecks all within a close connection. Most intriguing of all, the shipwrecks stretch back nearly 2000 years. The oldest wreck has an estimated date of 700BCE. The archaeologists have since dropped most of their other explorations in the area to focus on this one site.
The site itself has previously been overlooked due to its location. It is not on any modern shipping lines or routes. But, judging by the age of the ships found, it was a key route in the late Roman era. The shipwreck site itself is located off the coast of Greece, in the Fourni region. It’s a nice break from the constant cycle of the debt crisis news from Greece. Fourni was an old stopping point for shipping routes in the Black Sea, Aegean Sea, Cyprus, Egypt and the Levant. The archaeologists in question are now expanding their search. They believe there could be as many as 40 shipwrecks in a 17 mile area.
Historians suggest this area was hit heavily by storms during the periods in question. That gives the exploration team some form of explanation for the huge ship graveyard. However, there is also a more sinister reason behind some of the shipwrecks. Historians also believe the area was a high target for pirates. It’s estimated that many of these shipwrecks are the result of pirate activity. Of course, further investigation will bring these issues to light.
The oldest ship in the graveyard dates back to 700BCE, making it one of the most intriguing list of shipwrecks ever. Most of the wrecks are late Roman era. It represents a highly productive period of time, where shipbuilding thrived, and trade routes flourished. The Roman Empire was well connected across these sea routes, so it’s no surprise to find so many wrecks in this area.
It brings us naturally to one question: What did they find? Well, these are some of the oldest shipwrecks in the ocean. So, unfortunately, much of the cargo is destroyed. However, there are some things that survived. Pieces of pottery and certain navigation tools remain in tact. Divers are now using lift bags to salvage as much as possible from the shipwrecks. Only when they identify exactly what’s down there, will they learn more about what happened. It should give us a fascinating insight into how they navigated the ocean 2000 years ago.
The most exciting revelation is that there could very well be more. In fact, scientists predict there are 40 shipwrecks in the same area. All local diving and archaeology teams are shifting their focus to discover what else is down there. These 22 shipwrecks alone count for 12% of all known Greek wrecks. And they were all discovered in a day! It just shows how much more there could be left to discover.
The archaeologists are already in talks with museums to display the best of the remains found. In the meantime, we’ll keep our ears close to the ground for further discoveries in the Greek sea.