In a new framework spanning several years, the Antikythera shipwreck, also known as the Titanic of ancient Greece keeps scientists busy with excavating ancient artifacts.
The Antikythera shipwreck is a continuous fascination for the scientific community, keeping the flame of discovery alive. First spotted in the 1900’s by Greek sponge fishermen, it was only in recent years that interest in the shipwreck and the mysteries it holds sparked once more.
Particularly with the discovery of the Antikythera mechanism and several luxury goods buried deep in the sediments, the ancient shipwreck site is deemed to hold the key to a deeper insight on the life of ancient Greeks, their science and technology.
According to Doctor Brendan Foley with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, one of the institutions leading the expeditions:
“This shipwreck is far from exhausted. Every single dive on it delivers fabulous finds and reveals how the 1 percent lived in the time of Caesar”.
Dated to approximately 65 B.C., the Antikythera shipwreck is an unceasing source of surprise. The mechanism found at the ancient site was also dated initially to around the same period.
However, more recently it was re-dated to around 200 B.C. This amazing mechanical piece is believed to have been inspired by the Babylonians. Its purpose? To help the scientists of the time predict in a very accurate manner when eclipses would occur, as well as the positioning of planets at a given point in time.
This particular finding has been singled out at the time of its unearthing as mesmerizing. However, the rest of the treasures unearthed from the sediments of the Antikythera shipwreck are in no way less valuable.
Over 50 artifacts are pinpointing life as it would have looked for the Greek upper class at the time the ship sunk. Luxurious glassware, jewels, finely worked ceramics and pottery, perfume bottles are all clues that will help scientists paint a vivid picture of those times.
From August 26th to September 16th, professional divers, assisted by marine archaeologists took to the underwater ancient site to bring back as much as possible and submit the artifacts to careful analysis. Among other findings, a bronze armrest, possibly originating from a throne and parts of an anchor revealing details on the Antikythera ship have been brought to light.
The end of excavations and dives at the site of the ancient Antikythera shipwreck is nowhere near. As scientists’ goal is to eventually create this vivid image of the ship, its cargo and at a larger scale of the ancient Greek society it represented, the project is bound to last for several years.
The first steps have been taken. The artifacts unearthed thus far and the realization of a 3D map in high-resolution of the site are just the beginning.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia