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Deep in the Mediterranean, Experts Make ‘Stunning Finds’ From One of World’s Most Mysterious Shipwrecks

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"It's the Titanic of the ancient world."

WHOI Diving Safety Officer Edward O'Brien "spacewalks" in the Exosuit, suspended from the Hellenic Navy vessel THETIS during the 2014 Return to Antikythera project. (Image source: Brett Seymour, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

An international team of divers and archeologists recovered "stunning new finds" from an ancient Greek treasure ship that sunk more than 2,000 years ago in the Mediterranean, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announced last week.

"The evidence shows this is the largest ancient shipwreck ever discovered," said Brendan Foley, a member of the team, in a press release. "It's the Titanic of the ancient world."

WHOI Diving Safety Officer Edward O'Brien "spacewalks" in the Exosuit, suspended from the Hellenic Navy vessel THETIS during the 2014 Return to Antikythera project. (Image source: Brett Seymour, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) WHOI Diving Safety Officer Edward O'Brien "spacewalks" in the Exosuit, suspended from the Hellenic Navy vessel THETIS during the 2014 Return to Antikythera project. (Image source: Brett Seymour, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

"The Antikythera shipwreck is maybe the most important, most famous shipwreck from antiquity," he added to CNN. "We are hardcore scientists and archaeologists. We hate to speak of treasure but in this case, it's actually a treasure ship and there are just no two ways about it."

[sharequote align="center"]"The Antikythera shipwreck is maybe the most important, most famous shipwreck from antiquity."[/sharequote]

The ship, which sunk to 55-meters underwater off the remote island of Antikythera, was first discovered by divers in 1900 who were blown off course by a storm, according to WHOI. That team retrieved a "spectacular haul of ancient treasure," but were forced to end their mission after a member of their team died.

Return to Antikythera project chief diver Philip Short inspects the bronze spear recovered from the Antikythera Shipwreck. (Image source: Brett Seymour, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) Greek technical diver Alexandros Sotiriou discovers an intact "lagynos" ceramic table jug and a bronze rigging ring on the Antikythera Shipwreck. (Image source: Brett Seymour, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

A new team visited the site in mid-September, creating a high-tech 3D map of the area and finishing their mission on Oct. 7th.

The team determined that much of the ship's cargo are still preserved under sediment on the sea floor and also concluded that the ship was much larger than previously thought.

So what did they recover? According to WHOI, the divers retrieved a a "beautiful intact table jug," part of an ornate bed leg and — "most impressive of all" — a 2-meter-long bronze spear hidden beneath the sand.

Return to Antikythera project chief diver Philip Short inspects the bronze spear recovered from the Antikythera Shipwreck. (Image source: Brett Seymour, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) Return to Antikythera project chief diver Philip Short inspects the bronze spear recovered from the Antikythera Shipwreck. (Image source: Brett Seymour, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Foley said that since the spear's large size indicated that it likely belonged to a giant statue, possibly a warrior or goddess.

His colleague, Theotokis Theodoulou called that particular find "very promising."

The team said that they will be returning back to the site next year to future excavate the site.

"We have a lot of work to do at this site to uncover its secrets," Theodoulou said.

(H/T: MIC)

Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter

 

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