22 shipwrecks discovered in one spot off the coast of Greece
Imagine finding 22 ships around a small Greek archipelago, the insight to a culture filled with so much history. We have all been influenced by.
Underwater archaeologists have discovered 22 shipwrecks around a small Greek archipelago, revealing what may be the ancient shipwreck capital of the world.
Hailed as one of the top archaeological finds of 2015, the discovery was made by a joint Greek-American archaeological expedition in the small Fourni archipelago with an area of just 17 square miles. This is a collection of 13 islands and islets located between the eastern Aegean islands of Samos and Icaria.
"Surpassing all expectations, over only 13 days we added 12 percent to the total of known ancient shipwrecks in Greek territorial waters," Peter Campbell, of the University of Southampton and co-director from US based RPM Nautical Foundation, told Discovery News.
Fourni lies right in the middle of the major east-west crossing route, as well as the north-south route that connected the Aegean to the Levant. Ships traveling from the Greek mainland to Asia Minor, or ships leaving the Aegean for the Levant had to pass by Fourni.
"Ikaria and the west coast of Samos have no harbors or anchorages, so Fourni is the safest place that ships could stop in the area," Campbell said.
It was the first time that an underwater archaeological expedition was organized to the islands. Archaeologists from the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and RPM Nautical Foundation worked with local sponge divers, fishermen, and free divers, and were more than surprised by the results.
Funding was provided by the Honor Frost Foundation, a UK charity that supports research in the eastern Mediterranean through an endowment from pioneer maritime archaeologist Honor Frost.
"In a typical survey we locate four or five shipwrecks per season in the best cases," Greek director George Koutsouflakis said.
"We expected a successful season, but no one was prepared for this. Shipwrecks were found literally everywhere."