Today was a weather induced catch-up day, hence being a good time to thank some special guests who visited us during the last week.
Mathias Buttet, R&D Director at Hublot, visited Antikythera and presented King Power Oceanographic 4000 diving watches to our lead divers. These watches are depth rated to 4000 meters, roughly the depth of the Titanic. They are the official diving watches of the “Return to Antikythera” expedition.
The team was also blessed by the Metropolitan of Kythera, Bishop Serafim, accompanied by the new mayor of Kythera and Antikythera, Efstratios Charchalakis.
Two of the six man Hellenic Navy Seal (O.Y.K) team who are part of this year’s expedition have arrived with a truck filled with equipment, and are preparing for in-water operations during the excavation phase of the project. Even though the weather is too bad for diving, lots is still going on.
The Hellenic Navy is another key partner in the project who deserves thanks, providing skilled personnel, equipment and the Thetis as a support vessel for Exosuit.
The first working dive of the 2014 expedition took place on the Antikythera shipwreck today, with lead divers Alexander Sotiriou and Phil Short laying a mooring line and conducting a metal detector survey.
A number of interesting targets were located, as well as the retrieval of a small metal object, which may be ancient.
Digital mapping of the Antikythera shipwreck is done for 2014, with the engineers from the Australian Centre for Field Robotics, University of Sydney spending the day processing data collected by Sirius, the underwater robot.
The diving team is getting ready for the next phase, which will be a metal detector survey, then opening some test trenches to see what may lay beneath the sand and silt on the wreck.
The first phase of the 2014 project, creating high resolution 3D maps of the Antikythera shipwreck site has been completed using Sirius, the underwater robot (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle).
This phase of operations was made possible by the generous support by the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, who has provided the yacht GLAROS as a research vessel for the duration of the expedition.
Sirius weighs approximately 250 kilograms, meaning that a substantial vessel, with a crane is needed for deployment. Enter the yacht GLAROS, which served as launch and retrieval platform for the underwater robot and also provided accommodation for the engineers from the Australian Centre for Field Robotics, University of Sydney.
The Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation was established as a non-profit making organization on April 24, 2007 by a Presidential Decree and the authorization of the Ministries of Education, Culture, Finance and Mercantile Marine.
Wishing to advance the already successful development of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Library and to expand its activities, Panos and Marilena Laskaridis located the Foundation in a private renovated building in Piraeus, hometown of Aikaterini Laskaridis.
The Aikaterini Laskaridis Library, founded by Constantinos Laskaridis in 1993 in memory of his wife and originally based in a neoclassical 19th century building of N. Faliron, has been fully incorporated into the Foundation. The President of the Library is Marilena Laskaridis. The Library consists of over 28.000 titles and its collection is being consistently enhanced.
The Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation’s primary objective is the national and worldwide advancement of Greek culture as well as research in History and Greek Maritime Heritage, Tradition and Merchant Navy.
It has completed several missions over the Antikythera shipwreck, firstly conducting multi beam sonar runs, and then stereo photogrammetry passes, in order to stitch thousands of photos together and create a very high resolution map of the area.
Some missions have been in excess of two hours each, emphasising one of the key benefits of using a robot is that humans aren’t exposed to difficult conditions.
Here’s a video taken by Phil Short of Sirius in action over the Antikythera shipwreck.
There were 3-4 metre waves over the wreck site today, so AUV (underwater robotic) operations took place on the sheltered side of the island on the yacht GLAROS* and diving vessel, POSEIDON.
So instead of diving, the archaeologists examined the general area near the wreck site, discussing theories of how it may have sank at the hands of Roman sailors possibly during similar conditions, more than 2000 years ago.