Excavation Continues

The amazing weather window continues and team in logging one of the most productive field season yet. Typical dive rotations include staggered archeologists / guardians who have a bottom time between 40 and 70 minutes with a total run time of 2 to 3 hours. In addition an imaging team jumps between the rotations capturing both still and 4K video.

The team briefing outlining dive teams, objectives, safety issues and planned run time occurs every day. (Photo by Brett Seymour EUA / ARGO NGO)
Dr. Theotokis Theodhoulou conducts his pre-dive checks before entering the water. (Photo by Michael Tsimperopoulos, EUA / AGO NGO)
Paolo Iglic hands a bail-out cylinder to Alexandros Sotiriou. (Photo by Brett Seymour, EUA / ARGO NGO)
Gemma Smith descends with the cliff face of Antikythera in the background.(Photo by Brett Seymour, EUA / ARGO NGO)
Evan Kovacs documents the excavation. (Photo by Brett Seymour, EUA / ARGO NGO)
Excavation among the rock sea bottom. (Photo by Brett Seymour, EUA / ARGO NGO)
Dr Brendan Foley and Gemma Smith excavate a sand pocket on the site.(Photo by Brett Seymour, EUA / ARGO NGO)

Understanding a 2000 Year Old Shipwreck

The diving continues at Antikythera. We have had a run of exceptional weather with light winds from the west which allows the team to access the site under the protection of the island. Todays dives were focused on continued test excavations in known areas of the site that have yielded either diagnostic finds or metal detector signals. In addition, divers and archeologists worked to delineate the extent of the wreck site with the use of specially engineered metal detector capable of penetrating deep into the sediment or under rocks. Each “hit” is recorded on the GIS based high resolution map generated in 2014 with the use of a subsea tablet and will be investigated on subsequent dives. This growing database of artifacts, site diagnostics and surveyed areas aid the archeologists in understanding the position of the wreck and the 2000 year plus site formation process.

Upon completing the diving rotations the team was met back in Potamos Harbor by project supporters aboard the familiar M/V GLAROS. Those aboard included Panos Laskaridis and Dr. Ageliki Simosi, Director of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities.

The commute to work: waiting on the surface for the signal that the excavation pump is ready for the divers. (Photo by Brett Seymour EUA / ARGO NGO)
Alexandros Sotiriou metal detects over the steep slope. The one-of-a-kind detector built specifically to Alexandros’ specifications can “see” through more than two meters of rock to detect buried objects. (Photo by Brett Seymour EUA / ARGO NGO)
While Alexandros Sotiriou conducts the metal detector survey, each detector “hit” is entered into the GIS based site map via the underwater tablet by Dr Alex Tortuas. (Photo by Brett Seymour EUA / ARGO NGO)
Arrival of friends aboard M/V GLAROS (Seagull): Panos Laskaridis and Dr. Ageliki Simosi, Director of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities. (Photo by Brett Seymour EUA / ARGO NGO)
Dr. Brendan Foley, with appropriate field beard, discusses plans with Dr. Ageliki Simosi. (Photo by Brett Seymour EUA / ARGO NGO)
Discussion of the campaign’s successes, in a convivial setting aboard the yacht. (Photo by Brett Seymour EUA / ARGO NGO)

 

Descent to Antikythera

Underwater visibility on the site has been astounding. (Photo by Brett Seymour EUA / Lund University / ARGO NGO)
Divers descend down the slope of Antikytera to the  56m / 180ft depth of the site. Notice the two dive platforms in the image.. (Photo by Brett Seymour EUA / Lund University / ARGO NGO)
On site, the team excavated with dredge and occasionally by hand-fanning the sediments, with bright lights illuminating the scene. Here Dr. Brendan Foley and Dr Alex Tourtas excavate and record the location of the finds while Gemma Smith provides lighting and Evan Kovacs films the excavation. (Photo by Brett Seymour EUA / Lund University / ARGO NGO)
All finds recorded immediately by still and video camera, and entered into our GIS database via a tablet computer in an underwater housing. Here Dr. Alex Tourtas hovers over an area where pin flags have been placed based on metal detector readings. (Photo by Brett Seymour EUA / Lund University / ARGO NGO)

Staying Connected

Even though Antikythera is in a remote location, we remain connected to the rest of the world through the latest 4G technology.  Quality telecommunications are also vital for 3D modeling and remote data processing, interactive software support, firmware updates, cloud storage, and video conferencing with stakeholders around the world. Once again, COSMOTE has exceeded expectations in keeping us connected.

Remote & cloud-based data processing.
One of the 4G cellular towers in Antikythera.

Day One of the 2017 Expedition

Today was the first day of the 2017 expedition, one of the most physically demanding stages of the project. Around ten tonnes of equipment and supplies were unloaded and readied for usage. The team split into three, setting up the mess area for the next three weeks, building the gas station to fill SCUBA cylinders, unloading the dive boats and preparing dive equipment. There is only limited infrastructure on the island, meaning that almost everything has to be shipped in and set up each time.

Michalis Protopsaltis helped the team by providing a forklift and driver from Kythera to unload pallets from the ferry. We would have been in serious trouble without such a tool.
This entire truck load of equipment came from Athens and was loaded onto the ferry in Kythera.

Team members have been arriving from around the world, with; Theotokis Theodoulou,  Nikolas Giannoulakis,  Mihalis Kelaidis,  Phil Short and Gemma Smith making the transit from Chania to Antikythera aboard diving support vessel “Nikolas”.

The transit from Chania in Crete to Antikythera.

Alexander Sotiriou and Dimitrios Romios made the transit to Antikythera from Alimos on diving support vessel “Poseidon”, collecting John Fardoulis from Kythera on the way.

Diving support vessel “Poseidon” stopping off in Diakofti, Kythera on the way.

Brendan Foley, Alex Tourtas, Michael Tsimperopoulos, Paolo Iglic, Ilias Charalampous and Dimitra Kotsi arrived on the ferry from Neapolis, with four heavily laden vehicles and thirteen pallets of equipment and supplies.

The main job for tomorrow, day two, will be to finish assembling dive equipment and do shakedown dives, ideally heading to the wreck on Wednesday to do the rigging, before excavating can begin. Stay tuned for more…

Tonnes of equipment and supplies shipped in for the three-week duration of the expedition.
All hands required to help unload and set up.

Assembling rebreathers.
Boxes containing dry suits, and soft equipment need to be unpacked.
Photographic equipment, spare parts and more dive gear.
Dive cylinders to be filled.
Pumps and other excavation equipment.
Vans, SUVs & trailers transported to Antikythera for the expedition.