1976-2016: the journey to Antikythera continues…

The first phase of this year’s Return to Antikythera excavation produced fabulous results! More soon from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports. Meanwhile, 2016 is the 40th anniversary of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, and the Jacques Cousteau and Lazaros Kolonas investigation at Antikythera.

1976-2016 40 years from Cousteau Dive and establishment of Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities
Left to right, 1976: Jacques Cousteau and Lazaros Kolonas with Chief Diver Albert Falco and Ivan Giacoletto. 2016: diving ops manager Phillip Short, EUA archaeologist Theotokis Theodoulou, chief diver Alexandros Sotiriou, and archaeologist Brendan Foley.

In this image, they are pictured with Chief Diver Albert Falco and Ivan Giacoletto. In tribute to those great men, some of our team recreated the same image with some of the newly recovered artifacts: (left to right) diving ops manager Phillip Short, EUA archaeologist Theotokis Theodoulou, chief diver Alexandros Sotiriou, and archaeologist Brendan Foley.

First week at Antikythera

Recap of our first week at Antikythera: on Wednesday, the team was completed with the last arrivals; diving operations manager Phil Short and chief diver Gemma Smith flew in via helicopter, and were warmly greeted. Thanks to our friends at Costa Navarino Resort for delivering essential personnel in such style!

 

On Thursday, we conducted the first dive of the season on the Antikythera shipwreck site. We recovered artifacts we left positioned from last season, set the mooring lines and conducted a general site inspection which showed no evident interference.

 

The good weather conditions from Friday and during the weekend allowed more dives and some targeted metal detection with a brand new device specially designed for the site. More to come, stay tuned!

Will old artifacts reveal new secrets?

The Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs has approved scientific analysis of Antikythera Shipwreck artifacts from the 1901 and 1976 salvages. The first task is extracting ancient DNA in the ship’s luxury ceramic artifacts to determine their original contents. We will sample seven artifacts to start: lagynoi, olpe, and unguentaria recovered in 1901 and 1976; and a filter jar recovered in 1976.

olpe strainer_jug

We will collect the samples from the jars this month, using a non-destructive technique recommended by forensic scientists in American police crime labs. We expect to have results by the close of 2015. If this pilot study reveals ancient DNA, then we will submit a new permit application to investigate many more artifacts from the wreck.

lagynoi

Metal detection and more AUV surveys

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Saturday: we spun up the ROV and its metal detector. It can detect small pieces of copper and bronze, along with lead and ferrous metals. We’ve studied our stereocamera maps, coordinated video from all previous seasons, referred to our diving logs, and come up with a priority list for metal detection survey today on the Antikythera Shiwpreck. We will cycle our team through the operations today, and the first watch is ready to go now. This ought to be an interesting day….

Antikythera team on Glaros
Theotokis Theodoulou, Oscar Pizarro, Christian Lees, and Stefan Williams consider the ROV, deployed from the aft platform of M/Y GLAROS.

Monday: the weather continues to be ideal, for now. The AUV is in the water performing two more close-up surveys of the artifacts fields. We have great data sets, and they’re telling us a lot about the wrecks.
This is probably our last ops day – the forecast for the rest of the week is more usual Antikythera weather: Beaufort force 7 = “winds 28-33 knots, near gale, sea heaps up, waves 13-19 ft, white foam streaks off breakers”

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Return to Antikythera – 2015

2015 diving season has started!

maleas

Tuesday: on our way to Antikythera. Flat calm transit, rounded Maleas, put in to Kapsali for rendezvous and vehicle testing/calibration.

antikythera

Wednesday: at Antikythera! We assembled the robotic vehicle last night, are dunking for ballast and trim now, will run a test mission early this evening. All from yacht GLAROS, with support boat POSEIDON running nav.

metaxa

It feels like all of Greece is cheering for this project – last night a well-wisher in the vessel adjacent sent us a nice gift and kind note. It was from Mr. Metaxa himself!

On the way to Antikythera

Load-out of AUV gear to yacht GLAROS. Thanks to the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation for providing this fabulous vessel! In the meanwhile, POSEIDON is on its way, last stop for refuel: Monemvasia. Then Cape Maleas.

Antikythera, here we come!

Loading Glaros
Loading gear at Glaros before departure to Antikythera
Last stop before Antikythera for Poseidon
Last stop before Antikythera for Poseidon
Poseidon at Cape Maleas
Poseidon at Cape Maleas