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.
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.
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”.
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.
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…
To provide more insight into what it’s actually like during an expedition, the following is an example of what happens on a typical day of fieldwork during the Return to Antikythera project…
6.30am – Wake up
7am – Breakfast
7.30am – Load equipment into the vehicles & trailer, then move to the dock
9am – 10am – Dive teams descend, with the sequence and timing of descents depending on the days plan
10am -11.30am – Decompression
2.15pm – Lunch
3pm – 5pm showers and unwind
8pm – Dinner
10pm – Bed time
Then repeat the next day…
Modern science is helping us better understand the past, with new technologies and techniques complimenting standard archaeological methods in piecing together what actually happened 2000+ years ago. Much like how modern forensics help police with investigations.
DNA testing, 3D reconstruction and isotopic analysis are three different techniques used by the Return to Antikythera Project, which we’ll talk about in more detail shortly.
Artefacts are often fragile, so where possible a 3D model is constructed both in situ underwater and after an object has been recovered from the shipwreck.
Here’s a 3D model of a hand from a marble statue found during the spring fieldwork season.
This is an example of an artefact that is badly eroded, making it difficult to say what the rest of the statue looked like, hence the development of an initiative called 3D Antiquity.
The idea is to 3D-model thousands of ancient sculptures accurately and precisely, then compare them against the eroded and unrecognizable Antikythera marble statues, in the hope of identifying them.
The latest in diving technology also allows the team to work safer and for longer periods of time, which is important in such a difficult location.
The team is arriving in Antikythera from around the world at the moment, for the 2016 summer expedition on the shipwreck, which commences this week.
The MV Poseidon dive vessel stopped off briefly at Diakofti, Kythera en route this morning, to pick up Michel and Christine from Hublot who are spending time with the team in Antikythera.
Michel is one of the people responsible for bringing the Bubblot, underwater drone to life.
Mathias Buttet, Director of R&D at Hublot, and designer of the Antikythera Mechanism watch arrived in Antikythera today, perfect timing to observe the excavation in top gear over the next few days.
Another interesting arrival was a caïque with Kalymnian sponge divers on board, who will be diving for sponges in the area this week. It was quite nostalgic talking to the guys, who have a similar vessel and use similar techniques to the sponge divers who originally found the Antikythera shipwreck in 1900.
Luxury watch maker HUBLOT is a major sponsor of the Return to Antikythera project and their support is greatly appreciated.
We’d like to thank Dr. Fotini Lata for her help this week, when team photographer Brett Seymour sustained a hand injury. She helped diagnose the injury and immobilized Brett’s hand, which assisted him in getting back in the water sooner.
It’s a shame that Fotini finishes her post in Antikythera today and we wish her the best, perhaps returning next year as team doctor for Return to Antikythera 2016.
The team has found a good rhythm and is being very productive. It takes a week to set up and then the first few days to iron out any bugs, and now we’re past those phases, the team is hitting its stride. Below is a selection of photos from today, showing the team in action.
And beneath the surface, the following video by Evan Kovacs provides insight regarding how working in water is like being in a different world.
Photos by John Fardoulis ©ARGO 2015
The underwater excavation is currently in full swing, with multiple 2-3 diver teams making the most of their bottom time each day.
A very detailed map has been created for the site by an underwater robot at the beginning of summer and last year, meaning that everything retrieved from the shipwreck can be plotted on this blueprint, which helps us better understand the shipwreck by studying the spatial relationship between objects.
If you go back a few posts, an explanation was provided about how the underwater dredge works. It’s currently a major tool in helping uncover thousands of years of sand/silt/gravel. Today’s photos are by Brett Seymour.