The Antikythera shipwreck excavation team is combining bright individuals and reputable entities. See relevant details below.
Director of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities Dr. Aggeliki Simossi has overall responsibility for the research program at Antikythera, as well as all other underwater archaeological research conducted in Hellenic waters. These duties prevent her from participating directly in the excavation of the shipwreck, but she will be in daily contact with us on Antikythera to monitor progress and encourage the field team.
Co-Director of the field project Dr. Theotokis Theodoulou is a maritime archaeologist in the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports. His expertise extends across the spectrum of ancient marine activities: from ancient shipwrecks to harbor installations, and the history of sponge diving in Greece and the wider Mediterranean. Technologically inclined, he is certified to dive the Sentinel closed circuit rebreather, normoxic breathing gases, and the Exosuit. He has co-directed several projects using Autonomous Underwater Vehicles. A native of Cyprus, he lives in Heraklion, where he runs the Crete Department of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities.
Co-Director of the field project Dr. Dimitris Kourkoumelis is a maritime archaeologist in the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities. Expert in the study of ancient shipwrecks and maritime trade, he has published extensively on amphoras from several sites, including the Antikythera Shipwreck. He has been tasked by the Ministry with overseeing underwater archaeological research in several regions of Hellenic national waters, including Antikythera and Kythera. In addition to supervising work at Antikythera, he currently directs the excavation of the MENTOR shipwreck, which sank off Kythera while chartered by Lord Elgin to carry the Parthenon Marbles to England.
Co-Director of the field project Dr. Brendan Foley is a Research Specialist in the Deep Submergence Laboratory of WHOI’s Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering. With more than 20 years of experience in maritime archaeology, he has worked in partnership with the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities annually since 2004. He holds advanced degrees in economic history, archaeology, and the history of technology, and specializes in the application of advanced technologies to archaeology. On previous archaeological projects, he has used AUVs, ROVs, the nuclear submarine NR-1, submersibles, and rebreathers; the 2014 project will be his first project diving the Exosuit. With Dr. Maria Hansson, Theotokis Theodoulou, and Dimitris Kourkoumelis, he has pioneered ancient DNA investigations of amphora contents.
Underwater archaeologist Dr. David Conlin, holds a Ph.D. and a Master’s degree in anthropology and archaeology from Brown University in Rhode Island and a Master’s degree in Aegean and Maritime archaeology from Oxford University in England. Dave is the Chief of the US National Park Service’s underwater archaeology team and he has a great deal of experience with large scale international underwater archaeology projects. Dave’s Greek is not nearly as good as he thinks it is but he still manages to keep the team’s sprits up with his constant stream of jokes, laughter and love of Greece and her people.
WHOI Diving Safety Officer Edward O’Brien has a background in commercial shipping and diving. After graduating from Massachusetts Maritime Academy, he sailed as an officer in merchant vessels and tugboats before transitioning to a career in maritime casualty response. His background in investigating modern shipwrecks has proven invaluable in studies of ancient wrecks. A certified commercial diver and Exosuit trainer, Ed coordinates all in-water activities for the Antikythera project.
Technical Lead Alexandros Sotiriou comes from a storied diving family in Athens. Noted for leading expeditions to the wreck of Britannic (sister to Titanic). Alexandros is a specialist in solving complicated logistical and operational problems, has been with our team since 2012, also trained as an Exosuit pilot.
Underwater Archaeologist Dr. Alex Tourtas, started with the project as a post graduate student and jack-of-all-trades. Beyond his technical diving certifications and skills in the water, Alex creates many of the archaeological illustrations and artifact renderings of objects recovered from the wreck sites.
Diving Operations Manager, Professional Scientific and Media Diver Phillip Short is one of the world’s most renowned extreme divers. His interest in diving grew from his fascination with cave exploration, and in 2013 he spent 45 days underground venturing into a massive Mexican cave complex. Phil certified most of the Antikythera team in the use of closed circuit rebreathers and diver propulsion vehicles, and has supervised Closed Circuit diving operations on the Antikythera Shipwreck, Mentor Shipwreck and Tulsamerican Aircraft wreck projects. Phil is certified to dive the Exosuit.
Diver Medic Technician, Professional Scientific and Media Diver Gemma Smith is a leading ambassador for women in diving, and open and closed circuit Cave and Technical Diving Instructor and an expedition Cave Diver. Gemma has operated as a team diver and ‘Guardian’ for the projects scientists on the Antikythera Shipwreck, the Mentor Shipwreck and the Tulsamerican Aircraft wreck. Gemma is a published author and photographer within the diving community.
Technical Diving Instructor Nikos Giannoulakis, feels like home when working underwater. Also very experienced with dealing with team pre and post dive arrangements including equipment handling and breathing gas mixing and blending.
Underwater Cinematographer Evan Kovacs, is an experienced technical diver and specializes expeditions utilizing remotely operated vehicles (“ROVs”) and submersibles to survey and film everything from the R.M.S. Titanic to deep sea hydrothermal vents. Evan not only builds camera and lighting systems for these jobs, he is one of the few professional cinematographers qualified to use these systems at depths to 500 feet (152 meters) using closed circuit rebreathers, manned submersibles and ROVs. His underwater and topside work can be seen on National Geographic, History Channel, Discovery Channel, PBS (Emmy nominated for videography in 2009), CBC, NHK and elsewhere
Underwater Photographer Brett Seymour, has been working as a full-time underwater photographer since 1994. His career with the US National Park Service Submerged Resources Center has provided underwater access to some of the United States most captivating national parks. In addition to making a whole new dimension of the National Park system available to the public, for past two decades Brett has specialized in documenting historically significant underwater sites around the world. Brett has been the Antikythera project underwater photographer since 2014.
Aerial Videographer and Media Specialist John Fardoulis, the man behind beautiful texts and images.
Chief diver of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities Manolis Tzefronis will serve as safety diver and Rigid Inflatable Boat captain during the project. A veteran of decades of underwater archaeology in Greece, Manolis has long been a fixture in Aegean diving and international projects. Notably, he selected shooting locations for the movie The Big Blue, and also appeared in several scenes.
Historian of Science and Antikythera Mechanism expert Yanis Bitsakis is an executive producer of the research program. Yanis is a tireless behind-the-scenes dynamo, linking a world-wide network of Antikythera enthusiasts and specialists. His efforts catalyzed the Antikythera Shipwreck exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum, and subsequently have been vital to the development of the 2014 Antikythera survey and excavation. Yanis also serves as webmaster for this site.
Diving Support Vessel Skippers Dimitris Romios and Michalis Kelaidis, competent seamen who are taking care of our surface support and solve issues of technical nature.
Dive Support Boat Captain Dimitris Drakos owns and operates Diver’s Club Crete in Agia Pelagia. Our team conducted closed circuit rebreather training at that facility in 2011, Dimitris has also participated in our research at Antikythera and around Crete. His knowledge of diving and support vessel operations has been essential to safety in the water and on deck.
Dr Hannes Shroeder, an ancient DNA expert from the Natural History Museum of Denmark, has been with us at Antikythera to assess delicate findings and advise on further actions.
The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle team:
Led by Dr. Oscar Pizarro, a team of engineers from the Australian Centre for Marine Robotics will conduct the pre-disturbance survey of the wreck site. Oscar has a long connection with WHOI: he earned his PhD in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program, and remains a Guest Investigator at the Institution. Oscar and his team have worked all over the world on several archaeological surveys and coral reef mapping projects: from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, to the jungled shoreline of Panama, to the submerged Bronze Age village of Pavlopetri, Greece. Their technique involves precision mapping using stereo-pair cameras on the AUV, to deliver three-dimensional pixel-resolution site representations.