History : Mar-Apr 2016
4 MARCH/APRIL 2016 NEWS prepared for this. Shipwrecks were found literally every- where.” Adding 12 percent to the total of known ancient wrecks in Greek waters in on- ly two weeks, of the 22 craft found, more than half are from the late Roman era. The “newest” vessel found dates to the 1500s, and the oldest is thought to have sunk some time between 650 and 480 b.c ., the period in which the political and philosophical innovations of ancient Greece were taking shape. Centuries Historians have long known the eastern Aegean is teeming with shipwrecks, and local fishermen and sponge divers helped them find them. Acting on tips from these lo- cals, a joint Greece-United States expedition team made one of the top archaeological finds of 2015: 22 shipwrecks. “We expected a successful season,” said George Kout- souflakis, director of the ex- pedition off the tiny Fourni archipelago, “but no one was Loose Lips Locate Ships! AmazingAegean Discovery Local fishermen and divers led archaeologists to the wreckage sites of an astounding 22 ancient shipwrecks near Greece’s Fourni islands. UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGY of trade between Greece and Turkey, and southern areas of the Mediterranean as far afield as Egypt, turned the Aegean into one of the great shipping corridors of the clas- sical world. Expedition members es- timate dozens more ancient wrecks may lie in Fourni’s hazardous reef-strewn wa- ters, a vivid reminder that the ancient trade in olive oil, wine, and fish sauce could be lethal as well as lucrative. The boats themselves rotted long RICH CARGO DNA analysis of the Fourni amphorae is expected to confirm that most contained olive oil, wine, and garum, a fish sauce that was a popular ancient condiment. Smaller jars may have contained jams, honey, nuts such as hazlenuts and almonds, and luxuries like perfumes. REMAINS OF THE CLAY The wooden hulls of the shipwrecks off Fourni have long rotted away, leaving behind a seafloor littered with the remains of clay jars called amphorae.