A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship

A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship.

30"At the crash site of Antikythera ship, sunk in the 1st century BC, the second stage of the underwater excavations of 2016 begins. All equipment is installed and ready to work," said Angelika Simosi, head of the Greek Inspectorate of Underwater Antiquities, on Tuesday.

Antikythera mechanism is a complex tool of copper, bronze and wood. It was discovered more than a century ago (in 1900) by a diver among the remains of a Roman ship in the Aegean Sea near the island of Antikythera. At the moment, it is believed that this is an antique computer machine consisting of dials, hands and gears and capable of calculating the dates of 42 astronomical events. Most likely, it was created in the II century BC. on the island of Rhodes, where he lived and worked the greatest mathematician and astronomer Hipparch of Nicaea.

Recent studies have shown that the anti-Hitter mechanism turned out to be more complex than the astronomical clock known to Western Europe since the 14th century.This ancient Greek tool was at the same time something like a “computer”, a mechanical planetarium, an astronomical clock and an automatic calendar. Its gears and scales, developed with great precision, carried out mathematical operations that predicted astronomical phenomena — the positions of the Sun and the Moon, lunar phases, eclipse days, the time of the Olympic, Pythian, Nemean and Isthmian games, various holidays.

The site of the wreck of an ancient Roman ship off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera is being studied for the third time. The first excavations of 1900-1902 laid the foundation for underwater archeology as a separate discipline, at the same time the most famous artifacts were raised from the bottom, including the most famous Antikythera mechanism.

The second time the place of death of the ship was disturbed by Jacques-Yves Cousteau in 1976. Then the team "Calypso" discovered and raised from the bottom more than 300 items, among which are fragments of human skeletons.

Modern excavations began in 2012. The first two years, archaeologists did not touch anything, just tried on: during the expeditions 2012-2014, researchers created a three-dimensional map of the bottom in high resolution, using stereo cameras installed on an autonomous underwater vehicle.All the accumulated clusters of metal objects were mapped onto the map — bottom exploration using a metal detector showed the presence of fragments of bronze, lead, copper and iron.31

The actual excavations began in 2014. For the first time, the Exosuit exocost was used for archaeological purposes - a unique autonomous system for underwater work. An exo-suit diver can safely dive to a depth of more than 300 meters and work autonomously for about 50 hours.

In 2014, the first finds were made, which proved that most of the cargo of the Antikythera ship still rests on the bottom of the Aegean Sea.

This year, the first stage of the excavation took place from May 22 to June 11. Archaeologists have raised many artifacts from the bottom, the most significant of them being the golden ring; a bronze spear with a tip (probably a fragment of a statue of a warrior; the first such spear was found in 2014); four pieces of marble statues; the wooden leg of the piece of furniture covered with copper plates; fragments of luxurious glassware, including those made using the millefiori technique; amphoras and jugs.

On Antiquiter, a tiny island in the Aegean Sea,there are no conditions for living and especially for scientific work; therefore, the archeological seasons are rather short, and at the end of the work, researchers leave for homes - from Sweden to Australia. Now the international team is back together.

The unofficial goal of the research is the search for new fragments of the Antikythera mechanism. For five seasons of excavation, archaeologists did not find them, but they made discoveries of a different kind. It turned out that the Antikythera ship was much larger than previously thought - its length was about 50 meters. This is the largest ancient vessel ever found. The head of the excavation, Brendan Fowley, called him the "Titanic of the ancient world" and compared it to a barge, loaded with objects of art for auction like Sotheby's or Christie's.

At a distance of 150-200 meters from the Antikythera ship, the remains of the second vessel were discovered. It is likely that both ships went along the route together and sank simultaneously during a storm off the coast of Antikythera. Now the abundance of finds is becoming a problem, archeologists even proposed to postpone research until the advent of new, more advanced technologies.The wreckage of the Antikythera ship is scattered over a length of at least 300 meters, the work is complicated by the considerable depth of 55-60 meters, the crash site was already twice disturbed by previous excavations. As for the most expected discovery - the new fragments of the Anti-Quitra mechanism - Brendan Fowley increasingly doubts that fragile bronze fragments survived active human curiosity.

Nevertheless, archaeologists can no longer stop; not only the scientific world keeps a close eye on the excavations: the expeditions of 2016 are held under the auspices of the Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, the sponsors of research are large companies and scientific organizations.

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  • A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship

    A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship

    A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship

    A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship

    A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship

    A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship

    A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship

    A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship

    A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship

    A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship

    A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship A new stage of excavation at the site of the wreck of the Antikythera ship