Artifacts recovered from the Antikythera Shipwreck

Last updated: February 5, 2019 at 2:11 am
[ 2015 ] Archaeologists excavating the Antikythera shipwreck recover more than 50 items including a bronze armrest (possibly part of a throne), remains of a bone flute, fine glassware, luxury ceramics, a pawn from an ancient board game, and several elements of the ship itself. According project co-Director Dr. Brendan Foley of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), “Every single dive delivers fabulous finds, and reveals how the ‘1 percent’ lived in the time of Caesar.” The shipwreck dates to circa 65 B.C., and was discovered by Greek sponge fishermen in 1900 off the southwestern Aegean island of Antikythera. They salvaged 36 marble statues of mythological heroes and gods; a life-sized bronze statue of an athlete; pieces of several more bronze sculptures; scores of luxury items; and skeletal remains of crew and passengers. The wreck also relinquished fragments of the world’s first computer: the Antikythera Mechanism, a geared mechanical device that encoded the movements of the planets and stars and predicted eclipses. The 2015 expedition is part of a long-term research program at the site, which began in 2014. It is the first scientific excavation of the wreck, and the first comprehensive study of all of its artifacts. The team expects to recover artifacts and ancient artwork still buried in the sea floor, and recreate the history of the ship’s exquisite cargo and its final voyage. The project also marks the first time that archaeologists are able to join specialist divers in descending to the 55-m (180 ft) deep site. The ten-man dive team, assisted by UK-based instructors Phil Short and Gemma Smith, uses advanced technical diving equipment including closed-circuit rebreathers and trimix breathing gases, performing 61 dives in 10 days of diving on the wreck.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

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