WHOI Researchers Help to Uncover More Artifacts from Ancient Shipwreck

COURTESY OF THE WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION: Antikythera team members Nikolas Giannoulakis, Theotokis Theodoulou and Brendan Foley inspect small finds from the shipwreck while decompressing after a dive to 265 feet. (Photo by Brett Seymour, EUA/WHOI/ARGO)

COURTESY OF THE WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION: Antikythera team members Nikolas Giannoulakis, Theotokis Theodoulou and Brendan Foley inspect small finds from the shipwreck while decompressing after a dive to 265 feet. (Photo by Brett Seymour, EUA/WHOI/ARGO)

WOODS HOLE – Archaeologists and technical experts from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports have discovered more artifacts from an ancient shipwreck in the Aegean Sea.

During an ongoing excavation of the famous Antikythera Shipwreck the research team recovered 60 artifacts earlier this month including gold jewelry, luxury glassware, a bronze spear from a statue, parts of marble sculptures and ceramic decanters.

They also found a unique artifact that may have been a defensive weapon to protect the ship against attacks from pirates, along with confirming the wreck of a second ancient cargo ship near the Antikythera ship.

The Antikythera wreckage is the largest ancient shipwreck ever discovered. The ship is believed to have been a massive grain carrier. It was first found in 1900.

The current high-tech research project brings robots, technical diving and laboratory analyses to the shipwreck.

Along with recovering artifacts the researchers are analyzing the isotopes of lead objects to determine their origin and ancient DNA is extracted from ceramic jars to identify the food, drink and medicines consumed by the mariners.

“Our new technologies extend capabilities for marine science,” said Brendan Foley, a WHOI marine archaeologist. “Every new dive on the Antikythera Shipwreck delivers gifts from the ancient past. The wreck offers touchstones to the full range of human experience: from religion, music, and art to travel, trade and even warfare.”

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