A joint Greek-American archaeological expedition into Greek territorial waters has hit the shipwreck jackpot with the discovery of 22 ancient shipwrecks over the course of just 13 days.
Peter Campbell with the University of Southamptom told Discovery News that he and his colleagues had surpassed all expectations, as they “added 12 percent to the total of known ancient shipwrecks in Greek territorial waters” in less than two weeks.
Surpassing all expectations, over only 13 days we added 12 percent to the total of known ancient shipwrecks in Greek territorial waters
Campbell wrote about the discovery on his Twitter account, indicating in a tweet that the team was “very happy” to share their “incredible” discovery.
— Peter Campbell (@peterbcampbell) October 28, 2015
According to the researchers, the discovery — which was made in a 17 square mile area encompassing a collection of 13 islands and islets — not only brings to light ancient trade routes which once connected the whole of the Mediterranean, it also marks what might be the ancient shipwreck capital of the world.
The Fourni Underwater Survey indicated in a press release the funding for the collaborative effort between the RPM Nautical Foundation (RPMNF), of which Campbell is one of the directors, and the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities (EUA) was provided by the UK charity the Honor Frost Foundation, which supports eastern Mediterranean research through an endowment from maritime archaeologist Honor Frost. Other sponsors of the expedition included the Municipality of Fourni Korseon, Carrefour Ikaria and Eurobrokers.
As the researchers have only examined five percent of the archipelago, they expect to find many more shipwrecks in the not so distant future. A point which Campbell echoed as he stated that the team “could easily have found many more” had they not actively stopped searching for new wrecks to take the time to properly 3D map each of the sites discovered.
We had to actively stop looking for new wrecks, but still found more (…) If we had been trying to just identify wrecks- instead of 3D map each site and take samples for analysis and conservation- then we easily could have found many more.
Earlier this year, a shipwreck was discovered off the coast of North Carolina which may date as far back as the 18th century.