After 120 years, Antikythera Shipwreck Continues To Yield Artifacts
By: Annie Huang
On July 27th, a Roman-era cargo ship that sank near the Greek island of Antikythera over two thousand years ago was found yielding abundant ancient treasures since its discovery in 1900.
In late June 2022, researchers revealed their recent discovery, which was a marble head depicting the Greek and Roman demigod, Hercules.
Lead researcher and archeologist, Lorenz Baumer, explained to reporters, “In 1900, sponge divers pulled out the statue of Hercules, and now in all probability, we’ve found its head. It’s a most impressive marble piece. It is twice lifesize, has a big beard, a very particular face, and short hair. There is no doubt it is Hercules.”
The ancient Roman vessel dates to approximately 60 BCE, which was when Greece was under the rule of the Roman Empire. In 1900, Captain Dimitrios Kondos and his team led the first wave of excavation.
The divers salvaged 36 marble statues, including renditions of mythological figures such as Apollo, Hermes, and Hercules.
Researchers have also recovered several bronze statues. The bronze sculptures artifacts are rare since most Grecian bronze was melted to make coins and other items, such as weapons. However, the most significant find was the Antikythera Mechanism.
The Antikyathera Mechanism is often referred to as the world’s oldest computer since it calculated and displayed information about astronomical phenomena, such as eclipses.
Unfortunately, the exploration project came to an abrupt halt in the summer of 1901 after a diver was killed and two others were paralyzed from decompression sickness, but in 1976, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his crew revisited the shipwreck and retrieved human skeletal remains and various other objects.
Divers have also found a marble base with the legs of another statue, which they believed was odd. Parts of the ship’s equipment and two human teeth were found on the statue. The artifact will now be added to the already impressive collection on display at the National Archaelogical Mueseum in Athens, Greece.