Greek shipwrecks to be protected from natural decay

A 13th century shipwreck that lies in the depths of Rhodes port is about to be put into a protection metal cave in order to safeguard its wooden hull from various sea “enemies” threatening its preservation. 

The shipwreck in Rhodes dates to the 13th century AD and is located some 70 metres off the coast [Credit: Ethnos]
The idea came from a proposal of the Technological Educational  Institute of Athens under the title, “Saving Wooden Shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Marine Ecosystem: Research, Development and Application of Innovative Methods of In Situ Protection” from the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art Program (co-funded by the European Union, scientific coordinator Dr. Anastasia Pournou). The proposal was presented to the Central Archaeological Council, which approved its application. 

The program takes place through the National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA) and aims at the preservation of the wooden shipwreck in sea environments exhibiting low and high hydrodynamic rates. The 16th century shipwreck in Zakynthos is also included in the same program, and has been covered with geotextiles during the last years with significant success. 

The shipwreck in Rhodes is located only 70 meters from the port’s platform and its length is estimated to be 20.7 meters. Apart from the sea microorganisms that are slowly but steadily destroying it, another major risk it is exposed to are the anchors of ships that arrive at the port, which is why scientists chose to enclose it in a cave at first. 

The port of Rhodes island hides many more shipwrecks, including one which revealed a 4,000 golden coin treasure of the 18th century. 

Author: Areti Kotseli | Source: Greek Reporter [April 19, 2012]

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