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Divers to excavate 3500BC underwater city

Scuba diving archaeologists are to excavate an underwater city dating back to 3500BC. The project is set to be the focus of a BBC documentary, with underwater archaeologist Dr Jon Henderson from the University of Nottingham taking the lead.

Pavlopetri_building foundations. The programme will use state-of-the-art computer graphics to show what pre-historic Pavlopetri - which lies off the coast of Greece - would have looked like and how its people lived.

Dr Henderson said: “This documentary will follow us every step of the way as we carry out the first ever underwater excavations at this important site.

“And who knows what we will find? Given the good preservation of remains underwater we could recover organic items dating from the Greek Bronze Age which would be spectacular.”

Pavlopetri_cist grave Pavlopetri was discovered 40 years ago by oceanographer Dr Nic Flemming. It remained untouched until last year when Dr Henderson, working in collaboration with the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, was given permission to examine the site.

The dating of the architectural features and artefacts suggest the submerged city was inhabited for over two millennia from at least 3500 BC up until around 1100 BC. Throughout this period the settlement was likely to have had a population of between 500 and 2,000 people.

Dr Henderson and his team, together with Dr Flemming who has returned to Pavlopetri, are using some of the very latest computer technology to record the streets, the foundations of buildings, tombs and courtyards of the ancient city.

BBC television’s Factual Department plans to bring the city back to life through the latest CGI technology. The programme is due for transmission in 2012.

Source: Sport Diver [December 17, 2010]


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