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Eight Roman era shipwrecks discovered off Greek island of Naxos


Divers exploring the reef off the coast of Naxos island, were in for a surprise when they discovered a cluster of ancient shipwrecks.

Eight Roman era shipwrecks discovered off Greek island of Naxos
Sven Ahrens and Vasilis Glezos examining a ballast pile from 2,000-year-old shipwrecks 
at Parnamos reef, Naxos [Credit: Frode Kvalo/NMM]
The eight wrecks, which date to the Roman Empire era of around 2,000 years ago, were found in shallow water at a depth of just 30 metres.

Eight Roman era shipwrecks discovered off Greek island of Naxos
Maritime archaeologists Angelos Tzompanides and Ekaterini Tagonidou documenting 
amphora under water [Credit: Frode Kvalo/NMM]
The divers, from the Norwegian Institute at Athens, came across the wrecks by chance, during an expedition to find Naxos’ southern harbour.

Eight Roman era shipwrecks discovered off Greek island of Naxos
Well preserved amphora found at Cape Moni, Naxos [Credit: Frode Kvalo/NMM]
Among the findings were several amphorae (two-handled jugs), roof tiles and bricks, suggesting the ships belonged to imperial merchants.

Eight Roman era shipwrecks discovered off Greek island of Naxos
Marine archaeologists Angelos Tzompanides and Vasilis Glezos lift ceramics from a 2,000-year 
old shipwreck off Naxos with a balloon [Credit: Frode Kvalo/NMM]
In one reef, the researchers found several amphorae – jugs with two handles and a narrow neck – that originated in Asia Minor, and date back to the Early Roman period, between 100 BCE – 300 AD.

Eight Roman era shipwrecks discovered off Greek island of Naxos
Maritime archaeologist combs the Parnamos, Naxos seabed with a metal detector 
[Credit: Frode Kvalo/NMM]
A second reef had even more treasures – three shipwrecks that dated back to the Hellenistic period, Roman Imperial Period and the Late Roman Period. The team also discovered roof tiles and bricks within the wreckages.

Eight Roman era shipwrecks discovered off Greek island of Naxos
Piled shards: Early Roman shipwreck found off Naxos 
[Credit: Frode Kvalo/NMM]
The ships themselves were steered using two large oars, and would have had a crew of around 10 to 15 sailors, according to the researchers.

Eight Roman era shipwrecks discovered off Greek island of Naxos
Well preserved amphora found at Cape Moni, Naxos [Credit: Frode Kvalo/NMM]
Several types of anchor were also found, built from a range of materials, including stone, lead and iron.

Eight Roman era shipwrecks discovered off Greek island of Naxos
Marine archaeologist Angelos Tzompanides and a Roman iron anchor at Cape Moni, Naxos 
[Credit: Frode Kvalo/NMM]
The stone anchors are likely to be the most primitive, while the lead and iron anchors were more modern versions, according to the researchers.

The researchers suggest that the ships may have been near Naxos in the hope of finding shelter.

Author: Theo Ioannou | Source: Greek Reporter [December 19, 2017]

TANN

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