Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
& CULTURAL NEWS©
Find the Traces of an Ancient
object retrieved from seabed off Mount Athos coastline
Reconstruction of Achaemenid
discoveries that may point to the location of a sunken
fleet led by the Persian general Mardonio have been made
by an underwater archaeological team working at the
eastern side of the Mt Athos peninsula in October,
organized by the Underwater Antiquities Ephorate in
cooperation with the Canadian Archaeological Institute
and the Greek Center for Marine Research.
Particularly encouraging was the discovery of a metal
object identified as the point to the bottom of a spear,
a rare find in the sea.
The exploration, led by the ephorate’s director
Ekaterini Dellaporta and Professor Shelley Wachsmann of
Texas University, provided many positive results that
will ensure its continuation next season with permission
from the Culture Ministry.
The goal was to discover the Iranian fleet of some 300
ships that sank during a storm near Mt Athos during
Darius’ first attempt to invade Greece in 493 BC.
Two-and-a-half millennia later, scientists are trying to
find traces of this history. Exploration over an area of
173 square kilometers of seabed at a depth of 480
meters, east and southwest of the peninsula and in the
Lerissos Gulf has been undertaken using Side Scan Sonar.
Within the gulf, the exploration team of two
archaeologists and a member of the Greek Marine Research
Center, which had made available its oceanographic
vessel, the Aegean, found a wreck containing amphorae
dating from the Classical or early Hellenistic periods.
An area marked out by the ephorate was monitored by the
bathyscaphes Thetis and the underwater Remote Operated
Vehicle (ROV) Achilleas, which also examined another
area of seabed where in 1996 two local fishermen (the
Sakkalis brothers) had pulled up in their nets two
copper Corinthian helmets dating from the Classical
period. The objects were found at a depth of 110 meters.
The ephorate considers the most important find to date
at 96 meters, enclosed within a pot. According to an
initial evaluation, is a piece of metal that was
attached to the bottom of spears during Classical times.
Similar objects have been found on land, but rarely in
the sea. The point where it was found, which is also
where the two helmets lay, indicates the existence of a
is the Light on the Path to Future"
British Institute of Persian Studies