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8 ancient Roman shipwrecks discovered near Naxos island

"Those remains suggest the reef could be a rich site for learning more about sea trade in the Classical world," archaeologists say

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The amphora is estimated to have been standing there for some 2,000 years after the ship carrying it foundered off Naxos

Photos: Frode Kvalo / NMM

21 December 2017

In what may be a game-changing factor for archaeology in Greece, an underwater expedition in the cyclades revealed no less than eight ancient roman shipwrecks. The area, a reef near Naxos Island has long been known to the locals as being infested with ancient relics, mainly anchors and amphoras.

Now, an archaeological expedition, led by Sven Ahrens, from the Norwegian Maritime Museum and Ekaterini Tagonidou, from the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, revealed what the locals knew for ages.

Marine archaeologists Angelos Tzompanides and Vasilis Glezos lift ceramics from a 2,000-year old shipwreck off Naxos with a balloon.

That the reef is one of the richest maritime archaeology sites in the Cyclades and as the two researchers explained to Haaretz, "those remains suggest the reef could be a rich site for learning more about sea trade in the Classical world".

The expedition discovered at least eight ancient Roman shipwrecks, a discovery that will allow scholars to understand more about sea trade in the Classical world and the role of Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades islands (and one of the most popular tourist destinations), as a significant stop-over and a business and trade hub of the ancient world.

Sven Ahrens and Vasilis Glezos examining a ballast pile from 2,000-year-old shipwrecks at Parnamos reef, Naxos. 

The findings are dated from various eras of the Roman Empire, which spanned from 100 A.D. 300, and diving teams are planning to fully explore the 98-feet deep area within 2018.

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To me this find makes for a remarkable opportunity. Personally I do not give a crap for Roman antiquities. Most were either created by Hellenes who were forced at knife point to live as if they were Romans, and we have enough of those, or they are pathetic cheap copies of what our ancestors actually created. Rather, how about a swap? The Vatican has segments from the Parthenon, just as does the Louvre and the largest collection, of course, illegally held by the poms.Why not offer the Vatican the contents of some of these several ships in fair exchange for that which was stolen from us?

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