As if it had not already been one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of all time, the Antikythera shipwreck continues to shed light on Classic antiquity. Last week, Greece’s Division of Underwater Antiquities, an agency of the Ministry of Culture, announced the reults of weeks of excavations that are continuing at the Antikythera shipwreck site.
Among the findings were bronze and marble statue fragments, a sarcophagus lid, and a mysterious bronze disk, which has intrigued archaeologists.
Punctuated with holes and decorated with the image of a bull, it’s unclear what the disk was used for, with some speculating that it is part of the famous Antikythera mechanism, a circular device discovered in 2006 at the site, which measures celestial movements with such impressive accuracy that it is deemed to be an “ancient computer.”
Discovered by sponge divers in 1900, the Antikythera shipwreck – a first century BCE Roman merchant ship believed to have been bound for Rome carrying artefacts for wealthy socialites – is arguably the most famous site of marine archaeology.
Underwater excavations begun in the mid-1970s by legendary French marine explorer Jacques Cousteau and they haven’t stopped since.
The shipwreck has produced one of the seminal artefacts of the National Archaeological Museum of Greece, the ‘Ephebe (youth) of Antikythera’ and, with the ongoing advancement of technology facilitating marine archaeology, it continues to produce marvellous artefacts.