Armed with high-tech methods, researchers are scouring the Aegean Sea for the world's oldest shipwrecks.
Brendan Foley peels his wetsuit to the waist and perches on the side
of an inflatable boat as it skims across the sea just north of the
island of Crete. At his feet are the dripping remains of a vase that
moments earlier had been resting on the sea floor, its home for more
than a millennium. “It's our best day so far,” he says of his dive that
morning. “We've discovered two ancient shipwrecks.”
Foley, a marine archaeologist at the Woods Hole
Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, and his colleagues at
Greece's Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities in Athens have spent the day
diving near the cliffs of the tiny island of Dia in the eastern
Mediterranean. They have identified two clusters of pottery dating from
the first century BC and fifth century AD.
Together with other remains that the team has discovered on the
island's submerged slopes, the pots reveal that for centuries Greek,
Roman and Byzantine traders used Dia as a refuge during storms, when
they couldn't safely reach Crete.
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