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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 18 October 2014
24 SATURDAY 18 OCTOBER 2014 GREECE SPORT Page 29 Five-way deal headlines AFL trade week BUSINESS Page 25 Anger at council over market move A Greek and international team of divers and archaeologists has retrieved stunning new finds from an ancient Greek ship that sank more than 2,000 years ago off the remote island of Antikythera. The rescued antiquities include tableware, ship components, and a giant bronze spear that would have belonged to a life-sized war- rior statue. The Antikythera wreck was first discovered in 1900 by sponge divers who were blown off course by a storm. They subsequently recovered a spectacular haul of ancient treasure including bronze and marble statues, jewellery, fur- niture, luxury glassware, and the surprisingly complex An- tikythera Mechanism. But they were forced to end their mission at the 55-metre-deep site after one diver died of the bends and two were paralysed. Ever since, archaeologists have wondered if more treas- ure remains buried beneath the sea bed. Now a team of internation- al archaeologists, including Brendan Foley of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institu- tion and Theotokis Theodou- lou of the Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, have returned to the treach- erous site using state-of-the- art technology. Components of the ship, in- cluding multiple lead anchors over a metre long and a bronze rigging ring with fragments of wood still attached, prove that much of the ship survives. The finds are also scattered over a much larger area than the sponge divers realised, cov- ering 300 metres of the sea- floor. This, together with the huge size of the anchors and recovered hull planks, proves that the Antikythera ship was much larger than previously thought, perhaps up to 50 me- tres long. "The evidence shows this is the largest ancient shipwreck ever discovered," says Foley. "It's the Titanic of the ancient world." The archaeologists also re- covered a beautiful intact ta- ble jug, part of an ornate bed leg, and most impressive of all, a 2-metre-long bronze spear buried just beneath the surface of the sand. Too large and heavy to have been used as a weapon, it must have be- longed to a giant statue, per- haps a warrior or the goddess Athena, says Foley. In 1901, four giant marble horses were discovered on the wreck by the sponge divers, so these could have formed part of a complex of statues involving a warrior in a chariot that was pulled by the four horses. The shipwreck dates from 70 to 60BC and is thought to have been carrying a luxury cargo of Greek treasures from the coast of Asia Minor west to Rome. Antikythera stands in the middle of this major shipping route and the ship probably sank when a violent storm smashed it against the island's sheer cliffs. The wreck is too deep to dive safely using regular scuba equipment, so the divers had to use rebreather technolo- gy, in which carbon dioxide is scrubbed from the exhaled air while oxygen is introduced and recirculated. This allowed them to dive on the site for up to three hours at a time. The archaeologists plan to return next year to excavate the site further and recover more of the ship's precious cargo. The finds, particular- ly the bronze spear, are "very promising", says Theodolou. "Wehavealotofworktodoat this site to uncover its secrets." Antikythera shipwreck Greek technical diver Alexandros Sotiriou discovers an intact 'lagynos' ceramic table jug and a bronze rigging ring on the Antikythera shipwreck. CREDIT: BRET T SE YMOUR, COPYRIGHT: RE TURN TO ANTIKY THERA 2014. It's the Titanic of the ancient world Persephone is the third person on the mosaic floor The abduction of Persephone by Pluto, in the presence of psychopomp Hermes, is the figure represented on the mosaic floor, sized 4.5 by 3 metres, which was revealed at the Kasta tomb in the ancient Amphipolis excavation site, the Culture Ministry told journalists on Thursday. A mosaic discovered at the ancient site of Amphipolis has revealed another fig- ure, that of Persephone, the personification of spring and vegetation. The female figure is shown in pictures released by the Greek ministry of culture, depicted with fiery red hair, cloaked in a white robe fastened to- gether with a red ribbon. She raises her left hand and wears a bracelet. Archaeol- ogists are now certain that the mosaic, 4.5 by 3 metres, depicts the abduction of Persephone by Pluto. It makes the bearded man crowned with the laurel Pluto, not the person bur- ied in the tomb as previ- ously believed. The third figure is the god Hermes, who is guiding the chariot to the Underworld. The mosaic is made up of pebbles in several colours: white, black, grey, blue, red and yellow. A circular part, near the centre of the mosaic, was missing, but authorities found enough fragments to reconstruct most of it, thereby reveal- ing the face of Persephone. The myth is a popular top- ic in tombs, with a similar depiction appearing in a mural in the nearby Aiges royal tomb. Protection work to pre- serve the mosaic has al- ready begun, the ministry says. There is still wide specu- lation on who is buried in the ancient tomb. The most credible guesses think it could belong to Roxanne, Alexander the Great's wife, Olympias, the king's moth- er, or one of his generals.
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