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Not One, Not Two… but 22 Shipwrecks Come to Light in Greek Archipelago

Photo source: Discovery News, V. Mentogianis

Photo source: Discovery News, V. Mentogianis

A 13-day underwater expedition near the Greek islets of Fourni, between the eastern Aegean islands of Samos and Ikaria, revealed an unimaginable treasure a month ago, when marine archaeologists discovered the remains of 22 shipwrecks, some over 2,500 years old.

“What is astonishing is not only the number of the shipwrecks but also the diversity of the cargoes, some of which have been found for the first time,” underwater archaeologist George Koutsouflakis told Discovery News.

Considered one of the top archaeological finds of 2015 and never scientifically documented before, over half the wrecks date to the Late Roman Period, with the remaining finds spanning from the Archaic Period to the Classical and Hellenistic through the Late Medieval Period.

The joint Greek-American expedition, which included archaeologists from the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, the US-based RPM Nautical Foundation as well as local sponge divers, fishermen and free divers, was funded by the Honor Frost Foundation, a UK charity backing research in the eastern Mediterranean.

“Surpassing all expectations, over only 13 days we added 12 percent to the total of known ancient shipwrecks in Greek territorial waters,” Peter Campbell, co-director of the project from RPM Nautical Foundation, told Discovery News.

“We plan to return to Fourni next year to continue the survey,” he added.

Fourni, is an island complex that lies between Ikaria, Samos and Patmos in North Aegean region, which has served for centuries as a major trade route connecting the Aegean to the Levant and Asia Minor.

To see photos from the shipwrecks found in the Greek expedition, press here.

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