Marine archeologists discover ancient shipwrecks off island in the Aegean

Nick Squires
·2 min read
Divers raise an amphora from the seabed - Hellenic Ministry of Culture
Divers raise an amphora from the seabed - Hellenic Ministry of Culture

Four shipwrecks, including one dating back to Roman times, have been discovered by marine archeologists off the Greek island of Kasos in the Aegean.

Lying between Rhodes and Crete, the Dodecanese island was on a crucial trade route in antiquity.

Inside the Roman-era shipwreck, divers found amphorae which originated from Spain and what is now Tunisia, the Greek culture ministry said. They would have been used to transport wine, olive oil and possibly garum – a pungent fish sauce that was much prized by the Romans.

The ship has been lying on the seabed for nearly 2,000 years - it is believed to date back to the 2nd or 3rd century AD.

Divers found a Roman-era shipwreck and other wrecks dating back to Greece's classical and Hellenistic eras - Hellenic Ministry of Culture
Divers found a Roman-era shipwreck and other wrecks dating back to Greece's classical and Hellenistic eras - Hellenic Ministry of Culture

Of the other three wrecks, one dates back to the first century BC, another is from the 5th century BC, while the third is much more recent.

Underwater exploration of the area began in 2019 and in November of that year archeologists found three wrecks, the oldest of which was a merchant vessel from 2,300 years ago. Divers found five stone anchors around the wreck.

They also discovered iron cannons, pottery, amphorae and other scattered objects, some of which they believe belong to other ships that sunk but have not been found yet.

One of the amphorae found off the island of Kasos - Hellenic Ministry of Culture
One of the amphorae found off the island of Kasos - Hellenic Ministry of Culture

Kasos is the southernmost of the Dodecanese chain of islands and was “a crossroads of civilisations, an important navigation route from antiquity to recent times,” the culture ministry said.

In 2018, marine archeologists discovered 58 shipwrecks around the Fourni islands, further north in the Aegean, describing it as possibly the largest concentration of ancient wrecks ever found in the Aegean, even the whole of the Mediterranean.

Most of the wrecks were from the Greek, Roman and Byzantine eras. The ships would have carried goods to and from Greece, the Black Sea, Asia Minor and North Africa.