A well-preserved 2,000-year-old skeleton of a young man found on the famous Antikythera shipwreck could provide the first DNA evidence recovered from an ancient sunken boat, archaeologists reported.
Divers discovered the skeletal remains of the man, possibly a crewmember of the ship, on Aug. 31 during an excavation of the Antikythera shipwreck. This is where the mysterious Antikythera mechanism (an astronomical calculator) was found, in the Aegean Sea, near the Greek island of Antikythera. The submerged ruins date to 65 B.C and are thought to belong to a Greek ship that was used for trading or cargo.
Many precious artifacts as well as human remains have emerged from the wreckage of this ancient seafaring vessel since the ship was first discovered, in 1900. But for the first time, scientists are capable of conducting genetic analysis of a recovered skeleton, a procedure that was not yet available for bones found during a 1976 expedition, according to a Sept. 19 statement released by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts, whose researchers co-led the recent excavation.