The second expedition of underwater archaeological surveys at Fourni of Ikaria, conducted by the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities has been completed. The aim of the survey is to located, record, map and investigate the ancient and medieval shipwrecks in the area around the Fourni archipelago in the eastern Aegean.
|Marking the finds of an Archaic shipwreck at Fourni
[Credit: Vasilis Mentogianis]
The surface survey focused on the coastal area and in depths up to 65 metres. Traces of 23 shipwrecks have been located and registered, dating from the end of the Archaic period until the 19th century. Thus the total number of shipwrecks found in the area is 45 — the 22 discovered in 2015 included. This makes the Fourni archipelago the richest sea area regarding ancient shipwrecks in Greece and one of the richest in the Mediterranean.
Apart from the sunken ships, hundreds of finds were found, mostly pottery and anchors, reflecting the instensity and extent of maritime activities and trade at this important crossroads of seaways in the eastern Aegean. Among the most significant finds of the 2016 surveys are a shipwreck with Koan amphorae, dated to the mid-Hellenistic period, a shipwreck of Late Archaic/Early Classical period with an amphorae cargo from the eastern Aegean, a Roman period shipwreck with a cargo of amphorae from Sinope at the Black Sea, a shipwreck with amphorae from Rome’s holdings in North Africa dating back to the 3rd-4th c. AD and a shipwreck with a cargo of Early Christian table pottery. Also, two stone counterweights of Archaic anchors, the biggest of their kind found until now in the Aegean.