In the spring of 1900, a group of sponge divers sailing through the Aegean en route to North Africa stopped at the Greek Island of Antikythera to wait for favorable winds, one bored diver put on his diving dress and descended to a depth of 45 meters. However, the diver whose name was Elias Stadiatis, quickly signaled to be pulled up. He told his fellow crew members about the horrors he saw below.
He told them about rotten corpses and horses, but his crew didn’t believe him thinking that the diver was intoxicated from the Nitrogen in his breathing mix. However, when their captain decided to investigate Elias’s claims, he found a shipwreck.
Though the sponge divers continued their voyage, they informed the authorities in Athens about the wreck. Unknown to the sponge divers, what they found was the wreckage of a Roman-era cargo ship dubbed the “ancient world’s richest shipwreck.” A year later, the sponge divers supported by the Royal Hellenic Navy and the Greek education ministry recovered a trove of marble statues, including a headless statue of Hercules thought to be dating as far back as 340 BC.
Recent exploration of the ancient shipwreck found in 1900 has yet again produced more treasures, including the missing head of Hercules statue. Classical archaeologist Professor Lorenz Baumer who is supervising the underwater mission, said,
“In 1900, [sponge divers] pulled out the statue of Hercules [from the sea] and now in all probably we’ve found its head. It is twice lifesize, has a big beard, a very particular face and short hair. There is no doubt it is Hercules.”
Stunning New Finds on the Antikythera Shipwreck
The discovery came after a team of marine archaeologists supported by expert divers explored an untouched part of the wreck while working at depths of 50 meters. Though researchers have been exploring the shipwreck since 1953, professor Baumer believes each find is a clue that will help increase their understanding of the cargo ship and her crew.
The marine archaeologists also found two teeth encrusted in marine deposits, which they hope a genetic and isotopic analysis will further provide fresh insight into the ship’s crew. While the research on the wreck’s newly discovered treasures will probably continue for years, the experts are hopeful that the wreck will yield more scientific results.
Professor Baumer speculating about the future of the discovery, said,
“You never know what archaeology will deliver tomorrow, but what we do know is that the Antikythera wreck is an extremely rich site, the richest in the ancient world.”
Scientists have recently made various discoveries that have increased our understanding of our ancestors. Because of critical research such as DNA sequencing, ancient diseases and other mysteries have been solved. With each discovery, we learn more about ourselves as we realize the incredible lives and the awe-inspiring monuments our ancestors left behind for us to find.