Excavation of Byzantine shipwreck in Aegean reveals 5th century ceramics

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The Culture Ministry of Greece has revealed after a 2021 excavation off the coast of Samos, that a number of ancient artifacts have been found in the Fourni islands complex, southwest of the island of Samos. 

Amongst the relics, almost fifteen ‘amphorae’ were found buried in sand along many table ceramics and wooden parts of a Byzantine shipwreck. The excavation site was dated between 480 and 520 AD, the Culture Ministry said. 

The ministry further revealed that this particular shipwreck was selected for further study due to the ship’s good state of preservation and its cargo, even though it was one of 58 that was found in the archipelago.

This shipwreck was found off the Fygos peninsula, off the east coast of Fourni. This area is known to be a sandy area with a sharply inclined seabed, which makes it one of the steepest and most inaccessible regions of the islands. 

The research that was conducted last year focused mainly on clearing the sand off the perimeter of the shipwreck and opening a trench to check the stratigraphy. This is where the artifacts were found. 

The type of Amphora that were found on this excavation trip have been linked to the city of Sinope on the Black Sea while the wreck contains six types of Amphorae from Crimea and Heraclea Pontica on the Black Sea coast. 

The shipwrecks approximate chronology includes the rule of Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I (491-518 AD), member of the Leonid dynasty who is linked to taxation and currency reforms. 

Underwater Ephorate archaeologist Giorgios Koutsoflakis headed the excavation with a team of 25 divers of several disciplines ranging from archaeology to conservation and photographers. This team carried out 292 individual dives amounting to nearly 220 hours of underwater work.

Source: AMNA

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