The wreck of Antikythera, discovered in the early 20th century, has already been the subject of numerous investigations and publications. In 2015, the exhibition “Der versunkene Schatz” at the Antikenmuseum in Basel allowed the Swiss public to discover some of the numerous works of art in marble and bronze that the ship had carried at the beginning of the 1st century BC, while a more modest exhibition at the University of Geneva in 2016 focused on the famous astronomical mechanism, which to this day has still not revealed all its secrets.
After the recovery in 1900-1901 of part of the cargo, including a large number of sculptures, Jacques-Yves Cousteau began searching for the site in 1953, and organised an expedition to survey it in 1976 with his ship Calypso.
A first scientific study with an archaeological approach was carried out between 2012 and 2019 by an international team under the direction of Angeliki Simosi, at the time director of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities.
A collaboration between Swiss and Greek archaeologists
At the invitation of the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports headed by Lina Mendoni, the Dept of Classical Archaeology of the University of Geneva (prof. Lorenz E. Baumer) has resumed from this autumn onwards in co-direction with Angeliki Simosi, currently Director of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Evia, the underwater research at the wreck site of Antikythera . The main goal is to complete the previous studies and to better understand the course of the shipwreck with as much accuracy as possible.
The project is actively supported by the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, which provides the team with the ship Typhoon. Since 2014, the watchmaking company Hublot SA of Nyon offers the mission its financial and technical support. The Coast Guard and Port Police of the Ministry of the Navy and Island Policy is providing a team of qualified divers for the project. Scientific collaboration agreements with several international research institutions such as the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Prof. Carlo Beltrame) are currently under preparation.
A wreck in deep water
The wreck site, whose extension are more or less identified, is located at the foot of a steep rocky slope at a distance of 20m to 50m from the coast and reaches a depth of 45m below the surface. At the foot of this slope lies a sandy plateau of about 70×50 m on which several areas of particular interest have been identified and excavated in small parts during previous missions.
The objective of the first Greek-Swiss fieldwork season which took place in early October 2021 is to survey the site with a small team of specialised divers under the direction of Alexandros Sotiriou, in order to document its current state of preservation and to collect the data in a geographic information system (GIS). Next fieldwork season will focus on the area partially covered by boulders.
Press releaseReturn to Antikythera 2022