Off the rocky shores of Greece, a treasure trove of artifacts has been discovered at the site of a famous ancient shipwreck. Among the many finds is a marble head of Hercules, the famous hero of ancient Greek and Roman mythology, and perhaps even some human remains.
The Antikythera Shipwreck is a Roman-era shipwreck dating from around 60 BC. and which lies on the seabed northwest of Crete. It is best known as the wreck that housed the remains of a device believed to be the world’s oldest known analog computer, the Antikythera Mechanism.
The wreck was first discovered by divers in 1900, but ongoing archaeological projects have continued to reveal a number of intriguing discoveries.
archaeologists marines announced the results of an expedition that began with the removal of a large rock, allowing access to a previously unexplored part of the wreck.
A treasure trove of artifacts, discovered at the site of a famous ancient shipwreck
Within this new cavity, they discovered the plinth of a marble statue that featured the lower parts of the legs, covered by a thick layer of marine deposits. They also discovered the marble head of a bearded man, which they suspect represents Herakles (also known as the Roman Hercules). It is believed to have accompanied a headless statue called “Herakles of Antikythera”, which was first released from the water in 1900.
They also discovered two human teeth embedded in marine deposits that have appeared on the wreck over the millennia. This is particularly interesting because genetic and isotopic analysis of the teeth could shed more light on the people who sailed on this ship some 2,000 years ago.
In 2016, a 2,000-year-old human skeleton nicknamed Pamphilos was found on the shipwreck. Researchers have discovered all kinds of objects, from statues and jewelry to the Antikythera Mechanism itself. This range of objects suggests that it was most likely a merchant vessel.
Antikythera, the oldest known analog computer in the world
By studying the objects found on the wreck, the team hopes to understand part of the doomed voyage, writes IFL Science. Its story is not entirely clear, but it seems that the 40-meter-long ship was probably traveling from the Eastern Mediterranean to Rome. Unfortunately, she was unable to reach her destination after a storm caused her to crash on the rocks off the coast of Antikythera.
Of all the shipwreck objects, none is more intriguing than the Antikythera Mechanism. Using a series of bronze gears, it was used to predict eclipses, track the movements of the Sun, Moon and stars, as well as the positions of the five planets then known to the ancient Greeks: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn .
However, it remains a mystery why this incredible object was on the ill-fated ship.