After a 22-shipwreck discovery in 2015, a further 23 shipwrecks from varying periods throughout history have been found in the Fourni archipelago Greek islands.
The Greek-American collaborative archaeological expedition returned to the site continue their research, after a successful first season uncovering shipwrecks and cargo ranging from the Archaic Period (700-480 BC) to the Late Medieval Period (16th century).
Among this season’s most significant finds are a cache of North African amphorae from between the third and fourth centuries, three Roman cargos of amphorae from the Turkish city of Sinope and two large stone ancient anchors dating to the Archaic period. The most modern discovery to date is a shipwreck from the early Modern Period (1750 to 1850).
The discoveries at Fourni speak to its significant role as an anchorage and navigational point. The archipelago is situated in a critical position between a major east-west crossing route and the north-south route that connected the Aegean Sea and the Levant or eastern Mediterranean – the coastal region of what is today known as Syria, Lebanon and Israel.
But the area promises more significant discoveries, as less than half of the archipelago’s shoreline has been explored. “The concentration of the shipwrecks and the large area remaining to be explored leaves every indication that there are many more sites to discover,” says Peter Campbell, project director from the US-based RPM Nautical Foundation. “We expect more seasons like these first two. The Fourni dataset offers great insight into ancient navigation and trade.”
The team is set to return to the site in 2017 and 2018 to continue the survey.