Study of Classical era shipwreck reveals valuable data
Nicosia, Dec 19 - A study of a shipwreck off Cyprus’ southern coast is expected to provide valuable information about the nautical and economic history of the Eastern Mediterranean as it is one of very few shipwrecks of the Classical period found in the Eastern Mediterranean in such a good state of preservation.
The results will shed light on important research questions, such as the commercial relations between the north Aegean and the southeastern Mediterranean and the role of Cyprus in these transport routes during the last phases of the Cypriot city-kingdoms, as well as on types and sizes of ships amongst others.
The excavation of the shipwreck at Mazotos was undertaken by the Research Unit of Archaeology of the University of Cyprus in agreement with the Department of Antiquities and with funding from the Thetis Foundation.
The research program lasted for 7 days (17 -24 November 2007) and focused on the documentation of the shipwreck using photographic and drawing methods, so as to make an initial assessment and plan the next period of research accordingly.
The shipwreck seems to have been a commercial vessel of the Late Classical period (mid 4th century B.C). Part of the cargo of the ship lies on the sea bottom and consists of amphorae, most probably from Chios. No other ceramic types were identified for the time being or any other parts of the ship (such as anchors) but the spatial distribution of the amphorae may indicate that the hull of the ship is buried under the sand.
The research program was carried out by Dr. Stella Demesticha, Visiting Lecturer of Underwater Archaeology at the University of Cyprus and the participants were specialists from Greece, divers of the Federation of Professional Divers and other Cypriot professional divers. The financial and other logistical support was provided generously by the Thetis Foundation.