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Ancient Shipwreck Reveals Amphorae
2008-06-05 11:17:30

Nicosia, May 31 - The first amphorae from a 4th century BC ship have been brought to the surface by a team of Cypriot experts at Mazotos.

It is believed that the commercial vessel, possibly carrying wine from the Greek island of Chios, sunk off Cyprus’ southern coast. It is said to have been carrying about 500 amphorae.

Dr. Stella Demesticha, Visiting Lecturer of Underwater Archaeology at the University of Cyprus and head of the research program, has said that the wreck lies at a depth of 45 meters and the amphorae had to be brought to the surface for study.

“We cannot be sure of its journey, nor of its destination but we believe it has passed by Chios and other islands in the Aegean around the middle of the 4th century BC and then arrived in Cyprus,” she explained.

She noted that so far scientists have not located anything else in the shipwreck except amphorae, adding that the shipwreck is under guard.

“Wine from Chios was believed to be of excellent quality. Of course no wine has been found but we are almost certain that the amphorae were filled with this very good quality red wine,” she said.

The project 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 focused on the documentation of the shipwreck using photographic and drawing methods.

The Department of Antiquities believes that the study of this shipwreck is expected to be of great significance for 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 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.

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