20.1.15

Ancient Shipwreck Peristeras

Ancient Shipwreck of Peristeras. The largest shipwreck of classic Civilisation was discovered by Kostas Mavrikis in the channel between Alonnisos and Peristera island, almost opposite the Steni Vala, the sea-side village of Alonnissos.

The ship, which was probably an Athenian cargo ship, sank to a depth of about 30 metres in around 425 – 415 B.C.

Its load was 3,000 – 4,000 wine amphoras from Mendi of Chalkidiki and Peparithos, today’s Skopelos, two of the most important wine-making town-states of the ancient Hellenic world.

Excavation revealed more important findings, such as black-painted vessels, one lead part of an anchor, plates, an oenochoe and a pot.

This cargo ship weighed more than 11 tonnes, which reveals, contrary to previous beliefs, that Greeks were extremely capable in shipbuilding, even of such size.

Systematic searching began in 1992 and were interrupted in 1994. The photographs that one diver took on behalf of National Geographic have not been published yet, as the Central Archaeological Council has not given permission.

Thus, the largest shipwreck in Greek seas remains “sunk” in Greek bureaucracy and the Aegean waters still cover its secrets.

Underwater Excavations of a Late Fifth Century Merchant Ship at Alonnesos, Greece
Abstract
The largest 5th century B.C. shipwreck yet known in the world was discovered recently off the island of Alonnesos in the Northern Sporades. The ship carried a cargo of wine, and sank some time in the last quarter of the 5th century B.C. in waters 30 m in depth. It was loaded with wine amphoras from the town of Mende on the Macedonian coast, as well as from the island of Skopelos, both places famous in antiquity for the quality of their wines, which were exported all over the Mediterranean and to the Black Sea. The ship also carried a large quantity of Athenian black glaze symposium tableware. Classical ships discovered previously in Greece, Cyprus, France, Italy, and Israël have not exceeded 17 m in length and 4 m in width. The Alonnesos shipwreck is at least 25 m in length and 10 m in width, and is significant because it provides the first archaeological evidence that cargo vessels over one hundred tons burden travelled the Mediterranean as early as the 5th century B.C. I. Historical Background

Πρόκεινται δε τών Μαγνητών νήσοι συχναϊ μεν οα S έν ονόματι Σκίαθός τε και Πεπάρηθος και Ίκός, 'Αλόννησος τε και Σκύρος, ομώνυμους έχουσαι πόλεις6.
The island of Alonnesos mentioned hère by Strabo was not the modem Alonnesos, but one of the two islands to the north, Pelagonisi or Agios Eustratios.7 Its only historical significance is that in the 5th c. B.C. it was part of the Athenian empire, and in 345 B.C.,
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