Antikythera wreck continues to yield artifacts after 120 years

Divers recently found a marble head of Hercules on the Antikythera wreck. (

A Roman-era freighter that sank near the Greek island of Antikythera more than two thousand years ago has caved in abundant ancient treasures since its discovery in 1900. At the end of June 2022, researchers unveiled their latest find: a marble head representing the Greek and Roman demigod Hercules. The dispatch the team believes he belongs to a headless sculpture of Hercules found during the first visit to the wreck.

“In 1900, [sponge divers] took out the statue of Hercules, and now in all probabilitywe found his head,” explained lead researcher and archaeologist Lorenz Baumer. Impressive piece of marble. He is twice life size, has a large beard, a very particular face and short hair. There is no doubt that it is Hercules.”

The Antikythera Mechanism is believed to be the world’s first computer. (National Archaeological Museum)

The ancient Roman vessel, which dates from approximately 60 ECB, when Greece was under the rule of the Roman Empire. Captain Dimitrios Kondos and his team led the first wave of excavations in 1900. The divers recovered 36 marble statues, including rendered of mythological characters like Hermes, Apollo and Hercules.

They also recovered several bronze statues. These artifacts are rare since most ancient Greek bronze sculptures were melted down to make coins and weapons. most important find, however, was the Antikythera Mechanism. Often considered the oldest computer in the world, it calculates and attach Informations about astronomical phenomena such as eclipses, decades in advance.

The exploration project came to an abrupt halt in the summer of 1901 after the death of a diver and the deaths of two others. paralyzed of decompression sickness. In 1976, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his crew revisited the wreck and recovered remains of human skeletons and various other objects.

The divers also recovered a marble plinth representing the lower legs of a sculpture. (Nikos Giannoulakis/Hellenistic Ministry of Culture and Sports/Swiss School of Archeology in Greece)

The latest discovery is part of the “Return to Antikythera” expedition launched in 2012. The marble head was found in the unexplored part of the ship. shell area, previously covered by large rocks. Divers also found a marble base with the legs of another statue, parts of the equipment, and two human teeth. Artifacts will be added to the already Impressive collection on display at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.


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