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The Southern Euboean Gulf Project, 2010
Author Giorgos Koutsouflakis
Translated by Lucie Vidličková
Edited by Kristian L. Lorenzo

The survey and preliminary excavation of a late Hellenistic wreck in Styra (Southern Euboea):

During June and July 2010, the fourth archaeological season in the southern Euboea Gulf was completed under the auspices of both the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities (EUA) and the Hellenic Institute of Marine Archaeology (HIMA). The main purpose of this project, which began in 2006, is to locate, investigate, document and evaluate ancient and Byzantine wreck sites in a wide area of the southern Euboean Gulf. The 2010 season had two main goals, (1) underwater investigation of the island complex of Patalioi Marmari, and (2) preliminary excavation of a late Hellenistic shipwreck off Styra.

2010 Survey Season Results:

Four new wreck sites were located off the islets of Makronisi and Founti in the Petalioi Island complex. Three of these wrecks contain cargo with amphorae dated to the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The fourth wreck site includes a quantity of Laconian tiles, in a very good state of preservation and still in their original position.

2010 Excavation Season Results:

Taking place off the Island of Styra, excavation concentrated on a wreck site dated from the late second to early first centuries B.C. The site was discovered during the 2007 season thanks to information provided by the following divers: Th. Stamou, M. Golipour and I. Bakli. The wreck lies at a depth of 40-47 m and holds great potential for further research both due to its cargo and the high possibility that portions of its wooden hull are preserved intact. These expectations came to fruition during the 2010 season when part of the hull was uncovered (see below).

During the 2010 excavation season, the visible part of the cargo was recorded using photogrammetric methods and high resolution photomosaics. Two preliminary grids, one in the deeper and one in the shallower section of the wreck site, were dug to understand better the stratigraphy of the cargo’s constituent artifacts and the sedimentary deposits.

From the wreck’s cargo characteristic amphorae of the Brindisi type were raised as samples, together with table ware, a stone basin, bronze and iron nails and fragmentary roof tiles.  These artifacts most probably came from the superstructure in the stern area. Of particular importance are small fragments of a life-size bronze statue and two feet from pieces of furniture, which were collected from the main concentration of the cargo. Their presence seems to suggest that in addition to ceramics, the ship may have been transporting luxury items as well such as statues, either intact or in fragmentary condition (i.e scrap material). The most significant discovery of the 2010 season was a portion of the hull including frames and sheathing, which the removal of sand deposits revealed. All the excavated antiquities were taken to EUA's laboratory to start the long process of desalination, cleaning and conservation.

During the 2010 season, thirty-six divers/researchers from seven different disciplines (archaeologists, architects, topographers, conservators, photographers, professional divers and physicians) participated in the project. The 20 m long ‹‹Αγιος Γεωργιος››, the excavation’s supporting vessel, was hired from Crete.

The following organizations and institutes provided the necessary funds for this project: the Bodossaki Foundation of Ioanis Bakli; APNEA, which also provided the diving equipment; and the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities (EUA) of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Many thanks to all.

This cooperative project was directed by the head of the Ephorate: A.G. Simossi, and the underwater archaeologists of HIMA and EUA: G. Koutsouflakis, H. Spondylis and Ch. Papadopoulou. The chief divers were Ph. Antonopoulos and M. Tzefronis. Due to the significance of the project it will continue in 2011.

If you are interested in donating to the Southern Euboean Gulf Project, please contact us at: info@emmaf.org

You may also contact the head researcher, Giorgos Koutsouflakis at geokoutsgr@yahoo.gr