New, impressive ancient treasures discovered at historical Mentor shipwreck in Kythira

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New, impressive ancient treasures discovered at historical Mentor shipwreck in KythiraChess pens, tobacco buds, vials, scallops, and even a toothbrush are some of the new findings brought to light by the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities

New, impressive finds come to light from the historical wreck of "Mentor" in Kythira island in Greece.

Chess pens, tobacco buds, vials, scallops, and even a toothbrush are some of the new findings brought to light by the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, as the Ministry of Culture and Sports announced.

The research, which is being continued for the fifth year, was carried out from July 8 to July 27, 2017. It focused on "Mentor", which sank in September 1802 in South Eastern Kythira, off the harbor of Avlemonas, while carrying part of the antiquities stolen and smuggled from the ancient monuments of Athens, by Lord Elgin's team.

"More specifically" according to the Ministry's announcement, "personal items of passengers and crew were found, such as chess pieces, coins, of which one gold (Utrecht 1756), tobacco syringes, vials, a bone horseman, musical instrument decoration, scallops and a toothbrush, as well as two metal anchor buttons, made from navy garment. Also, the front of a furniture drawer as well as a large number of fragments of everyday utensils ".

During this year's underwater excavation, a section of about 3mx2m close to the bow of the ship was investigated. "Even though the ship's hull is not well preserved, a large number of wooden pieces have been found indicating its destruction both during its first 1802-1804 wreckage and the subsequent on spot actions, as well as a considerable number of pulleys, ropes and metal objects related to the area, where one of the two masts of the ship are located", the Ministry clarifies.

The excavations were conducted by the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities with Dr. Dimitris Kourkoumelis as Director and Aris Michael and L. Mersenie as Diving Supervisors and were supported by the Kytherian Research Group, the Municipality of Kythira, Ilios Shipping Co, Mr. Stathis Trifyllis and NGO "Argo".

Just outside the harbor of Avlemonas, at 20 meters depth, a group from the Institute of Marine Archaeology found in 1980 an ancient shipwreck. It was "Mentor", the ship Lord Elgin used in 1802 to transfer the stolen Parthenon sculptures and fragments of other monuments. After the sinking of "Mentor", Lord Elgin had used free divers from Kalymnos to haul whatever they could from the precious cargo. The archaeologists’ investigation identified the remains of this effort, such as appliances and items of the crew, including a clock stopped at 1:10 or 2:05. This should be the sinking time, as Lord Elgin’s secretary writes in his diary that the ship started sinking in the early morning hours. So far they have discovered nine stone anchors, relics of shipwrecks and an abundance of articles providing important information on trade and navigation of the time.

Recent archaeological expeditions (2009, 2011-15) conducted by the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities at the wreck of the brig Mentor have been focused mainly on excavating the section of the hull that is still well preserved, as well as collecting information about the passengers, the crew and the cargo of the ship. The brig, was owned by Lord Elgin and was transporting some of the antiquities and sculptures taken from the Acropolis monuments.

From the 19th to the 21st century, there have been several underwater investigations on the wreck undertaken with the aim to discover the “marble” sculptures, which, according to rumour, should still remain at the site.

The artefacts that have been discovered can be identified as objects for navigation, parts of the ship’s rigging and ornamentation, objects used for life on board, the ship’s armature, personal belongings of the passengers and crew and finally objects that possibly can be related to the shipload, such as ancient coins, Rhodian amphorae stamps, fossils, part of an Egyptian pharaonic statue and a fragmented Egyptian marble relief.

Read more here.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source: Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, Ministry of Culture and Sports

Source: mononews.gr/kythera.gr/kcl.ac.uk

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