Excavation of Lord Elgin's shipwrecked brig "Mentor" off Kithira yields more passenger items

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Excavation of Lord Elgin's shipwrecked brig "Mentor" off Kithira yields more passenger itemsPart of the brig that was uncovered and studied Photo: Hellenic Ministry of Culture - Underwater Antiquities Ephorate /Alexis Tourtas

Underwater exploration this September of the historic wreck of "Mentor", a brig which belonged to Lord Elgin and sank off Kythira Island in 1802 carrying antiquities of the Acropolis, revealed more information about the brig's construction, Greece's Ministry of Culture said on Tuesdasy, according to ANA.

 

Measurements and stamping of the brig' keel Photo: Hellenic Ministry of Culture - Underwater Antiquities Ephorate /Alexis Tourtas

The excavation was carried out by the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and archaeologist Dimitris Kourkoumelis.

"The Mentor, which belonged to Lord Elgin, sank during a storm in the St. Nicholas cove in southeastern Kythira in 1802, while transporting part of the antiquities Lord Elgin's team had removed from the Parthenon, the Acropolis and other Athens monuments," the Ministry of Culture noted.

Leaded lining in the ship's keel area Photo: Hellenic Ministry of Culture - Underwater Antiquities Ephorate /Alexis Tourtas

The underwater exploration took place from September 7 to 23, the ministry explained, and focused on the area of the stern, to determine how much of it survives. But in the 2 x 2 m trench the team dug it did not find parts of the stern or other significant objects. Most appeared to be items belonging to passengers: glass vials, buttons from clothing, a bronze furniture knob, lead bullets, sections of ropes and other small objects.

Initial maintenance of the ship's rope remnants Photo: Hellenic Ministry of Culture - Underwater Antiquities Ephorate /Alexis Tourtas

Another trench, along the well-preserved keel of the ship, revealed new data on the two-mast ship's construction. Participating archaeologist Marine Jaouen of the Departement des Recherches Archeologiques Subaquatiques et Sous-Marines of the French Culture Ministry, an expert on ships and shipping of this era, helped explain the way the ship was built, apparently in America, the Greek ministry added.

Excavation work in the area of the keel Photo: Hellenic Ministry of Culture - Underwater Antiquities Ephorate /Alexis Tourtas

The excavation and research team also included several archaeologists and staff from the Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens. Support for the excavation came form Peter Maneas, Stathis Trifyllis and Als, an urban nonprofit company.

 

 


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