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Shipwrecks tell tale of ancient Greek trade routes

Amphorae are seen at the sea bottom at a shipwreck site on the island of Fournoi, Greece, September 15, 2018. Archaeologists in Greece have discovered at least 58 shipwrecks, many laden with antiquities, in what they say may be the largest concentration of ancient wrecks ever found in the Aegean and possibly the whole of the Mediterranean.

Vassilis Mentogiannis/Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities/Handout via REUTERS

Amphorae are seen at the sea bottom at a shipwreck site on the island of Fournoi, Greece, September 15, 2018. Archaeologists in Greece have discovered at least 58 shipwrecks, many laden with antiquities, in what they say may be the largest...more

Amphorae are seen at the sea bottom at a shipwreck site on the island of Fournoi, Greece, September 15, 2018. Archaeologists in Greece have discovered at least 58 shipwrecks, many laden with antiquities, in what they say may be the largest concentration of ancient wrecks ever found in the Aegean and possibly the whole of the Mediterranean. Vassilis Mentogiannis/Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities/Handout via REUTERS
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Diver and technical director Markos Garras, 50, carries an amphora on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. The wrecks lie in the small island archipelago of Fournoi, in the Eastern Aegean, and span a huge period from ancient Greece right through to the 20th century. Most are dated to the Greek, Roman and Byzantine eras.

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Diver and technical director Markos Garras, 50, carries an amphora on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. The wrecks lie in the small island archipelago of Fournoi, in the Eastern Aegean, and span a huge period from ancient Greece right through to the 20th...more

Diver and technical director Markos Garras, 50, carries an amphora on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. The wrecks lie in the small island archipelago of Fournoi, in the Eastern Aegean, and span a huge period from ancient Greece right through to the 20th century. Most are dated to the Greek, Roman and Byzantine eras. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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Members of the Fournoi Survey Project bring an amphora onboard following a dive on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. Although shipwrecks can be seen together in the Aegean, until now such a large number have not been found together.

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Members of the Fournoi Survey Project bring an amphora onboard following a dive on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. Although shipwrecks can be seen together in the Aegean, until now such a large number have not been found together. REUTERS/Alkis...more

Members of the Fournoi Survey Project bring an amphora onboard following a dive on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. Although shipwrecks can be seen together in the Aegean, until now such a large number have not been found together. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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Chief conservator of the Fournoi Survey Project Angelos Tsompanidis, 42, inspects an amphora retrieved from a shipwreck on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. Experts say they weave an exciting tale of how ships full of cargo travelling through the Aegean, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea met their fate in sudden storms and surrounded by rocky cliffs in the area.

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Chief conservator of the Fournoi Survey Project Angelos Tsompanidis, 42, inspects an amphora retrieved from a shipwreck on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. Experts say they weave an exciting tale of how ships full of cargo travelling through the Aegean,...more

Chief conservator of the Fournoi Survey Project Angelos Tsompanidis, 42, inspects an amphora retrieved from a shipwreck on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. Experts say they weave an exciting tale of how ships full of cargo travelling through the Aegean, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea met their fate in sudden storms and surrounded by rocky cliffs in the area. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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Chief conservator of the Fournoi Survey Project Angelos Tsompanidis, 42, swims over a shipwreck site on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. "The excitement is difficult to describe, I mean, it was just incredible. We knew that we had stumbled upon something that was going to change the history books," said underwater archaeologist and co-director of the Fournoi survey project Dr. Peter Campbell of the RPM Nautical Foundation. The foundation is collaborating on the project with Greece's Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, which is conducting the research.

Vassilis Mentogiannis/Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities/Handout via REUTERS

Chief conservator of the Fournoi Survey Project Angelos Tsompanidis, 42, swims over a shipwreck site on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. "The excitement is difficult to describe, I mean, it was just incredible. We knew that we had stumbled upon something...more

Chief conservator of the Fournoi Survey Project Angelos Tsompanidis, 42, swims over a shipwreck site on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. "The excitement is difficult to describe, I mean, it was just incredible. We knew that we had stumbled upon something that was going to change the history books," said underwater archaeologist and co-director of the Fournoi survey project Dr. Peter Campbell of the RPM Nautical Foundation. The foundation is collaborating on the project with Greece's Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, which is conducting the research. Vassilis Mentogiannis/Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities/Handout via REUTERS
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Archaeologist of the Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and Fournoi Survey Project director Dr. George Koutsouflakis and chief conservator of the project Angelos Tsompanidis, 42, inspect an amphora retrieved from a shipwreck on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. When the international team began the underwater survey in 2015, they were astounded to find 22 shipwrecks that year. With their latest finds that number has climbed to 58, and the team believe there are even more secrets lying on the seabed below.

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Archaeologist of the Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and Fournoi Survey Project director Dr. George Koutsouflakis and chief conservator of the project Angelos Tsompanidis, 42, inspect an amphora retrieved from a shipwreck on Fournoi,...more

Archaeologist of the Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and Fournoi Survey Project director Dr. George Koutsouflakis and chief conservator of the project Angelos Tsompanidis, 42, inspect an amphora retrieved from a shipwreck on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. When the international team began the underwater survey in 2015, they were astounded to find 22 shipwrecks that year. With their latest finds that number has climbed to 58, and the team believe there are even more secrets lying on the seabed below. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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Members of the Fournoi Survey Project are seen on an inflatable boat before a dive on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. "I would call it, probably, one of the top archaeological discoveries of the century in that we now have a new story to tell of a navigational route that connected the ancient Mediterranean," Campbell told Reuters.

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Members of the Fournoi Survey Project are seen on an inflatable boat before a dive on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. "I would call it, probably, one of the top archaeological discoveries of the century in that we now have a new story to tell of a...more

Members of the Fournoi Survey Project are seen on an inflatable boat before a dive on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. "I would call it, probably, one of the top archaeological discoveries of the century in that we now have a new story to tell of a navigational route that connected the ancient Mediterranean," Campbell told Reuters. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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Members of the Fournoi Survey Project carry an amphora following a dive at a shipwreck on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. The vessels and their contents paint a picture of ships carrying goods on routes from the Black Sea, Greece, Asia Minor, Italy, Spain, Sicily, Cyprus, the Levant, Egypt and north Africa.

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Members of the Fournoi Survey Project carry an amphora following a dive at a shipwreck on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. The vessels and their contents paint a picture of ships carrying goods on routes from the Black Sea, Greece, Asia Minor, Italy,...more

Members of the Fournoi Survey Project carry an amphora following a dive at a shipwreck on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. The vessels and their contents paint a picture of ships carrying goods on routes from the Black Sea, Greece, Asia Minor, Italy, Spain, Sicily, Cyprus, the Levant, Egypt and north Africa. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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Chief conservator of the Fournoi Survey Project Angelos Tsompanidis, 42, and student of the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art Helen Margarita Bardas, 25, prepare for a dive on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. The team has raised more than 300 antiquities from the shipwrecks, particularly amphorae, giving archaeologists rare insight into where goods were being transported around the Mediterranean.

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Chief conservator of the Fournoi Survey Project Angelos Tsompanidis, 42, and student of the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art Helen Margarita Bardas, 25, prepare for a dive on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. The team has raised...more

Chief conservator of the Fournoi Survey Project Angelos Tsompanidis, 42, and student of the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art Helen Margarita Bardas, 25, prepare for a dive on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. The team has raised more than 300 antiquities from the shipwrecks, particularly amphorae, giving archaeologists rare insight into where goods were being transported around the Mediterranean. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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Chief conservator of the Fournoi Survey Project Angelos Tsompanidis and student of the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art Helen Margarita Bardas carry an amphora from a shipwreck on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. "The amphora is a vessel used mainly for transporting liquids and semi-liquids in antiquity, so the goods it would be transporting were mostly wine, oil, fish sauces, perhaps honey," archaeologist and Fournoi survey project director Dr. George Koutsouflakis from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, said. Fish sauce from the Black Sea region in antiquity was an expensive commodity, he added.

Vassilis Mentogiannis/Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities/Handout via REUTERS

Chief conservator of the Fournoi Survey Project Angelos Tsompanidis and student of the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art Helen Margarita Bardas carry an amphora from a shipwreck on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. "The amphora is...more

Chief conservator of the Fournoi Survey Project Angelos Tsompanidis and student of the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art Helen Margarita Bardas carry an amphora from a shipwreck on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. "The amphora is a vessel used mainly for transporting liquids and semi-liquids in antiquity, so the goods it would be transporting were mostly wine, oil, fish sauces, perhaps honey," archaeologist and Fournoi survey project director Dr. George Koutsouflakis from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, said. Fish sauce from the Black Sea region in antiquity was an expensive commodity, he added. Vassilis Mentogiannis/Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities/Handout via REUTERS
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Student of the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art Helen Margarita Bardas, 25, prepares to come onboard after a dive on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. The team was particularly excited by amphorae it found originating from the Black Sea and north Africa in shipwrecks from the late Roman period, as it is rare to find cargo from these regions intact in shipwrecks in the Aegean, said Koutsouflakis.

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Student of the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art Helen Margarita Bardas, 25, prepares to come onboard after a dive on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. The team was particularly excited by amphorae it found originating from the...more

Student of the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art Helen Margarita Bardas, 25, prepares to come onboard after a dive on Fournoi, September 19, 2018. The team was particularly excited by amphorae it found originating from the Black Sea and north Africa in shipwrecks from the late Roman period, as it is rare to find cargo from these regions intact in shipwrecks in the Aegean, said Koutsouflakis. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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Diver, director and cinematographer Anastasis Agathos, 47, films an anchor at a shipwreck site on Fournoi, September 18, 2018. Bad weather is the most likely explanation for why the ships all sank in the same area, said Koutsouflakis. The region experiences lots of sudden, fierce squalls and is surrounded by rocky shores. Fournoi was a stopover point for ships to spend the night during their journey.

Vassilis Mentogiannis/Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities/Handout via REUTERS

Diver, director and cinematographer Anastasis Agathos, 47, films an anchor at a shipwreck site on Fournoi, September 18, 2018. Bad weather is the most likely explanation for why the ships all sank in the same area, said Koutsouflakis. The region...more

Diver, director and cinematographer Anastasis Agathos, 47, films an anchor at a shipwreck site on Fournoi, September 18, 2018. Bad weather is the most likely explanation for why the ships all sank in the same area, said Koutsouflakis. The region experiences lots of sudden, fierce squalls and is surrounded by rocky shores. Fournoi was a stopover point for ships to spend the night during their journey. Vassilis Mentogiannis/Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities/Handout via REUTERS
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Archaeologist of the Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and Fournoi Survey Project director Dr. George Koutsouflakis holds an amphora, September 19, 2018. In later times Fournoi was considered a pirate's haven, said Campbell. Pirates were drawn to the area by the abundant flow of vessels laden with rich cargo. Although weather was believed to be the primary reason for the sinkings, piracy may have contributed in some cases, he said.

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Archaeologist of the Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and Fournoi Survey Project director Dr. George Koutsouflakis holds an amphora, September 19, 2018. In later times Fournoi was considered a pirate's haven, said Campbell. Pirates were...more

Archaeologist of the Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and Fournoi Survey Project director Dr. George Koutsouflakis holds an amphora, September 19, 2018. In later times Fournoi was considered a pirate's haven, said Campbell. Pirates were drawn to the area by the abundant flow of vessels laden with rich cargo. Although weather was believed to be the primary reason for the sinkings, piracy may have contributed in some cases, he said. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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Student of the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art Giorgos Agavanakis, 24, takes pictures as fellow student Eirini Mitsi, 23, takes notes on an amphora, September 20, 2018. The condition of the shipwrecks vary. Some are well preserved, others are in pieces after the ships crashed on the rocks. "We have wrecks that are completely virgin. We feel we were the first ones to find them, but they are in very deep waters - at a depth of 60 meters. Usually from 40 meters and below we have wrecks in good condition. Anything above 40 meters has either lost its consistency or has been badly looted in the past," said Koutsouflakis.

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Student of the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art Giorgos Agavanakis, 24, takes pictures as fellow student Eirini Mitsi, 23, takes notes on an amphora, September 20, 2018. The condition of the shipwrecks vary. Some are well...more

Student of the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art Giorgos Agavanakis, 24, takes pictures as fellow student Eirini Mitsi, 23, takes notes on an amphora, September 20, 2018. The condition of the shipwrecks vary. Some are well preserved, others are in pieces after the ships crashed on the rocks. "We have wrecks that are completely virgin. We feel we were the first ones to find them, but they are in very deep waters - at a depth of 60 meters. Usually from 40 meters and below we have wrecks in good condition. Anything above 40 meters has either lost its consistency or has been badly looted in the past," said Koutsouflakis. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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Student of the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art Eirini Mitsi, 23, works on an amphora, September 20, 2018. The survey team discovered the shipwrecks from sightings by local sponge divers and fishermen.

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Student of the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art Eirini Mitsi, 23, works on an amphora, September 20, 2018. The survey team discovered the shipwrecks from sightings by local sponge divers and fishermen. REUTERS/Alkis...more

Student of the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art Eirini Mitsi, 23, works on an amphora, September 20, 2018. The survey team discovered the shipwrecks from sightings by local sponge divers and fishermen. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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Members of the Fournoi Survey Project attend a briefing before a dive, September 19, 2018. Fournoi is made up of 20 small islands, islets and reefs between the larger Ikaria, Patmos and Samos islands. The population does not reach more than 1,500, mainly located on the main island of Fournoi. The team, which includes archaeologists, architects, conservators, and divers, want to create a center for underwater archaeology in Fournoi for students, as well as a local museum to house their finds.

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Members of the Fournoi Survey Project attend a briefing before a dive, September 19, 2018. Fournoi is made up of 20 small islands, islets and reefs between the larger Ikaria, Patmos and Samos islands. The population does not reach more than 1,500,...more

Members of the Fournoi Survey Project attend a briefing before a dive, September 19, 2018. Fournoi is made up of 20 small islands, islets and reefs between the larger Ikaria, Patmos and Samos islands. The population does not reach more than 1,500, mainly located on the main island of Fournoi. The team, which includes archaeologists, architects, conservators, and divers, want to create a center for underwater archaeology in Fournoi for students, as well as a local museum to house their finds. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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Diver Manos Mitikas, 35, prepares for a dive on Fournoi, September 18, 2018. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Diver Manos Mitikas, 35, prepares for a dive on Fournoi, September 18, 2018. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Diver Manos Mitikas, 35, prepares for a dive on Fournoi, September 18, 2018. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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A member of the Fournoi Survey Project carries a dive tank before a dive, September 19, 2018. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A member of the Fournoi Survey Project carries a dive tank before a dive, September 19, 2018. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A member of the Fournoi Survey Project carries a dive tank before a dive, September 19, 2018. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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