The team mapped each wreck using photogrammetry (the science of making measurements from photographs) to create 3D site plans. Representative artefacts were excavated and raised for scientific analysis. These are currently undergoing conservation at the Ephorate’s laboratory in Athens and may go on display in museums in the future.
“The concentration of ancient shipwrecks is unprecedented,” says Peter Campbell, University of Southampton archaeologist and project co-director from the US-based RPM Nautical Foundation. “The volume of shipwrecks in Fourni, an island that had no major cities or harbours, speaks to its role in navigation as well as the perils of sailing the eastern Aegean,” he adds.
The wrecks date from the Archaic Period (700 to 480 BC) through the Late Medieval period (16th century). Several date to the Classical (480 to 323 BC) and Hellenistic (323 to 31 BC) periods, but over half of the wrecks date to the Late Roman period (around 300 to 600 AD). The ships’ cargos point to the importance of long distance trade between the Black Sea, Aegean Sea, Cyprus, the Levant and Egypt – in all these periods.