Ancient Treasures Discovered in 2,000-Year-Old Shipwreck

Playing Divers Pull Priceless Artifacts From Ancient Shipwreck

A sunken ship is providing treasure-hunting Greek researchers with priceless baubles more than 100 years after it was first discovered.

The Antikythera shipwreck, so named for its location off a tiny Greek isle, was once a proud Roman-era vessel laden with pieces of art and luxury goods.

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Two thousand years after it wound up under the sea, and last month more specifically, a team from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities continued an excavation at a trench where human remains were recovered last year.

They were not disappointed. The trench continued to deliver similar material including a bronze statue’s arm, a disc adorned with a bull and preserved wooden ship planks dating to an era from which few relics have survived.

Even more exciting for researchers are hints they've found at least seven more bronze sculptures yet to be unearthed.

Since its discovery by Greek sponge divers in 1900, the wreck has yielded grand relics from the Classical era, including marble statues of ancient gods and other antiquities.

In 1976, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and the CALYPSO crew journeyed to the wreck and recovered nearly 300 objects, including skeletal remains of the passengers and crew.

These are the first to come from the site, however, since detailed mapping was done of the area in 2014.

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A curator with Los Angeles' J. Paul Getty museum put the find in perspective for The New York Times.

“Say you discovered there are another seven Leonardo [DaVinci] paintings that no one knew existed and the prospect of finding them is dangling before your eyes,” Kenneth Lapatin explained. “That’s what this is like for classical archaeologists and those who study ancient Greek and Roman art.”

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