Underwater archaeologists were surprised to find eight sunken ships from the Roman Empire off the coast of the Greek island of Naxos. The 2,000-year-old shipwrecks were found in depths of less than 100 feet – which is surprising since those waters are “crystal clear” and a popular tourist attraction.

8 sunken roman shipwrecks found off Naxos in Greece, 8 roman shipwrecks found off Naxos in Greece
8 sunken roman shipwrecks found off Naxos in Greece

Archaeologists had been searching Naxos for something else: a harbor once linked to a Byzantine settlement that may once have been the island’s capital. To their surprise, a local diver took them to two nearby reefs, one revealing a variety of amphorae – some ancient storage containers – and anchors, and the other containing three shipwrecks.

8 sunken roman shipwrecks found off Naxos in Greece, 8 roman shipwrecks found off Naxos in Greece
Underwater archeologists gather ancient tresor in Nexos, Greece.

In ancient times, Naxos was known for high-quality marble exports. During the Byzantine period, the southern harbor of Parnamos became the primary one, and it was that harbor that the researchers had been trying to find when they first arrived. The underwater region off Naxos’ southern coast has remained an isolated one, meaning it’s relatively undisturbed and ideal for this kind of scientific exploration. After finding the first four ships, the researchers continued the work with sonar, upon which they discovered an additional four ships with amphorae of their own.

8 sunken roman shipwrecks found off Naxos in Greece, 8 roman shipwrecks found off Naxos in Greece
Different atefacts were found around the 8 Roman shipwrecks in Greek waters.

The vessels would have been loaded with anything profitable enough to justify a long and dangerous sea journey. In addition to passengers, that likely meant goods like olive oil and wine, which would have been the purpose of some of the amphorae, as well as armor. Divers also discovered construction materials like brick and roof tiles, as well as a small stone palette that they believe was used to blend cosmetics.

8 sunken roman shipwrecks found off Naxos in Greece, 8 roman shipwrecks found off Naxos in Greece
Divers exploring the archeological site off Nexos, Greece, where 8 Roman shipwrecks were found in 100ft water.

The relics from the first group of four ships appear to date from the Hellenistic period in the 3rd century B.C. through the Late Roman Period, up to around 600 A.D. The ships from the second group haven’t been studied yet, but it’s possible that molecular analysis of the clay from the amphorae could help the researchers pinpoint where they were made. Here more pictures of the unexpected find:

Other treasures likely await.

Follow us: Facebook and Twitter

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here