The Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs has announced that remnants of a massive Bronze Age city have been discovered submerged in the Aegean Sea. The settlement, which dates back approximately 4,500 years, covers an area of 12 acres and consists of stone defensive structures, paved surfaces, pathways, towers, pottery, tools, and other artifacts.
The discovery was made by a team of experts from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, University of Geneva and the Swiss School of Archaeology at Kiladha Bay on the Peloponnese Peninsula south of Athens, while they were searching for evidence for the oldest village in Europe. While they were hoping to find traces dating back at least 8,000 years, the finding of the ancient city is no less significant.
The Ancient Greek City was found at Kiladha Bay on the Peloponnese Peninsula south of Athens. (Wikipedia)
Spero News reports that researchers identified a series of huge horseshoe-shaped foundations next to a wall line, which are believed to have been towers used to defend the city. However, the structures are unique and have not been seen before during the Bronze Age period to which the ruins belongs. Professor Julien Beck of the University of Geneva said the foundations are of a “massive nature, unknown in Greece until now”.
"The importance of our discovery is partly due to the large size. There must have been a brick superstructure above a stone foundation. The chances of finding such walls under water are extremely low. The full size of the facility is not yet known. We do not know why it is surrounded by fortifications," Beck added.
A paved area that is believed to have been part of a fortified wall (Spero News).
A Plethora of Artifacts
Beck explained that the discovery of the ancient city is important because of the quantity and quality of the artifacts that were retrieved, including pottery, red ceramics, stone tools, and obsidian blades dating to the Helladic period (3200 to 2050 BC). In fact, it was pottery fragments seen during training at the nearby Lambayanna beach that eventually led them to discover the city as they followed the trail of artifacts.
In total, more than 6,000 artifacts were pulled up from the ruins, which Beck has called an “archaeologist’s paradise.” The obsidian blades are believed to have come from volcanic rock sourced at the island of Milos in the Cyclades archipelago, inhabited since the third millennium.
International Business Times reports that the research team hopes the artifacts will enable them to “learn more about trade, shipping, and day to day life from the period”.
Weathered pottery sherds found at Lambayanna beach in the Pelopponese Peninsula of Greece (Spero News).
“The walls that were found by the team are contemporaneous with the pyramids at Giza that were built around 2600-2500 B.C., as well as the Cycladic civilization (3200 to 2000 BC), at the first Minoans on the island of Crete (2700-1200 BC),” reports Spero News. “However, they precede the first great Greek civilization, the Mycenaean (1650-1100 BC), by one thousand years.”
The researchers hope that further investigations at and around Lambayanna may provide new insight into a dense network of coastal settlements spread throughout the Aegean Sea.
Featured image: A diver exploring the newly-discovered Greek city in the Aegean Sea (Spero News).