The Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, for the third consecutive year, has supported the research on the Antikythera shipwreck. From May 19 to June 18, 2023, the third phase of the five-year research program “Return to Antikythera” (2021-2025) was conducted.
The main objective of this year’s research was to conduct a stratigraphic survey of the wreck itself with its cargo, as well as to investigate new sites. In this year’s excavations, human bones were revealed, possibly belonging to more than one persons, along with a number of objects characteristic of the wreck, such as parts of clay and glass vessels and many nails lined with wood. A remarkable fact is the finding of some early Byzantine pottery fragments, the existence of which puzzled us a lot, reinforcing our belief that this sea area was a passage of ships over the centuries.
The Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation has been supporting underwater excavations and research at the Antikythera shipwreck since 2014, when the Ministry of Culture’s “Return to Antikythera” program began. Specifically, the vessel “GLAROS” is used for accommodation and logistical support in the research area, and reinforces the research team with a team consisting of diving archaeologists, seabed technicians and divers, as well as scientists of other specialties, such as geologists, chemists and physicists.
Also, during the last years, the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation has hosted twice in its premises, exhibitions with the important findings that came to light from underwater excavations, and has exclusively funded the preliminary study for the construction of the Museum of Underwater Antiquities as well as the reconstruction of the building, which today houses the laboratories of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities.
The Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, consistent with its goals for the preservation of maritime history and the promotion of underwater archaeological wealth, will continue to support research on the Antikythera shipwreck and, in collaboration with the other institutions of the “Return to Antikythera” programme, will contribute to the common effort to bring back to light, after 2000 years, objects of art and technology of our ancestors and to contribute to the improvement of our knowledge about the shipwreck and the Hellenistic period.
The five-year research program that began in 2021 is carried out under the direction of Dr. Angeliki G. Simosi, Head of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Piraeus and Islands, and Lorenz E. Baumer, Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Geneva.
The research is conducted by the Swiss School of Archaeology under the supervision of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, with funding from the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation and the Swiss watchmaker Hublot, while COSMOTE covers the telecommunications needs of the research. The research is actively supported by the Municipality of Kythera and the residents of Antikythera. The Hellenic Coast Guard actively supports divers of the Underwater Missions Unit for diving in large depths of the wreck.