Greek experts from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research discovered the remains of three shipwrecks some 0.7 to 0.9 miles deep in the Ionian Sea while researching 77 square miles of seabed off the islands of Corfu and Paxoi in Northwestern Greece.
According to the Greek Ministry of Culture, the research was conducted in an area where a Greek-Italian gas pipeline was scheduled to be sunk. Laying 0.7 to 0.9 deep in the sea, the two third-century Roman shipwrecks are deemed as a momentous discovery in maritime archaeology, challenging the so far popular belief that ancient sailors would sail their ships close to the coasts for safety rather than sailing the open sea.
The new findings rank among the deepest known ancient wrecks in the Mediterranean Sea. Most ancient shipwrecks are found at 100-130 feet deep because traders with small vessels would not easily stay away from the coasts due to their ship’s cargo and burden.
The first wreck was named “Poseidon 1” and is located 0.7 miles deep. Dating back to the 3rd century AD and the Roman era, experts retrieved from the wreck so far a marble basin 30cm tall and the inlets of two different African amphorae. With the help of a Greek oceanographic vessel using side-scan radar and robot submarines, the remaining cargo of the ship includes pottery, cookware, at least two anchors, parts of the ship’s ballast and remains of the wooden construction.
The second wreck was named “Poseidon 2” and is located some 0.9 miles deep. Most probably this shipwreck belongs to the same historic period with the first one. The wreck contains amphorae, cookware, different metal objects, while parts of its ballast and the ship are also well preserved. However, archaeologists have been unable so far to retrieve anything from this wreck because of the muddy sea floor.
The third wreck was named “Poseidon 3” and is located 0.8 miles deep. According to estimates, the ship belongs to the 17th-18th century. This wreck also holds remains from the wooden structure of the ship, iron anchors, cookware and packaging basins.