Divers exploring the reef off the coast of Naxos island, were in for a surprise when they discovered a cluster of ancient shipwrecks.
The eight wrecks, which date to the Roman Empire era of around 2,000 years ago, were found in shallow water at a depth of just 30 metres.
The divers, from the Norwegian Institute at Athens, came across the wrecks by chance, during an expedition to find Naxos’ southern harbour.
Among the findings were several amphorae (two-handled jugs), roof tiles and bricks, suggesting the ships belonged to imperial merchants.
In one reef, the researchers found several amphorae – jugs with two handles and a narrow neck – that originated in Asia Minor, and date back to the Early Roman period, between 100 BCE – 300 AD.
A second reef had even more treasures – three shipwrecks that dated back to the Hellenistic period, Roman Imperial Period and the Late Roman Period.
The team also discovered roof tiles and bricks within the wreckages. The ships themselves were steered using two large oars, and would have had a crew of around 10 to 15 sailors, according to the researchers.
Several types of anchor were also found, built from a range of materials, including stone, lead and iron.
The stone anchors are likely to be the most primitive, while the lead and iron anchors were more modern versions, according to the researchers.
The researchers suggest that the ships may have been near Naxos in the hope of finding shelter.
Source: Daily Mail