The research work of the Terra Submersa expedition at the sea bottom of Argolida, in the Peloponnese, is in progress. Starting from Eretria, headquarters of the Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece, with intermediate stations in Piraeus and Nafplion, the members of the archaeological Terra Submersa expedition ended up in the bay of Argolida‘s valley, where they carry out underwater research.
The Greek-Swiss expedition, led by archeologists of the Geneva University in collaboration with the Laténium of Neuchâtel, the Greek Service for Underwater Antiquities, the Swiss School of Archeology in Greece and the Hellenic Center for Maritime Research, aims to explore the prehistoric landscapes that have been submerged by the waters of the Gulf of Argolida, in an attempt to remodel them and identify possible human traces.
At the end of the Ice Age, about 20,000 years ago, the sea level was lower than it is today. By remodeling the landscapes that have disappeared, archaeologists hope to understand the dynamics through which coastal zones were populated.
The Terra Submersa expedition focused on the Franchti cave, in the northern part of the bay, which was inhabited for 35,000 years, from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic age. “We collected fantastic data, its analysis will take two years of work,” said Julien Beck, the expedition’s head. “The preliminary results are encouraging,” he added. In fact, by mapping the sea bottom, archaeologists found paleobeaches dating back to different periods in prehistory. It is estimated that these beaches were shaped by the inhabitants of the Franchti cave, in which scientists recovered shells and the remains of fish.
Furthermore, faults indicating tectonic shifts in the Gulf of Argolida have been detected with the echo-sonar installed aboard the solar-powered ship. These faults could explain the paleobeaches’ difference in depth.
Archaeological research also revealed signs of the bed of an ancient river, which is encouraging as ancient civilizations used to flourish near water.