We often see stories about buildings that have been left behind and forgotten. This can be due to nuclear disasters, job loss, or other sad circumstances. Recently there was a group of divers made up from experts from Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, University of Geneva, and the Swiss School of Archaeology at Kiladha Bay. They were searching the waters near the Peloponnese Peninsula which is just south of Athens, Greece. They were searching for evidence of the oldest village in Europe. There is a rumor out there that there is a village that dates back to 8,000 years ago, but they have not been able to locate it. Rather than finding the village they were looking for, these divers came across an underwater Bronze Age city which has long been submerged in the Aegean Sea. The Bronze Age started in Europe around 2300 BC. Here is a glimpse at what these divers found.
When divers discovered this Greek underground city, they found an area that covered approximately 12 acres. The area was covered with stone defensive structures, paved surfaces, pathways, towers, pottery, tools, and other artifacts.
While diving they found horseshoe-shaped foundations which were situated around a wall line. After looking into this even more, they believe that these were towers used when defending the city during the Bronze Age.
Professor Julien Beck of the University of Geneva said the foundations are of a, “massive nature, unknown to 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.
During the discovery, they found a variety of tools that actually date back to the Helladic period which was from 3200 to 2050 BC. The tools that were found included pottery, red ceramics, stone tools, and obsidian blades.
The reason they ended up discovering this underground city is because they found pieces of pottery while there were training exercises being done on a beach in Lambayanna.
They ended up finding over 6,000 pieces of artifacts, stating that this was an archaeologist’s paradise. After looking through the artifacts even more, they believe the obsidian blades came from volcanic rock, which were sourced back to the island of Milos in the Cyclades archipelago, which has been inhabited since the third millennium.
They hope by finding all of the artifacts, that they’ll be able to, “learn more about trade, shipping, and day-to-day life from the period.”
“The walls that were found by the team are contemporaneous with the pyramids at Giza that were built around 2600 – 2500 BC, as well as the Cycladic civilization (3200 – 2000 BC), at the first Minoans on the island of Crete (2700-1200BC). However, they precede the first great Greek civilization, the Mycenaean (1650-1100BC), by one thousand years.”
It’s believed that the layout of this city was typical with the time. It seems to have contained small buildings which were then surrounded by the wall foundations.
The ship the crew traveled on was called the Terra Submerse. It’s named after the organization that is dedicated to the study of submerged prehistoric landscapes and they are based out of Switzerland. It is the world’s largest solar-powered catamaran. When the boat isn’t in use, you can take a tour of the boat when it visits the ports of Eretria, Athens, and Nafplio. What an amazing discovery and I can’t wait to hear more about this!