Findings at the shipwreck of Fournoi, Delos

Ancient Remains and New Shipwrecks Show the Greek Island of Delos was a Major International Trading Port

(Read the article on one page)

The Culture and Sports Ministry of Greece has recently announced that ancient remains and new shipwrecks have been found during an underwater archaeological excavation conducted by the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities at the island of Delos. Experts are fascinated by the fact that the several shipwrecks found date back to many different eras, as News Network Archaeology reports .

Findings at the shipwreck of Fournoi, Delos Photo Credit: Ministry of Culture and Sports

Findings at the shipwreck of Fournoi, Delos Photo Credit: Ministry of Culture and Sports

The Archeological Value of Delos

Mykonos is undoubtedly one of the most famous islands on the planet thanks to its intense nightlife and colorful lifestyle. However, only a few minutes away from the popular island there is Delos, one of the most significant islands worldwide from an archaeological and cultural point of view.  The archaeological site of Delos is exceptionally extensive and rich and conveys the image of a great cosmopolitan Mediterranean port. According to the official tourism website for Greece, “nowhere else in the Globe is there a natural insular archaeological site of this size and importance. No other island on Earth hosts so many monumental antiquities from the Archaic, the Classical, and the Hellenistic periods, i.e. the centuries of the great Greek art, on a territory used exclusively as an archaeological site.”

The Delos Lions ( CC BY SA 3.0 )

Impressive Finds Discovered on the Island’s Seabed

It’s no wonder that Delos often becomes the center of archaeology’s interest due to its rich and long history. This is the case with the recent discovery of the remains of ancient coastal structures and a port, a large number of shipwrecks dating back to various eras and many important smaller finds during an underwater archaeological excavation conducted by the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities at the island of Delos from May 2 until May 20. "The finds confirm that Delos was an important trading base and an important maritime trade route through the ages, linking the east and west Mediterranean," a ministry announcement mentioned as News Network Archaeology reports .

Investigating the shipwreck at Fylladi Bay of Rineia.

Investigating the shipwreck at Fylladi Bay of Rineia. Photo Credit: Ministry of Culture and Sports

Archaeologists conducted a detailed investigation of the ancient artificial offshore structure that protected the island's central port in antiquity from the ferocious northwestern winds, which is now underwater due to the sea level risen by almost two meters since that time. According to the ministry’s announcement, “the breakwater was an impressively strong structure, roughly 160 meters long and at least 40 meters wide, built on a pile of unshaped rocks, while its upper structure was for the great part constructed of granite blocks of impressive size." The ministry’s announcement also mentioned that the date of the breakwater’s construction remains unknown and further archaeological and geological research will be conducted soon in order to learn more information about it.

Smaller, Very Significant Finds Discovered

Additional finds include the remains of walls and a semi-destroyed colonnade, the remains of a later Hellenistic era shipwreck carrying amphorae of oil and wine from Italy and the western Mediterranean, as well as two more shipwrecks from the same chronological period off the southern tip of Delos and at Rineia, in Fylladi Bay.

Late Hellenistic shipwreck at Fylladi Bay of Rineia

Late Hellenistic shipwreck at Fylladi Bay of Rineia Photo Credit: Ministry of Culture and Sports

The archaeological mission also got the chance to photograph and map two more shipwrecks found in previous underwater excavation, at Kato Kerenale and near Fournoi. All the newly discovered shipwrecks date to the period between the end of the 2nd century and the 1st century BC, when Delos was flourishing.

As News Network Archaeology reports , finds from other regions outside Greece - such as Italy, Spain and North Africa – clearly show that the island had trading relations with other Mediterranean nations during the Hellenistic period. Also there were found earlier objects dating to the 5th century BC when little is known about the island's activities.

Ultimately, the excavation in the area was the result of the collaboration between the French Archaeological School and the head of the Delos excavations Dr. Jean Charles Moretti, as well as Dr. Mantha Zarmakoupi of the National Hellenic Research Foundation, with the help of underwater topographer Lionel Fantin of the French School and Spyridon Moureas offering technical support. The expense of the excavation was covered by the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, the French Archaeological School and the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies.

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

Constantine TV Series logo
Constantine is an American TV series that centers around the character of John Constantine, a British exorcist and occult detective who hunts supernatural entities. The entire Constantine series is based upon a vast mythology that encompasses the legends and folklore of many different cultures throughout history.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article