During a joint operation by the Maritime Superintendency of the Sicily Region and the Diving Unit of the Guardia di Finanza in Messina, an archaeological protection operation was conducted on the seabed off the coast of San Lorenzo, in the municipality of Noto, province of Siracusa (Sicily). The verification and survey operation was triggered by a report from a citizen who informed the relevant authorities of the presence of two stone anchors on the seabed of Siracusa.
During the dive, the two lithic anchors from the Archaic period (likely late Iron Age) were identified at a depth of 15 meters near a sandbank and documented with a three-dimensional photogrammetric study. The two archaeological artifacts, a three-holed lithic anchor (gravity and socket) approximately 70 centimeters in size, and another ovoid-shaped anchor (gravity with a distal hole), were located close to each other on a rocky seabed mixed with Posidonia meadows.
The intervention covered a wide marine area of approximately 250 square meters, which was inspected and documented by divers from the Maritime Superintendency and the Diving Unit of the Guardia di Finanza in Messina, to verify the presence of more archaeological evidence. The two findings will be recovered in the coming days for further study and initial treatment, awaiting their exhibition in a local museum.
The joint action of the two administrations was once again crucial for the success of the protection operation. Matteo Azzaro, Honorary Inspector of Underwater Cultural Heritage for the coastal municipalities of Avola, Pachino, and Portopalo di Capo Passero, participated in the underwater reconnaissance.
This type of intervention confirms the importance of citizen cooperation in the protection and safeguarding of cultural heritage. Authorities have received numerous reports, especially in recent years, from individuals who have accidentally identified objects of cultural interest.
Sensitivity towards submerged heritage, thanks also to the involvement of the police, allows strengthening the relationship between citizens and State Administrations for the common goal of protecting cultural heritage.
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