In late October 2023, the multi-year underwater archaeological study in the marine area of Kasos was completed. Since 2019, the research team from the Hellenic National Research Foundation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, conducted four research expeditions in areas of special interest, using archaeological and historical evidence, sources, testimonies, and reports on the island of Kasos, from Homer’s Iliad to modern times.

During the investigations, a total of ten shipwrecks, as well as significant individual finds, were discovered, dating back to prehistory (3000 BC), the classical period (460 BC), the Hellenistic period (100 BC to 100 AD), the Roman period (200 BC to 300 AD), the Byzantine period (800 to 900 AD), and finds from the medieval and Ottoman periods.

The finds were recorded and documented using modern scientific methods, while sampling of archaeological objects was conducted, offering new information and archaeological data, aspects of Kasos’s history, and the rich cultural heritage of the Mediterranean.

The submerged remains of ancient ships carrying goods from Spain, Italy, Africa, and the coast of Asia Minor were brought to light by an interdisciplinary team of Greek and foreign researchers and professors, underwater archaeologists, historians, architects, surveyors, conservators, geologists, biologists, craftsmen, graduate students, doctoral candidates, postdoctoral researchers, and other specialists.

The research concluded in 2023 with the fourth research expedition, between October 10 and 26, which focused on documenting the archaeological material.

Using modern technological equipment, over 20,000 underwater photographs were taken, which were used to study and compile digital images of the shipwrecks and finds, providing a wealth of primary data to the international scientific community.

The detailed study of material at depths ranging from 20 to 47 meters revealed unique finds, including a Dressel 20-type Spanish amphora with a seal on the handle dating from between 150 and 170 AD, drinking vessels, Terra Sigillata pottery, belonging to the Roman period with African origin, an anchor from the archaic period, as well as other important archaeological evidence.

Simultaneously, for the first time, mapping and bathymetry of the Kasos-Karpathos reef and the Karpatholimnion area were carried out using side-scan sonar.

Finally, the remains of a modern-era shipwreck, likely from World War II, were identified. It is a wooden vessel with metal elements, estimated to be between 25 and 30 meters in size.

It is worth mentioning that the underwater research in Kasos was the subject of an original film production by AORI FILMS titled “Diving into the History of the Aegean”, available in Greek and English. The film has already been selected to participate in the competitive section of major international archaeological film festivals, including The Archaeology Channel International Film Festival in America and the Firenze Archeofilm Festival in Europe.

The evaluation of the research, enriched with original studies by historians, archaeologists, conservators, and other scientists, will be the subject of a collective volume in a foreign language that the Hellenic National Research Foundation plans to publish by the end of 2024.

In June 2024, there are plans to expand the research to the marine area of Karpathos, which constitutes a single geographical entity with Kasos.


Sources

Greek Ministry of Culture


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