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A Development Of Marine Archeology In Greece

  • Category: Science
  • Topic: Archaeology
  • Pages: 3
  • Words: 1197
  • Published: 26 April 2019
  • Downloads: 55
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History of Underwater Archeology in Greece

Introduction

There are a lot of hidden valuables that are found in the depth of seas all over the world. They include sunken ships, hidden maritime objects and other valuables. These valuables have over the course of history stirred curiosity and interest amongst people and increased the desire to reach, acquire, and study them. There have been diverse motivations and desire to access the sunken traces and evidence of human presence throughout history. On one hand, the ever present factors of desire, human curiosity, quest for knowledge and understanding the events surrounding humans are present. On the other hand, there is presence of other factors like desire to acquire wealth both as an individual or as a country that includes rare and valuable material or property. These traces of human presence and activity that have in the fullness of time disappeared under water were once kept off the access of humans by the noteworthy hindrance of underwater depth and inaccessibility. Human progress overtime has helped to overcome this challenge and more and more sunken or valuables as well as historical artifacts hidden under the seas have become increasingly accessible. Therefore, irrespective of the motivation or desire of humans, people began to access this underwater environment. Through these activities, the consequences have been the relocation, excavation, removal or damage of a variety of historical items and artifacts where the formations or sunken objects have lost features and characteristics after disappearing. This fact has evoked a lot of concern such that the activities aforementioned have led to the establishment of a branch of study dedicated to the systematic research and study of the commodities or formations found under the sea. Underwater archeology is therefore a branch within the field of archeology that focuses on the recovery of historical objects that are found under the sea beneath the deep waters. These objects or formations may include ship wrecks and remains from islands that have been submerged. The techniques applied include marine or underwater excavation, exploration and retrieval of the objects beneath the sea. This study is also called marine or nautical archeology.

Underwater Archeology in Greece

History

Underwater archeology in Greece and the possibilities of navigating beneath the sea were understood rather early. It was concluded, in 1884 by Christos Tsoudas, that the first structured underwater study in the region was possible with the help of trained divers (Agouridis n.p). Even at the time, archeologists were not involved in the raising of the few surviving masterpieces in the world; ordinary divers and fishermen did this. Among the major works of art retrieved included the Ephebe of Marathon in 1925 the Zeus and the Jockey of Cape Artemisia in 1928 (Tsouchlos n.p). However, the field of marine archeology went on developing in Greece over the past few decades and in 1996 it finally arrived at the stage where Greece nautical archeology has continued to establish a place within the fields of underwater archeology. Earlier on in the beginning of the 20th century, the Antikythera wreck was discovered accidentally by divers returning from a trip in Northern Africa. This historical artifact dates back to the age of 80 BC (Tsouchlos n.p). In this expedition, the government was involved in funding the exploration attempt to salvage the remains. This was the first time in the history of Greece that a deliberate effort to salvage an ancient shipwreck and the objects within was made. However, early underwater archeologists faced so many challenges and difficulties owing to limited technology and knowledge deficiency. These difficulties made the early archeologists turn to harbor studies and surveys due to the ease of access and consequent faster completion time. Consequently, harbor studies in Greece have been constantly examined as a huge contribution of Greek archeological pioneering since then.

Development in Underwater Archeology in Greece

Later in 1943 during the Second World War, revolutionary inventions offered underwater archeologists a chance to investigate on submerged sites and sunken ships for themselves (Tzallas n.p). Afterwards, there was a noted increase in the number of underwater expeditions undertaken by not only Greek archeologists but also foreign scientists in Greece. It was in this period that diving began in Athens. Taking advantage of new advancements made after the Second World War, scientists began to survey areas under the sea. These expeditions were made possible by the British School of Archeology and the French School of Archeology all located in Athens. In 1959, the first known archeological diver in Greece explored Katakolou’s seabed where the fossils of an ancient wreck were located (Tzallas n.p). These expeditions were a landmark in the history of underwater archeology. Afterwards a series of expeditions were carried out beneath the sea with the purpose of relocation, excavation, removal of damaged variety of historical items and artifacts where the formations or sunken objects had lost features and characteristics after sinking and being submerged.

By the end of the 60s and well in to the 70s, expeditions set out study and survey the Navarino Bay (Tzallas n.p). These times marked a key turnaround in the Greece history and development of underwater archeology. This field of study began to receive the seriousness it deserved. Young archeologists were encouraged and taught how to work and make good dives underwater for the purpose of survey and study. Museums began to display ceramics or antiques excavated and retrieved from shipwrecks and other underwater formations. Such public involvements triggered the spread of underwater archeological interest and desire to discover more. The events prompted the pioneer systematic rescue retrieval of a shipwreck within the Greek waters. Even though at times surveys ended up in inconclusive and unsubstantial results, developments within the field went on to make the scientific study better every year. Despite these efforts however, the most important development came later in 1973 when the first institution that specially dealt with underwater archeology was established; the HIMA (Hellenic Institute of Marine Archeology) was founded as a scientific, technical and not-for-profit body (Tzallas n.p). With the help of the Greek Archeological Institute, HIMA stated aim was development of marine archeology and research in Greece. The two establishments cooperated closely to attain the set targets and goals. The most important contribution of this institute is seen as the establishment of the forward motion created for the construction of a department dealing solely with marine archeology. This helped the country to acquire a medium for planning and coordination of research beneath the sea.

From the brief history and development map of marine archeology in Greece, it is easy to ascertain the cultural wealth that lies within the seas in Greece. The earliest use of aqualung for marine purposes, the first sponsorship for marine archeology by the government for expedition and survey and the probably the oldest shipwreck in the history of the world are outstanding accomplishments, developments and history in the sector of underwater archeology in Greece. In spite of the noted accomplishments, the development in this industry has been erratic and significantly slow. Up to date, the development of the industry is still faced with hindrances. If the current challenges were to be conquered, the future of underwater archeology in Greece as its position is now well established within the continent.

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