A Roman-era freighter discovered on the Greek island of Antikythera more than 120 years ago and considered the richest ancient shipwreck in the world has yielded even more treasure in recent explorations. Underwater archaeologists have discovered the head of a 2,000-year-old statue of Hercules, as well as other artifacts such as human teeth.
According to The GuardianProfessor Lorenz Baumer, the classical archaeologist who is overseeing the undersea mission with the University of Geneva, said: “In 1900, [sponge divers] took down the statue of Hercules [from the sea] and now, all in all, we’ve probably found his head.”
Baumer added, “It’s an impressive piece of marble.” He went on to describe the features of the statue that bore all the hallmarks of one of the great heroic figures of Greek and Roman mythology. “He is twice his natural size, has a big beard, a very particular face and short hair. There is no doubt that he is Hercules,” Baumer said, according to the newspaper.
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The discovery of the sculpture, along with the pedestal of another marble statue, human teeth and parts of the ship’s equipment, was made possible by the removal of three boulders that partially covered the wreckage on the sea floor. For nearly three weeks, the research team of marine archaeologists and specially trained divers had access to an area never before explored.
The Guardian reported that two teeth were embedded in marine encrusted deposits that occurred in the wreck. Now, researchers believe that genetic and isotopic analysis of the remains could be groundbreaking to shed light on the people who sailed the ship.
Several expeditions had already explored the wreckage. Most famous among its cargo of giant marble and bronze statues, ceramics and glassware was the Antikythera Mechanism – a device used to map the movements of the sun, moon and planets that has been described by scientists as the first analog computer. of the world.
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According to newsweekThe latest mission was the second in a five-year research program by Greece’s Ephorate of Marine Antiquities, which runs until 2025.