Professor William C. Phoel
April 29, 2010
Title: An Early Helladic II Period Submerged Cultural Resource Found in Dokos, Greece.
The Hellenic Institute of Marine Archaeology (HIMA) has undertaken several significant projects. Among them, the most important is the one at Dokos (1988-1992). The Early Helladic shipwreck of Dokos, sometimes cited as the earliest known wreck, was the first systematic and efficient full-scale investigation of an ancient shipwreck to be conducted in Greece. The rich ceramic finds (raised among 10,000 objects) dating to the Early Helladic II period are judged to be particularly important both for their large size and type variety, and also in that they represent the largest closed group of Early Helladic ceramic ware found to date in the Aegean.
2. A BRIEF HISTORY OF UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGY IN GREECE.
Figure [ 1 ]: Ancient remains found in underwater excavations of various submerged cultural resources. The possibilities of underwater archaeology in Greece were appreciated relatively early by Greek archaeologists. In 1884, Keeper of Antiquities Christos Tsoudas, with the help of sponge divers, concluded the first methodical underwater survey in the channel between the island of Salamis and Attica. Yet, it was not archaeologists that raised some of the Ancient World’s few surviving masterpieces; it was ordinary fishermen and sponge divers. Some of these works of art include the Poseidon of Kreusis found in the Gulf of Corinth (1889), the Boy or Ephebe of Marathon (1925) extricated by Evangelos Leonidas from his fishing nets, the Poseidon (or Zeus), and the Jockey of Cape Artemision (1928, see Fig. 1). Nevertheless, the field of underwater archaeology continued to develop in Greece over the past century and finally reached the point in 1996 where Nikos Tsouchlos, then director of the Hellenic Institute of Marine Archaeology (HIMA), could state that “in Greece underwater archaeology has now finally established its place in the archaeological field” (1). 3. BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT THE ISLAND AND THE SHIPWRECK IN DOKOS, GREECE. According to the Hellenic History of Marine Archaeology, “the underwater archaeological excavation at Dokos, carried out by the Hellenic Institute of Marine Archaeology from 1989 to 1992 under the direction of the archaeologist George Papathanasopoulos, was the first full scale excavation of an ancient wreck in Greece which also employed the most up-to-date technological methods of the time.” The underwater site of Dokos is the most valuable concrete evidence for navigation, sea trade, technology, and the economy in the Aegean during the late 3rd millennium BC (3). The website of Hellenic Institute of Marine Archaeology also states that, “the island of Dokos owes its name to the Dokos family of Hydriot ship owners, to whom it belonged at the end of the 18th century. In antiquity it was called Aperopia, a name perhaps meaning “the mountain island.” It is in fact craggy and precipitous, with few natural springs. Its highly important geographical location, however, at the entrance to the Argolic Gulf and on the sea route to and from the coasts of Argolida and Lakonia attracted the interest of mariners from early on” (3). The Hellenic Institute of Marine Archaeology continues by stating that, “[Dokos] was colonized from the end of the Neolithic period (4th millennium BC), but human presence on the island augmented during the Early Helladic period (2500-2300/2200 BC), when sea trade developed. After that time it vanished from the record for a long period of history, becoming the territory of fishermen and shepherds. In times of trouble, however, its role was upgraded because of its position and fortified character. During the 13th century BC, the powerful settlements of Myti Kommeni and Ledeza grew up. In the middle of the 7th century AD an actual castle town was formed in the...
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