The latest expedition by divers to the wreckage of a mentor, which sank just off the islands of Cythera (also known as Cythera and Cythera) in 1802, rigged ships, coins, shoe soles, and some pieces of metal. Collected buckles, Trump tokens, two chess pieces, cookware debris, and other seemingly mundane items.
When it sank, the ship was carrying a marble sculpture carved from the severely damaged Parthenon in Athens — laterElgin Marbles Or Parthenon Marble. These magnificent sculptures of Greek gods, heroes and animals are now on display at the British Museum in London.
However, small objects recovered from the wreck reveal an interesting aspect of the lives of the people on board the ship when it sank, said Dimitris Kurkoumelis, an underwater archaeologist at the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Greece. Stated.
“The goal is to understand how people lived and lived on board, not only for passengers but also for the crew,” Kourkoumelis told Live Science. “We found gold Dutch Utrecht and Spanish coins, and Ottoman coins — it was a truly international group [of people] To the mentor ”
The mentor was an American-made brig owned by British diplomat Thomas Bruce, a Scottish nobleman named the 7th Earl of Elgin. Elgin, as he knew, used a ship to bring to England the ancient relics he had collected while stationed in Constantinople as a British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, but the ship arrived on Kisera Island. There, passengers and crew scrambled the rocks, and the mentor immediately sank about 65 feet (20 meters) of seawater.
Elgin’s secretary, William Hamilton, then spent almost two years on Kisera Island, overseeing the rescue of sculptures by sponge divers paid to retrieve them from shipwrecks without diving equipment.
The sculpture was then shipped to England, and Elgin sold it to the British Museum in 1816.
Elgin claimed that he paid for the sculptures and that he had obtained a decree from the dominant Ottoman government to take them. However, according to the law, no evidence of the law has been found so far. British Commission for the Unification of Parthenon Marble,Nongovernmental organization.
When Greece regained its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1832, it launched a series of projects to recover the looted art, with Elgin Marbles at the top of the list. Since then, all successive Greek governments have demanded the return of sculptures. But so far, the British Museum has offered to rent it temporarily, but refused.
After the Greek government enacted legislation to protect shipwrecks and officially ordered state archaeologists to excavate shipwrecks, Kourkoumelis has led mentor diving expeditions to shipwrecks every summer since 2009. It was.
According to Kourkoumelis, the structure of the mentor is very different from the structure of similar ships built in the Mediterranean. “American ships were much more powerful because they were built to sail in the open ocean. It’s very interesting to work with such ships,” he said.
He said the wooden boats are now rotten under the waves for more than 200 years and can only be excavated for a few more years.
No more items have been found in the Elgin collection so far, but the wreck has for many years, including gold gems, ancient coins, and Greek pottery that probably came from some of the passengers’ personal collections when they sank. Has spawned numerous small objects over, he said.
Last year’s latest discoveries included two wooden chess pieces (another six pieces from the same set were discovered the previous year) and perhaps metal tokens or coins used in card games. I did.
Archaeologists plan to scientifically investigate all items, many of which Acropolis Kourkoumelis, a museum in Athens, said. About half of the remaining Parthenon sculptures are already on display at the museum, leaving space in case Elgin Marbles returns to Greece.
“We are unearthing a ship associated with one of the most painful episodes of Greece’s recent history,” said Kourkoumelis. “I think it’s very important to show that we’re not just looking for things, we’re working to protect everything involved.”
Originally published in Live Science.
Greek ships carrying part of the Parthenon are giving up more secrets
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