A Roman-era freighter, discovered more than 120 years ago off the Greek island of Antikythera and considered the world’s richest ancient shipwreck, has yielded even more treasure in its most recent explorations. Underwater archaeologists discovered the head of a 2,000-year-old statue of Hercules, as well as other artifacts such as human teeth.
According to the guardProfessor Lorenz Baumer, the classical archaeologist who oversees the underwater mission with the University of Geneva, said: “In 1900, [sponge divers] drew the statue of Hercules [from the sea] and now we’ve probably found his head.”
Mr Baumer added: “It is a very impressive piece of marble.” He went on to describe the features of the statue which bore all the hallmarks of one of the great heroic figures of Greek and Roman mythology. “He is twice life size, has a big beard, a very special face and short hair. There is no doubt that it is Hercules,” Baumer said, according to the outlet.
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The discovery of the sculpture, along with the plinth of another marble statue, human teeth and parts of the ship’s equipment, was made possible by the removal of three boulders that had partially covered the wreck at the bottom of the seabed. For nearly three weeks, the research team of marine archaeologists and specially trained divers had access to an area that had never been explored before.
the guard reported that two teeth were embedded in encrusted marine deposits that occurred on the shipwreck. Now researchers believe the genetic and isotope analysis of the remains could be groundbreaking by shedding light on the people who sailed the ship.
Several expeditions had also previously explored the wreck. Most famous among the 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 and has been described by scientists as ‘ the world’s first analog computer.
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According to news weekthe latter mission was the second in a five-year research program by the Greek Ephorate of Marine Antiquities, which will run until 2025.