Monday, August 09, 2004


Wanted - Persian fleet lost in 429 B.C. / Procura-se frota Persa perdida em 429 A.C.


O arqueólogo Shelley Waschmann, do INA e da Universidade Texas A&M, encerrou a campanha de duas semanas de prospecções com ROV e submarino no Mar Egeu, perto do Monte Athos, no local onde Heródoto relata que se perdeu uma frota Persa de 300 navios durante uma tempestade .

Um dos objectivos da expedição era encontrar vestígios de trirremes que se perderam no desastre.

Leiam a notícia:

Seein' the Aegean
Researchers discover ancient fleet in expedition

By Andrew Burleson

In June, a multinational expedition, led in part by Shelley Wachsmann of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M, finished a two-week survey of the seas near the Mount Athos Peninsula in Greece.

The expedition conducts surveys in the Aegean Sea annually. The researchers were searching for the wreckage of an ancient Persian fleet, which sank in that area about 429 B.C. According to the writings of Herodotus, nearly 300 ships and 20,000 soldiers perished in a storm. Wachsmann said the goal of the Persian War Shipwreck Survey is to locate remains of ships that sank in Greek waters during the period of conflict between the Persian Empire and the city-states of Greece in the fifth century B.C.

Among the naval disasters that occurred during this war were losses of fleets due to storms and battles at sea."We are taking Herodotus at his word and are trying to locate remains of fleets of great historical and archaeological significance. Ideally, we would like to find remains of one, or more, triremes (oared ships with three banks of rowers on each side).

No triremes have ever been found to date," Wachsmann said.The 2004 expedition was conducted from May 28 to June 10th. During this time the researchers traveled into the sea aboard the R/V Aegeo of the Hellenic Center for Marine Research, and deployed its Thetis submarine and Max Rover. The Max Rover covered approximately 150 kilometers of seabed down to 600 meters depth using video imaging and sonar, while the Thetis submarine conducted daily dives to examine targets and raise artifacts, Wachsmann said.

The expedition made several discoveries, locating ceramic containers dating back to the Greek classical period and to the Byzantine Empire.The researchers also uncovered more recent cargo, including a collection of salt-glazed pottery that likely dates back to the eighteenth or nineteenth century, Wachsmann said."The most interesting artifact was a 'sauroter,' which is a pyramidal-shaped bronze butt-spike of a Greek infantryman's (hoplite's) spear. This was made of bronze so that when stuck in the ground it would not rust. The spearhead was made of iron and leaf shaped. We found the suaroter inside a jar at a depth of about 100 meters, in an area where previously local fishermen had brought up two Classical period bronze helmets," Wachsmann said.

Wachsmann's study is one of many conducted by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology every year, said Donny Hamilton, president of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology. The Institute of Nautical Archaeology is a private non-profit entity, not part of the A&M System; however, the two work closely together with A&M providing facilities and the INA providing research, Hamilton said."The INA is the most renowned of all entities that conducts nautical archaeology, we do more research than anyone else in the field," Hamilton said, "really this is the center of the world of nautical archaeology."

As an additional benefit to the A&M campus, all the excavators in the Institute, including Wachsmann, teach in the anthropology department at A&M. Junior biology major and history enthusiast Faegen Lee is excited about the implications of the institute's research, "I think the INA is a great organization in that it allows us to understand ourselves by looking at history from another perspective," Lee said The Aegean expedition will renew its study next year.

For 2005, the team plans to widen its search to include sites from a Persian invasion of Greece in 480 B.C.

The Max Rover is being lowered into the Aegean Sea
from the R/V Aegeo of the Hellenic Center for Marine
Research. The rover covered 150 kilometers of seabed
to a depth of 600 meters during the research expedition.

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