The results of submarine excavation work by the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities are always impressive. Shipwrecks and sunken settlements scattered around Greece’s seas provide us with major finds which reveal secrets, confirm theories and enrich our knowledge.
Before the treasures of the Greek seabed can go on display for all to see, however, there is plenty for the department’s conservators to do. This painstaking work is now easier thanks to a donation by the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation. The ephorate’s new, state-of-the-art facility is located in the city center, on the corner of Propylaion and Kallisperi streets.
“Up to now, our labs also acted as storage areas. Given new research work, which leads to new findings, it was hard to work,” the department’s director Angeliki Simosi told Kathimerini. “We have a building which belongs to the Culture Ministry, which for years we kept trying to transform into a lab. We used a little bit of money we got from the ministry every year to do some work.
"With the aid of the Laskaridis Foundation, though, we have managed to develop a lab on a par with well-organized labs abroad. We have more desalination tanks for finds from Antikythera, Fournoi, Delos and Lambayianna in Argolida and other parts of Greece. We are now operating more comfortably and productively,” she added.
Those primarily enjoying and benefiting from the new facilities are the conservators themselves. “Our job has become easier, more productive and of higher quality,” noted Chryssa Fouseki, senior supervisor of the conservation department, who cited proper lighting among other improvements.
The department is soon expecting new finds from the islands of Fournoi, Delos and Antikythera. “The Antikythera team is already on the island,” said Simosi. “They will conduct two trial dives and resume research from where they left off.”
About 60 finds were discovered 55 meters below sea level earlier this summer.
Among them was a copper spear (following the discovery of another in 2014), fragments of marble statues and pottery, a pitcher and a gold ring, among others.
“The excavation will continue where the second spear was found, to see what else is there in that particular section,” said Simosi. “New findings will emerge.”