Update: 2016 Fourni Survey Team Locates 23 Ancient Shipwrecks




John Stella returned to the Fourni Islands for the 2016 underwater archaeological survey.

In the Q1 Winter 2016 issue of Alert Diver, John Stella wrote about diving with a team of Greek underwater archaeologists to conduct an underwater wreck survey ("Twenty-Two Ancient Shipwrecks Found in Greece") in the Fourni Islands in the eastern Aegean Sea. In that 11-day September 2015 survey, they discovered 22 ancient shipwrecks dating from the 6th century BCE to the 18th century CE.

Stella and a team of divers, archaeologists and artifact conservators returned to the Fourni Islands in June 2016 for a 22-day survey, in which they discovered another 23 ancient shipwrecks dating from 525 BCE to the early 1800s. These 45 wreck sites at Fourni account for 20 percent of all known shipwrecks in Greek waters.


These Samian amphorae date to between 525 BCE and 480 BCE. Photograph by Vasilis Mentogianis
Among the artifacts found are amphorae (clay storage jars that were typically used to hold wine and olive oil, among other things), cooking pots, plates, bowls and lamps. Identified by style and elements in the clay, the recovered amphorae originally came from Asia Minor, mainland Greece, Rome, Spain, Cyprus, Egypt, Samos and North Africa.

The Fourni underwater survey was led by George Koutsouflakis,Ph.D., of the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and Peter Campbell of the RPM Nautical Foundation.

For more details about the 2016 Fourni survey, see the National Geographic report.