Researchers locate ‘lost’ Greek town

March 15th, 2008 - 4:47 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, March 15 (IANS) Along an isolated, rocky stretch of the Greek shoreline, researchers are unlocking the secrets of a partially submerged “lost” harbour town, possibly built by the ancient Mycenaeans nearly 3,500 years ago. The settlement, referred to as Korphos-Kalamianos, rests on the shores of the Saronic Gulf in the western Aegean Sea about 60 miles to the southwest of the Greek capital, Athens, reports ScienceDaily.

“This is really a remarkable find,” said Daniel J. Pullen of Florida State University. “It is rare indeed to locate an entire town built during the Late Bronze Age that shows this level of preservation.”

Pullen and colleague Thomas F. Tartaron of the University of Pennsylvania led students from both universities in conducting an initial study of the site during May and June 2007.

What they found was unique: an archaeological site that required very little digging.

“Because of soil erosion and tectonic subsidence”, the latter induced by earthquakes along the numerous local faults, “much of the soil had already been stripped from the site”, said Pullen. “So the architectural remains of about 20 acres of closely built structures were plainly visible.”

Although more than three millennia of earthquakes and other factors have caused the structures to collapse, what remains are the buildings’ foundations, walls that in some places still stand nearly five-foot tall, and a number of clues as to the settlement’s construction and purpose.

“All the structures were laid out in a grid pattern, which suggests that the entire community was planned and then built all at once, rather than piecemeal,” said Pullen. “This would indicate that the settlement was built with some strategic purpose - perhaps as a military or naval outpost.”

“We have identified some fortification walls with gates on the inland side of Korphos-Kalamianos, which does suggest that the town had at least some role as a fortress, possibly to protect the harbour,” said Pullen.

Pullen and Tartaron named their three-year undertaking the Saronic Harbours Archaeological Research Project, or SHARP, and shared their initial findings at a meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Chicago.

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