The Mazotos shipwreck six years on

2014.04.17 07:39

In the framework of the Cyprus Seminar Stella Demesticha (Assistant Professor of Maritime Archaeology, University of Cyprus) gave a lecture entitled “‘…ship sank, everything lost…’. Six years of underwater excavations at the Mazotos shipwreck”.

Photomosaic of the wreck and its cargo [Credit: Bruce Hartzler/University of Cyprus, Archaeological Research Unit/Stella Demesticha]; (Below) Three-dimensional reconstruction of the wreck [Credit:i Vlachaki and Markos Garras/University of Cyprus, Archaeological Research Unit/Stella Demesticha]


Since 2007, the University of Cyprus has been conducting excavations on a 4th century BC shipwreck, located off the coast of Mazotos village at the Larnaca District. The shipwreck was found in 2006, almost undisturbed, at a depth of 45 metres. The main cargo of the ship was wine transported in Chian amphorae but there is secure evidence that secondary cargoes were also carried in its hold. Despite the early stage of investigation, important finds related to the ship’s size and gear have come to light, including the lead stocks of three wooden anchors and parts of the keel in the bow and stern area. Moreover, interesting research questions have arisen concerning seaborne trade between the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean, as the Mazotos ship carried a homogeneous Aegean cargo of amphorae which are not very commonly found on Cyprus. Another important aspect of the project is the application of digital photogrammetry and 3D visual techniques for the mapping and documentation of the excavation. This method opens new paths for the analysis of shipwrecks, since it minimizes the inevitable distance between the maritime archaeologist and the underwater excavation site, especially in deep waters. Having a detailed 3D model of the site on the computer screen, the Mazotos Project research team can investigate ways to reconstruct the ancient ship, through the detailed study of stratigraphy and the specific location of the finds. In this lecture the results of the Mazotos Project research team’s work so far were presented in their archaeological context, and with respect to other shipwrecks of the same period in the Aegean, Cyprus and the rest of the eastern Mediterranean. Reference were also be made to seafaring conditions, giving emphasis to the complexity of commercial mechanisms and seaborne trade in antiquity.

Source: Archaiologia Online [08-04-2014]

 

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