London: An international team of divers and archaeologists has retrieved stunning new finds from an ancient Greek ship that sank more than 2,000 years ago off the remote Greek island of Antikythera.
The rescued antiquities include tableware, ship components and a giant bronze spear that would have belonged to a life-sized warrior statue.
“The evidence shows this is the largest ancient shipwreck ever discovered. It is the Titanic of the ancient world,” said Brendan Foley from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the US.
During the excavation, researchers created a high-resolution 3D map of the site using stereo cameras mounted on an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).
Divers then recovered a series of finds which prove that much of the ship's cargo is indeed still preserved beneath the sediment.
“Components of the ship, including multiple lead anchors over a metre long and a bronze rigging ring with fragments of wood still attached, prove that much of the ship survives,” Foley added.
The archaeologists also recovered a beautiful intact table jug, part of an ornate bed leg, and a two-metre-long bronze spear buried just beneath the surface of the sand.
The Antikythera wreck was first discovered in 1900 by sponge divers who were blown off course by a storm. But they were forced to end their mission after one diver died and two were paralysed.
Ever since, archaeologists have wondered if more treasure remains buried beneath the sea bed.
The shipwreck is thought to have been carrying a luxury cargo of Greek treasures from the coast of Asia Minor west to Rome.