Foto: Buzos de distintos países están trabajando en el estudio de Pavlopetri.

Hace cuatro décadas, cuando fue descubierta, Pavlopetri, en Grecia, fue calificada como la ciudad submarina más antigua del planeta. Ahora, nuevos estudios científicos insinúan que podría ser incluso un milenio más vieja de lo que originalmente se pensó.

Vía: BBC Mundo, 17 de octubre de 2009

Usando mapas sonoros -similares a los que utilizan la industria militar y la petrolera-, arqueólogos británicos que están apoyando al gobierno griego a desenterrar los secretos de Pavlopetri han hallado cerámicas que sugieren que el sitio fue construido hace 5.000 años y no 4.000, como se decía.

"Es un hallazgo único en el sentido de que hemos encontrado en el lecho marino una ciudad casi completa, con calles, edificios, jardines, tumbas y lo que parece un complejo religioso", aseguró Jon Henderson de la Universidad de Nottigham.

Según Henderson, el estudio del lugar permitirá además establecer cómo era manejado el comercio marítimo en la Edad de Bronce.

Monumento congelado

Desde que fue descubierta en 1967, la historia y el desarrollo de Pavlopetri han fascinado a los científicos.

"Es un lugar muy significativo debido a que, por estar debajo del agua, nunca fue reocupado y, por lo tanto, representa un momento congelado del pasado", asegura Elias Spondylis, del Ministerio de Cultura de Grecia.

Pero pese a su interés, la falta de financiamiento había frenado una investigación detallada del sitio.

Este año, sin embargo, se inició un proyecto que permitirá que un equipo multinacional dedique sus esfuerzos a estudiar Pavlopetri durante el próximo quinquenio.

Se espera que los resultados de su trabajo sean publicados en 2014.





World's Oldest Submerged Town Dates Back 5,000 Years

Foto: Archaeologists surveying the world's oldest submerged town have discovered that Pavlopetri, off the southern Laconia coast of Greece, was occupied some 5,000 years ago -- at least 1,200 years earlier than originally thought. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Nottingham)
World's Oldest Submerged Town Dates Back 5,000 Years

Fuente: ScienceDaily (Oct. 16, 2009)

Archaeologists surveying the world’s oldest submerged town have found ceramics dating back to the Final Neolithic. Their discovery suggests that Pavlopetri, off the southern Laconia coast of Greece, was occupied some 5,000 years ago — at least 1,200 years earlier than originally thought.

These remarkable findings have been made public by the Greek government after the start of a five year collaborative project involving the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and The University of Nottingham.

As a Mycenaean town the site offers potential new insights into the workings of Mycenaean society. Pavlopetri has added importance as it was a maritime settlement from which the inhabitants coordinated local and long distance trade.

The Pavlopetri Underwater Archaeology Project aims to establish exactly when the site was occupied, what it was used for and through a systematic study of the geomorphology of the area, how the town became submerged.

This summer the team carried out a detailed digital underwater survey and study of the structural remains, which until this year were thought to belong to the Mycenaean period — around 1600 to 1000 BC. The survey surpassed all their expectations. Their investigations revealed another 150 square metres of new buildings as well as ceramics that suggest the site was occupied throughout the Bronze Age — from at least 2800 BC to 1100 BC.

The work is being carried out by a multidisciplinary team led by Mr Elias Spondylis, Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture in Greece and Dr Jon Henderson, an underwater archaeologist from the Department of Archaeology at The University of Nottingham.

Dr Jon Henderson said: “This site is unique in that we have almost the complete town plan, the main streets and domestic buildings, courtyards, rock-cut tombs and what appear to be religious buildings, clearly visible on the seabed. Equally as a harbour settlement, the study of the archaeological material we have recovered will be extremely important in terms of revealing how maritime trade was conducted and managed in the Bronze Age.”

Possibly one of the most important discoveries has been the identification of what could be a megaron — a large rectangular great hall — from the Early Bronze Age period. They have also found over 150 metres of new buildings including what could be the first example of a pillar crypt ever discovered on the Greek mainland. Two new stone built cist graves were also discovered alongside what appears to be a Middle Bronze Age pithos burial.

Mr Spondylis said: “It is a rare find and it is significant because as a submerged site it was never re-occupied and therefore represents a frozen moment of the past.”

The Archaeological Co-ordinator Dr Chrysanthi Gallou a postdoctoral research fellow at The University of Nottingham is an expert in Aegean Prehistory and the archaeology of Laconia.

Dr Gallou said: “The new ceramic finds form a complete and exceptional corpus of pottery covering all sub-phases from the Final Neolithic period (mid 4th millennium BC) to the end of the Late Bronze Age (1100 BC). In addition, the interest from the local community in Laconia has been fantastic. The investigation at Pavlopetri offers a great opportunity for them to be actively involved in the preservation and management of the site, and subsequently for the cultural and touristic development of the wider region.”

The team was joined by Dr Nicholas Flemming, a marine geo-archaeologist from the Institute of Oceanography at the University of Southampton, who discovered the site in 1967 and returned the following year with a team from Cambridge University to carry out the first ever survey of the submerged town. Using just snorkels and tape measures they produced a detail plan of the prehistoric town which consisted of at least 15 separate buildings, courtyards, streets, two chamber tombs and at least 37 cist graves. Despite the potential international importance of Pavlopetri no further work was carried out at the site until this year.

This year, through a British School of Archaeology in Athens permit, The Pavlopetri Underwater Archaeology Project began its five year study of the site with the aim of defining the history and development of Pavlopetri.

Four more fieldwork seasons are planned before their research is published in full in 2014.

To see the expedition for yourself, watch the video podcast on YouTube — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kepaQu4uerg

And on the University's Podcast website — http://communications.nottingham.ac.uk/podcasts.html.

Adapted from materials provided by © University of Nottingham.

Race to preserve the world's oldest submerged town - Part 1



Part 1 - Getting started. In this video join Underwater Archaeologist Dr Jon Henderson, as he embarks on a race to save an ancient submerged Greek town.

Dr Henderson talks you through the plans to conduct groundbreaking underwater archaeological research to properly survey the town of Pavlopetri, off the coast of Laconia.

The town is believed to date back to at least 2,800BC.

You can also join Dr Henderson beneath the waves in Part 2 of this video.


Race to preserve the world's oldest submerged town - Part 2



Underwater archaeologists surveying the worlds oldest submerged town have found ceramics dating back to the early Bronze Age. This suggests that Pavlopetri, off the southern Laconia coast of Greece, was occupied some 5000 years ago making the site even more important than first thought.

The Pavlopetri Underwater Archaeology Project, involving the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and The University of Nottingham, aims to establish when the site was occupied, what it was used for and through a systematic study of the geomorphology of the area, how the town became submerged.

Dr Jon Henderson, from the Department of Archaeology, takes up the story.

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