Investigation of the sea routes of the Saronic and Argolic Gulfs
HIMA conducted its first archaeological research in the Argolic Gulf in 1989 when it investigated the Early Bronze Age wreck at Dokos (2200 BC). Subsequently it carried out a thorough examination of the wreck at Iria Point (1200 BC).
Naturally HIMA is keen to devote as much energy as possible to exploring the marine archaeology of this historically important region. Its work has been greatly assisted by local communities as well as by the untiring support of Adonis Kyrou along with the other members of HIMAâ??s archaeological team.
In 2000 and 2003, following intensive surveys carried out at various locations in the Argolic Gulf, two wrecks dating from the early Byzantine period (6th-7th c. AD) were identified close to the islets of Korakia (Portoheli) and Vlychos (Hydra).
The ships were transporting spherical amphoras with Late Roman 2 markings, known to be of Aegean origin. Both wrecks have close parallels in contemporary wrecks discovered in the Argolic Gulf (Trikeri and Metochi) and off the coast of Turkey (Yassi Ada, 7th c. AD).
The location of both wrecks, coupled with other historical and archaeological evidence, indicates that the smaller islands of the Saronic avd Argolic Gulfs served as temporary anchorages or provisioning points for ships sailing in the area.
At the rocky islet of Modi (also known as Liondari) near Poros, archaeological excavations have revealed an important â??naval baseâ? of the late Mycenaean period (12th c. BC). A preliminary underwater survey carried out by HIMA in 2003 around the islet brought to light various finds (ceramic ware and stone anchors), mostly of the Late Bronze Age, including fragments of transport pithoi, probably deriving from the cargo of a wreck. These finds affirm the significance of this particular location for shipping during this period.
HIMAâ??s work in the Saronic and Argolic Gulfs has brought to light much new evidence regarding maritime activity and sea trade in the region, as well as in the Aegean in general, from the Bronze Age through to the early Byzantine era.
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