From 1993 to 2004 HIMA carried out a marine archaeological survey of the southeast coastline of the island of Kythera, under the supervision of Dimitris Kourkoumelis. Close to the north coast of the islet of Antidragonera the team identified an impressive group of nine stone wedge-shaped anchors similar to those found in Zea port in Piraeus and the 4th-c. BC wrecks of La Madonnina in the Bay of Taranto, and Ognina 4 in Sicily.
The excavation of the wreck began in 1994 and was completed in 2000. The stone anchors consisted of two groups. The first group lay at the head of the bay on the north side of the islet, at a fairly shallow depth of 9 meters, and included four anchors, the smaller of the two groups. These anchors were probably used by crews to secure the shipsâ€™ anchorage at the head of the bay. The second group included another five anchors, larger in size than the first group, 150 meters from the first group, towards the northeast headland of the islet. Four of these five anchors were recovered by the excavation team.
The excavation and investigation of the site below the anchors revealed finds that indicated that a ship sank at this spot. However, the ceramic ware recovered from the site does not appear to belong to the main cargo of the wreck. It includes utilitarian pottery, such as oil lamps, plates, saltcellars, fragments of transport amphoras and of at least one pithos. The team also found pestles and part of a bronze handle from a cauldron. All of these objects probably belonged to the shipâ€™s crew. What is more, a number of lead objects were found, whose use has not yet been fully explained, though they probably comprised part of the shipâ€™s rigging. Three bronze nails may have belonged to the hull. The bulk of the cargo was probably perishable (for instance, grain). The finds suggest that the wreck dates to the late 4th c. BC. The material is still being studied, though it seems safe to say that stone anchors were being used by merchant vessels of the time.
The stone anchors recovered from the islet of Antidragonera are today on display in the Kythera Museum.
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