If you’ve ever wanted to be an archaeologist, or if you’re fascinated with ancient culture, or even if you’re just a die-hard Game of Thrones fan, this video will surely captivate your interest. Off the coast of tiny Greek island Antikythera is a 2,000-year-old shipwreck that keeps yielding massive amounts of treasure. This mesmerizing video shows you a little glimpse into the life of an archaelogist, and offers a tiny bit of insight into the ancient Greek culture on which most Western society is founded.
The video shows just how painstaking and stressful it is to have an archaeological site underwater. Dust billows up from the sea floor, it’s difficult to maintain a position and breathe underwater, and communication is also difficult. That makes it even more impressive considering what these archaeologists, and others before them, have found at this goldmine of a site.
The site, which is about as big as a football field, was first discovered in 1900, and has since yielded some of the world’s most interesting and impressive artifacts, including some complicated mechanism that scientists have called the world’s first computer. The shipwreck site includes fine glassware, marble statues, ceramic jugs, and a bronze armrest that scientists think was once attached to a great bronze throne. Not exactly the Iron Throne, but still pretty impressive.
This time, over 50 new items were found and catalogued, as the video above shows. Brendan Foley, the co-director of the project and a marine archaeologist, is constantly surprised by the sheer amount of artifacts there are to be discovered at this site:
“Every single dive on the wreck delivers something interesting; something beautiful. It’s like a tractor-trailer truck wrecked on the way to Christie’s auction house for fine art—it’s just amazing.”
The site is found underneath a couple feet of sand, about 180 feet underwater. It took a team of 10 divers over 40 hours to complete the dig, which is “seemingly endless.” Famously, French diver Jacques Cousteau uncovered more than 100 items in 1976 when he visited the site.
Since then, no archaeologist returned to the site. Until now. With recent developments in diving and scientific equipment, the time was ripe to return to this endless trove of treasure.
Not only are scientists returning to the site to excavate more artifacts, but they’re also using detailed scientific techniques to reconstruct the history of the ship. They’re also operating under a tentative theory that there may have been two ships, not one, that shipwrecked off the coast.
The 21st-century team is using such advanced technology as autonomous robots to create precise maps of the site, which are accurate to within a tenth of an inch. Mapping out the site was imperative for diving and marking where discoveries were made. They even had waterproofed iPads that allowed them to map the site in real time, while they were down there among the fishes and the 2,000-year-old history.
It’s enough to make anyone want to become an archaeologist.
The team will return in 2016 to uncover even more treasures, and shed even more light on what was a vibrant and rich ancient culture.