Zakynthos Spanish wreck excavations end for season

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The systematic underwater excavation conducted by the General Directorate of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage of a 16th century Spanish wreck off the coast of Zakynthos was completed on October 6.

Zakynthos Spanish shipwreck excavations end for season
Archaeologists stayed on Zakynthos for almost a month and were pleased to find that
 the hull was well-preserved giving people a better understanding of shipping during
the 15th-16th century [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]

This year’s excavation focused on the central section of the ship, at its widest point. The bracing of the east and west sides, the keelson, and the part of the mid-deck were uncovered. The ship’s frame survives to a large extent allowing the study of the transition of shipbuilding techniques during the 15th and 16th centuries.

The ship dates a little after the battle of Lepanto (Naupaktos) and is the only remaining shipwreck found in Greek waters of the Spanish navy from the reign of Philip II of Spain, as evidenced by the silver coins found on board and also the initials engraved on a handle of a pistol.

Zakynthos Spanish shipwreck excavations end for season
Findings from the wreck include structural elements and ship
equipment used by

 seamen in their daily lives [Credit: Greek Ministry of
Culture]

Apart from the structural elements of the ship (keel, skeleton, braces, etc) the rest of the findings are pieces of the ship’s equipment, as well as everyday objects like plates and chinaware, and a great number of hazelnuts that are still remarkably preserved.

Given that the lifting, maintenance and exhibition of wooden shipwrecks are not always financially feasible, UNESCO has requested the ‘in situ’ protection and management of shipwrecks.

A pilot method of 3D profiling for a 3D rendering of the seabed was also applied to the wreck.

Source: Greek Ministry of Culture [October 20, 2014]

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