A treasury of incredibly rare artifacts, pieces of bronze and marble statues and a mysterious have been found in the famous shipwreck of Antikythera Mechanism and recovered by archaeologists and divers.
Most spectacularly, it is suggested that a total of seven bronze statues are still waiting to be recovered form the bottom of the sea.
The latest expedition, led by the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, Lund University, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, was conducted between September 4 to 20, and as per previous trips to the wreck, the team did not leave disappointed.
With excellent weather conditions above them, the divers managed to recover an “orphaned” right arm of a bronze statue, pottery shards, nails, lead sheathing fragments, and an odd metal disc, among other artifacts.
“[Marine archaeologists] have found a very big treasure of statues of marble and bronze and other items,” said expedition co-leader Aggeliki Simossi.
According to Simossi, the first century B.C. merchant ship would have been bound for Rome, where wealthy members of Roman society decorated their villas with Grecian art. Large for its time, the ship measured roughly 130 feet long, meaning a large stash of artifacts was on board when it set sail for Italy.
Video taken during the excavation shows the archaeologists pulling a realistic sculpture fragment of an arm from the elbow to the fingers. The open tilt of some of the statues’ hands, with fingers seeming to gesture up and outward, suggest they were modeled after philosophers.
While the statues would likely have been considered high art in their day, perhaps the most intriguing artifact found is a small, bronze disk. Punctuated with holes and decorated with the image of a bull, it’s unclear what the disk was used for, said Simossi.
“It is maybe decoration for furniture or maybe a seal, or it could be an instrument,” she said. “It is very early to say.”
The team of archaeologists will continue studying the remains of this year’s haul, before returning to the shipwreck site in May of 2018 for more excavations.