Underwater excavation of 16th-century Spanish
shipwreck off Zakynthos completed for this year
The systematic underwater excavation of a 16th-century
Spanish shipwreck off the Ionian island of Zakynthos -
conducted by the General Directorate of Antiquities & Cultural
Heritage under the supervision of archeologist Katerina
Dellaporta, head of the 2nd Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities -
was completed in early October for this year.
An announcement by the ministry of culture noted on Monday
that this year's excavations showed that the ship's hull is
preserved to a considerable degree, allowing archaeologists to
study 15th- and 16th-century shipbuilding techniques.
The ship dates back to the era shortly after the Nafpaktos Naval
Battle and based on the silver coins and the engraved handle of
a weapon with a cross that have been recovered, is the only
shipwreck of the period of the Spanish domination of the seas
under Philip II that has been discovered in Greek territorial
The culture ministry announcement noted that findings include
shipbuilding structural elements and ship equipment used by
seamen in their daily lives, while the large quantity of hazelnuts
found scattered at the bottom of the sea as part of the ship's
cargo is preserved in an excellent condition.
The ship's wooden hull is preserved to a considerable degree,
which is rare considering the Mediterranean ecosystem, and is
protected in situ covered by an erosion control blanket.
Also, a three dimensional prototype profiling method for a 3D
reflection of the sea bottom has been applied on the shipwreck
on a trial basis.
The underwater excavation was conducted from mid-
September to October 6 and financed by the Piraeus Port
Authority, with the technical support of the Zakynthos
Coastguard and the contribution of City of Piraeus and Piraeus