'Titanic of Ancient World' Gives Up New Riches

Diver: 'This is the largest ancient shipwreck ever discovered'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2014 8:32 AM CDT
Updated Oct 12, 2014 7:02 AM CDT

As wrecks go, the one that gave up the 2,000-year-old Antikythera mechanism has long been considered a remarkable one. Even more so now: Archaeologists finished a three-week underwater excavation at the site off the coast of Antikythera in southern Greece on Tuesday and discovered that the ship was much longer than believed. "It's the Titanic of the ancient world," Brendan Foley of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution explains in a press release. Researchers came to their conclusion after discovering the ship's remnants are strewn over 1,000 feet of seafloor, recovering some hull planks, and measuring a number of lead anchors at more than 3 feet long. The ship itself may have been as long as roughly 160 feet.

Also among the "stunning" new finds: a bronze spear measuring 6.5 feet. Due to its size and heft, Foley suspects it wasn't used as a weapon but instead was part of a statue. Four huge marble horses were uncovered by sponge divers in 1901, and Foley suggests what could have been: a warrior, spear in hand, in a chariot pulled by the horses. The team calls the finds "very promising" and plans to return to the site next year—Foley recently told the BBC that he hopes to find more pieces of the Antikythera mechanism there. The BBC adds an intriguing bit of speculation: that the wreck, dating from 70BC to 60BC, was carrying a would-be bride and her dowry from Asia Minor to Rome. (It's been a banner week for shipwrecks, with Canada finally identifying the wreck it most hoped to find.)

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