A few weeks ago, archeologists associated with the project announced the Antikythera dive was sure to pay off--and it has. In the ongoing saga of the new dive down to the Antikythera wreck, the first finds are in, and they are very promising.

Stunning news finds from Antikythera
WHOI Diving Safety Officer Edward O'Brien "spacewalks" in the Exosuit, suspended
from the Hellenic Navy vessel THETIS during the 2014 Return to Antikythera project
[Credit: Brett Seymour, Copyright: Return to Antikythera 2014]

During the first excavation season, from September 15 to October 7, 2014, the researchers have created a high-resolution, 3D map of the site using stereo cameras mounted on an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). Divers then recovered a series of finds which prove that much of the ship's cargo is indeed still preserved beneath the sediment.

Components of the ship, including multiple lead anchors over a metre long and a bronze rigging ring with fragments of wood still attached, prove that much of the ship survives. The finds are also scattered over a much larger area than the sponge divers realized, covering 300 meters of the seafloor. This together with the huge size of the anchors and recovered hull planks proves that the Antikythera ship was much larger than previously thought, perhaps up to 50 meters long. Brendan Foley of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution:

"The evidence shows this is the largest ancient shipwreck ever discovered. It's the Titanic of the ancient world."

The archaeologists also recovered a beautiful intact table jug, part of an ornate bed leg, and most impressive of all, a 2-meter-long bronze spear buried just beneath the surface of the sand. Too large and heavy to have been used as a weapon, it must have belonged to a giant statue, perhaps a warrior or the goddess Athena, says Foley. In 1901, four giant marble horses were discovered on the wreck by the sponge divers, so these could have formed part of a complex of statues involving a warrior in a chariot that was pulled by the four horses.

The archaeologists plan to return next year to excavate the site further and recover more of the ship's precious cargo. The finds, particularly the bronze spear, are very promising, according to the researchers, and they are sure there are still many secrets to uncover.