Mapping the world's oldest submerged town

Submerged city


By Kerri Smith - Nature News


Underwater archaeologist Jon Henderson is hoping to reveal the secrets of the ancient Greek town of Pavlopetri.

A few metres under the sea, near the town of Neapolis at the southern tip of Greece, lies Pavlopetri. Discovered and mapped in the 1960s, it will become the first underwater town to be digitally surveyed in three dimensions.

Nature News caught up with Jon Henderson, an underwater archaeologist at the University of Nottingham, UK, before the project began on 18 May.

What does Pavlopetri look like ? The site is submerged in about 3–4 metres of water, and covers an area of about 500 square metres, about 50-60 metres offshore.

There are about 15 buildings made up of three or four rooms, some streets, rock-cut tombs and courtyards — and there could be more underneath, because so far there has been no excavation.

Some ruins date from at least 2800 BC, but we think the town Pavlopetri itself dates from the Mycenaean period, about 1600–1100 BC.


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Pavlopetri southern Laconia Greece Final Neolithic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture The University of Nottingham