The 2004 Season also consisted of a two-week project
focused on the area off the Mt. Athos peninsula. The research was
conducted on the R/V Aegaeo of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research
(HCMR) using its Thetis submersible and Max Rover remote-operated
vehicle (ROV).The team examined sidescan sonar targets located during
the previous season with a main focus on conducting a comprehensive
survey around the southern capes and shorelines of Mt. Athos in order
to map all shipwrecks and collections of lost cargoes found in that
The ROV Max Rover covered approximately 150 kilometers
of seabed down to 600 meters depth using video imaging and sonar.
The Thetis submersible conducted daily dives to examine targets and
raise artifacts. Meanwhile, the R/V Aegaeo engaged in detailed bathymetric
surveys of the nearshore environs of Mt. Athos. Concurrent with the
archaeological search, data concerning the marine geology of the region
were collected and analyzed with respect to erosion, sedimentation
and ancient shorelines.
The discoveries included two groups of amphoras located
by the MaxRover at a depth of nearly 130 meters. Amphoras are two-handled
ceramic jars used in antiquity for transporting wine and other commodities.
One group consisted of seven amphoras, dating to the Classical period.
They were tentatively identified as products of ancient Mende, located
northwest of Mt. Athos. After being mapped, one of the jars was raised
to the surface by Thetis for identification and analysis by the Greek
Department of Underwater Antiquties. The second group of amphoras
was dated to the period of the Byzantine Empire and located at a slightly