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Excavating the wreck of the Mentor – Lord Elgin’s ship that carried the Parthenon Marbles

Excavations of Lord Elgin’s Ship, the Mentor, which was wrecked of Kythera, have continued this year, following on from the successful work that was done last summer [1].

The article below is a computer translation. If you follow the link at the start, you can read the original Greek version.

Ta Nea [2]

Under the microscope the wreck of archaeologists carrying the sculptures in England
Published: Friday, July 13, 2012
Last update: 07.13.2012 14:29

The hull of the ship that transported the sculptures in England and sank southwest of Kythira, in 1802, excavations revealed the Inspectorate of Underwater Antiquities. We also found dozens of items crew with great historical value.

The ship “MENTOR” was sunk in September 1802 at the entrance of the port of Avlaimona. This ship is always the motivation of the research on the possible discovery of other sculptures in the sand. The underwater survey lasted 17 days.

This year’s excavations focused both in the stern, where the 2009 and 2011, had identified several items of crew and passengers of the ship, and the revelation and the cleansing section of the hull of the ship seemed to be still preserved in several good condition.

It was discovered in the hull length of about 10 meters towards the bow section and found to have broken the rocks at the bottom of the sinking ship.

Also during cleaning found at various points around the hull findings are mainly personal belongings of the crew or the passengers, having found many buttons uniforms and clothing, but other findings such as bottles and an hourglass.

During the survey found many interesting items such as navigation equipment, a sailor diabetes (KOUMBAS) glass cartridges, ink cartridges Portable, a portable clock, and an extra gun (the third overall with two others during the investigation anelkythikan of 2011 ), a stone seal depicting a firearm, a gold chain and various decorative objects.

Also found two gold coins (one of 1788 has been identified as Dutch), three silvers, the modern period the ship was wrecked and two ancient silver coins (one an Athenian and Boeotian, the latter appears to have been used as jewelry, as bring sunlit hole).

After completing the excavation, the wooden hull of the ship, to protect, was covered with a special geotextile.

The survey results, bring more than historical and archaeological interest in the shipwreck, as some of the items have been recovered can be confused with real people on board the ship and which are probably related to the case of removal of the Parthenon .

Of particular interest also is the fact of maintaining a substantial part of the hull of the ship, whose study may contribute to a better understanding of the construction of merchant ships in the period.

The research team conducted the Inspectorate of Underwater Antiquities, scientific director with archaeologist Dr. submerged. D. Kourkoumelis and dive staff Mersenie Jean Louis, a master craftsman, Manolis Tzefroni, diver, Themistocles Troupaki, technology – and engineer Peter Tsampourakis, craftsmen and assistance of the Australian Institute ┬źKytherian Research Group┬╗.

The survey was conducted with funding the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.