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Most ancient city in the world covered by the sea

27 October 2009 / 11:10:11  GRReporter
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No one can say what exactly happened 5000 years ago and waves were “forced” to go to the shore, in order to cover the port, streets and buildings of the city on Pavlopetri Island. Greek and British scientists are trying to find the secret of the most ancient sunk city in the world in Pavlopetri, Lakonya region on Peloponnese.

The ferry traveling from Punta to Elafonisos sails over the sunk city – this is where the small Pavlopetri Island is situated. The city, which flourished during the Neolithic era lies at dept less than 5 meters and is few square kilometers big. When you dive, you can distinguish the places, where ones upon a time there were buildings, streets, the main street of the city – you can even see the basis of a 35 meters long building. Its size and details reveal that it was a palace.

The spread remains covered by the sea sand were first discovered in 1969 by geologist-oceanology expert Nicolas Fleming from the National Oceanological Center in Southampton. Back then, he assumed that the ancient city has sunk around 1500 BCE but the latest researches by the Underwater Archeology Services show that the city goes further back in history. The research was led by archeologist Ilya Spondilis in cooperation with the British school in Athens and Prof. Ion Henderson from Nottingham University. Pavlopetri existed in 3000 BCE and it was an important port during this era and was probably key trade center, reports Ta Nea newspaper.

“We have already started taking out the sediment from the bottom and we will find objects used by people during their everyday lives and we will see that they date from 5000 ago. It is very likely that organic materials are preserved – like wooden objects and food - because the city is under water,” notes Prof. Henderson.

It seems that something unexpected happened at the south end of Peloponnese and the city Pavlopetri had started sinking. “We can guess that a part of it was covered under the sea, when the level increased with about one meter,” says for Ta Nea Dr. Nicolas Fleming.

“During that era the level of the sea was lower than it is now. It could have been even four meters lower than now,” says Dimitris Sakelariou, leader of the research in the field of sea geology and geophysics in the Greek Underwater Research Center. “It is very likely that at the beginning the city started sinking during an earthquake.”

There is also another hypothesis that the city went through two strong hits. Scientists suppose that it became victim of an earthquake and of a tsunami in the Aegean Sea. But the tsunami did not sink the city…it probably caused great damages to the buildings in Pavlopetri. “Certainly this is a very rare discovery,” noted archeologist Ilyas Spondilis. “The important thing is that after the city sunk, it could have not been populated again and it remained under water. This is how it became a living fossil of the past.”  

Tags: Underwater city Ancient city remains History Greece
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