Oldest Submerged Town

It may be submerged but it also looks as if the stonework will be well preserved. Presumably it fell victim to an earth quake that induced sudden subsidence. Otherwise, stonework would have been salvaged and cycled into other higher structures. Alternatively the population was wiped out and slow subsidence did its job. That is simply too unlikely.

In the event, this was an important center to be built out as described. I only hope no one tries to claim it was Atlantis.

I cannot help but think that we live today in a true archeological golden age. Plenty of manpower is out there doing the digging and we are slowly grasping the size of the task.

An ounce of critical thinking tells us that the Bronze Age world was fully occupied by palace centered pocket sized principalities similar to the medieval world but possibly more so. There were thousands of jumped up chieftains controlling access to metal. I am sure most of the palaces were large wooden barns accommodating a large fighting band.

Our written knowledge comes from the most successful societies that were able to organize a somewhat larger polity. A reading of Kings from the bible does not give you much sense that anyone was maintaining an excessive number of retainers. In fact it all gets way too small time tribal. It is only in the highly celebrated times of optimum success that any sense of a larger state arises.

It appears the riverine states developed the necessary scale we associate with large polities and that was surely possible because of river transportation. Walk twenty miles inland and you confronted a walled city while your food supplies were dwindling.

Thus all these thousands of walled cities were quite safe if they were well back from water borne supply. The advent of horse haulage changed all that.

Race to preserve the world's oldest submerged town
May 11th, 2009


(PhysOrg.com) -- The oldest submerged town in the world is about to give up its secrets — with the help of equipment that could revolutionise underwater archaeology.

The ancient town of Pavlopetri lies in three to four metres of water just off the coast of southern Laconia in Greece. The ruins date from at least 2800 BC through to intact buildings, courtyards, streets, chamber tombs and some thirty-seven cist graves which are thought to belong to the Mycenaean period (c.1680-1180 BC). This Bronze Age phase of Greece provides the historical setting for much Ancient Greek literature and myth, including Homer's Age of Heroes.

Underwater archaeologist Dr Jon Henderson, from The University of Nottingham, will be the first archaeologist to have official access to the site in 40 years. Despite its potential international importance no work has been carried out at the site since it was first mapped in 1968 and Dr Henderson has had to get special permission from the Greek government to examine the submerged town.

Although Mycenaean power was largely based on their control of the sea, little is known about the workings of the harbour towns of the period as archaeology to date has focused on the better known inland palaces and citadels. Pavlopetri was presumably once a thriving harbour town where the inhabitants conducted local and long distance trade throughout the Mediterranean — its sandy and well-protected bay would have been ideal for beaching Bronze Age ships. As such the site offers major new insights into the workings of Mycenaean society.

The aim of Dr Henderson's project is to discover the history and development of Pavlopetri, find out when it was occupied, what it was used for and through a systematic study of the geomorphology of the area establish why the town disappeared under the sea.

Dr Henderson, from the Underwater Archaeology Research Centre (UARC) in the Department of Archaeology, said: “This site is of rare international archaeological importance. It is imperative that the fragile remains of this town are accurately recorded and preserved before they are lost forever. A fundamental aim of the project is to raise awareness of the importance of the site and ensure that it is ethically managed and presented to the public in a way which is sustainable and of benefit to both the development of tourism and the local community.”

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