D&D II -Takeaway Choices of the Ancient Greeks - Shipwrecks (Mazotos and Kyrenia)

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In this episode, we explore two 4th Century BC shipwrecks off the coast of Cyprus.  Both ships were carrying a cargo of wine, and both provide unique insights into the lives of the people who sailed them. 

This episode starts with a wonderful account by Stella Demesticha, from the University of Cyprus describing her first dive on the Mazotos wreck.  As she descended the 45 metres to the wreck, she speaks of seeing the mound of hundreds of amphorae appear beneath her. 

Amphorae were ancient vessels used to transport goods, in this case, wine, and the Mazotos wreck contained hundreds of them. This site has been rich in finds and  Stella and her colleague Eleni Loizides talk to Bettany in the conservation laboratories and show her a container of olive stones. These were believed to be snacks for the ship’s crew –  a sort of ancient lunchbox!

Lucy speaks to Glafkos Cariolou. , In the 1960s Glafkos’s father was sponge diving off Cyprus when he discovered a 4th-century shipwreck, which became known as the Kyrenia. Glavkos himself had just learnt to dive, and with his new underwater camera, he joined his father to begin photographing and documenting the site. Once it was excavated and recovered, a replica building programme began. We hear from Glavkos first-hand what it was like to sail such a vessel, with no modern technology. He recounts sailing from Cyprus to Greece and using the stars to guide them at night, just as ancient sailors did. 

The wrecks of these ships tell unique stories about the people who sailed them, and their abilities to sail vast distances, transporting huge cargoes, with some olives to snack on on the way!

Dr Stella Demesticha – MARELab – University of Cyprus

Dr Eleni Loizides – MARELab – University of Cyprus

Glafkos Cariolou – Captain of Kyrenia Liberty

Find out more about Mazotos here and Kyrenia here

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