The Nissia Shipwreck Project - MARELab

Excavation of a cannon on the Nissia shipwreck site

The Nissia shipwreck has been dated to the ottoman period and is located in the Nissia area, at the Famagusta cape, 28 metres below sea level. It is the only known shipwreck of that age in Cyprus, and one of the few that are being excavated in the Eastern Mediterranean. Consequently, its scientific research is important as it could shed light on issues related to shipbuilding techniques and naval activity in the eastern Mediterranean, during that period.

The shipwreck was known among divers since the 1980s, when diving activity started to develop in the area. However, the official report at the DoA was made in 1992. Since then, several attempts have been made to survey the site, with no follow up: In 1994, a team from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of Greece visited the site, while in 2004 the private company Aquatec, in collaboration with the German Institution DEGUWA made attempts to survey and protect the site.

Gradually, during these years, knowledge of the site was widespread among the diving community. Due to its location, at a depth easily accessible to divers, and the ‘friendly’ waters of the area, it was transformed into an uncontrolled recreation spot. This resulted in its destruction and looting, and the subsequent destruction of valuable archaeological evidence.

All the above, along with high percentage of preservation of the wooden hull, which remained exposed to the natural deterioration factors was what led MARELab to launch a research programme on the site, in collaboration with the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus. The Nissia Shipwreck Project aims to document and protect the site, to lift selected parts of the hull, and to implement new methods of in situ preservation. 

The Foundation has been supporting the Nissia Shipwreck project since 2014, reports relating to this can be found below;

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