Bronze Arm Found in Famous Shipwreck Points to More Treasure Below

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tags: archaeology, Roman Empire, Shipwreck



A bronze statue’s orphaned arm. A corroded disc adorned with a bull. Preserved wooden planks. These are among the latest treasures that date back to the dawn of the Roman Empire, discovered amid the ruins of the Antikythera shipwreck, a sunken bounty off the coast of a tiny island in Greece.

Marine archaeologists working on a project called Return to Antikythera announced these findings on Wednesday from their most recent excavation of the roughly 2,000-year-old wreck, which was first discovered 115 years ago. They said the haul hints at the existence of at least seven more bronze sculptures still buried beneath the seafloor. Bronze sculptures from that era are rare because they were often melted down to make swords, shields and other items. Only about 50 intact examples have survived, so if the team can salvage the submerged statues, it would be a remarkable recovery of ancient artifacts.

“Say you discovered there are another seven Leonardo paintings that no one knew existed and the prospect of finding them is dangling before your eyes,” said Kenneth Lapatin a curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles who was not involved in the project. “That’s what this is like for classical archaeologists and those who study ancient Greek and Roman art.”




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