The area of Fourni, a cluster of 13 small Greek islands in the East Aegean was the place of a recent discovery of 22 shipwrecks, made by a team of Greek and American divers. Now, after a second investigation 23 new shipwrecks have been found, adding up to a total of 45 vessels. Experts of the RPM Nautical Foundation and Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities said that the shipwrecks range from the late Greek Archaic period (525-480 B.C.) to the Early Modern period (A.D. 1750-1850).
Fourni was known as a good anchorage and navigational point for Aegean crossing routes. Ships would have anchored in spots that were protected from the usual Northwest winds. But once in a while, these vessels could be caught off guard by a big southern storm. The ships would plough into the cliffs and then scatter down. Some of the vessels still hold cargo, such as amphoras, lamps, cooking pots and anchors. Origin of some of the cargo could already be determined, such as part of the amphoras from the Greek island of Kos dating back to the Hellenistic period (331-323 BC). Fourni may have one of the world’s largest concentrations of ancient shipwrecks. In all of Greece’s territorial waters, only about 180 ancient shipwrecks had been well documented (not including the discoveries at Fourni). The deepest dives of the survey went to 65 meters, the scientists expect there’s more to discover below that level.