Lechaion’s sunken harbour more important than thought

Finds from the survey in ancient Corinth’s harbour at Lechaion revealed that the town was far more important than historians previously realized. Underwater survey and excavations revealed the harbour covered 500000 square meters.

Column drum found underwater once making a colonnade at harbour’s front (by Vassilis Tsiairis)

Ancient Corinth was located about 3 kilometres inland but Lechaion was located near the isthmus that connects the Peloponnese peninsula to mainland Greece, and ships once had to sail by the town if they used the isthmus as a short-cut. The new study revealed that the harbour was as large as other harbours towns from that time, including the port city of Piraeus in the Attica and Portus, a Roman-built artificial harbour on the Tiber River. The city existed from 6th century BC to 6th century AD. It was located in an area prone to earthquakes which damaged the architecture of the city on several occasions.

Wooden posts at the bulwark of the harbour (by Vassilis Tsiairis)

Divers discovered two stone drums of columns, which might have – as in Roman structures – supported porticoes on the harbour front. The excavations also revealed a unique wooden bulwark just inside of the inner harbour entrance. It is located about 46 metres offshore at a depth of 1-3 metres. The structure might have served once as a pier for loading and unloading ships and was connected to stone foundations that possibly formed a part of a tower protecting the entrance. Another structure, found in the middle of the inner harbour basin is believed to be the remains of a lighthouse guiding the ships to Lechaion.

(after Live Science & Vassilis Tsiairis)

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