Archaeologists surveying the world’s oldest submerged town have found ceramics dating back to the Final Neolithic. Their discovery suggests that Pavlopetri, off the southern Laconia coast of Greece, was occupied some 5,000 years ago — at least 1,200 years earlier than originally thought.
These remarkable findings have been made public by the Greek government after the start of a five year collaborative project involving the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and The University of Nottingham.
As a Mycenaean town the site offers potential new insights into the workings of Mycenaean society. Pavlopetri has added importance as it was a maritime settlement from which the inhabitants coordinated local and long distance trade.
The Pavlopetri Underwater Archaeology Project aims to establish exactly when the site was occupied, what it was used for and through a systematic study of the geomorphology of the area, how the town became submerged.
This summer the team carried out a detailed digital underwater survey and study of the structural remains, which until this year were thought to belong to the Mycenaean period — around 1600 to 1000 BC. The survey surpassed all their expectations. Their investigations revealed another 150 square metres of new buildings as well as ceramics that suggest the site was occupied throughout the Bronze Age — from at least 2800 BC to 1100 BC.