We have been operating since 2014 on several submerged archaeological sites in the Aeolian archipelago with yearly field campaigns in collaboration with Soprintendenza del Mare and the Archaeological Museum Bernabò Brea of Lipari.
Our main focus was on one of the four ancient wrecks found in the waters of Panarea Island, and on the bay of Capistello, in Lipari Island, where we found and surveyed a unique collection of ancient artifacts. We run also several other surveys, explorations, recoveries, and photogrammetry on other ancient wrecks and archaeological sites in Lipari, Panarea, and Filicudi Islands.
The Panarea III wreck is one of the most spectacular and pristine ancient wrecks known in the Mediterranean Sea. The wreck is of a Greek merchant ship dated to the III century b.C. It was a ship of 20-25 meters long and was carrying a cargo of a few thousands of amphorae of at least six different types. The wreck lays at a depth of 112 meters off Panarea Island shore.
The wreck was first found during a side-scan sonar survey run by the American no-profit organization Aurora Trust, in collaboration with Soprintendenza del Mare in 2010.
On this wreck, we conducted initial survey work in 2014, with mixed teams of divers and submarines. The two submarines could be used to carry several archaeologists on the site, allowing them to better coordinate the work of divers.
A total of 15 amphorae, samples of the different types that composed the cargo, were lifted to surface. Divers discovered also the presence of a few dozens of dishes and other potteries which were probably part of the cargo, samples of which were lifted to surface together with a few jugs and pots.
Divers discovered also a rare and exceptionally preserved votive altar, a Louterion, which was part of the ship. The Louterion was used to worship the gods with propitiatory ceremonies, like the ablutions and burning incense.
Divers also conducted a 3D photogrammetry of the wreck, signing one of the first times that this technique was used underwater. Over time, we continuing to make a photogrammetry every two years, in order to monitor the status of the wreck. In the next campaign, we plan to further investigate the wreck using metal detectors.
Panarea II is the wreck of a small merchant vessel dating from the first Century b.C. to the first a.C. The ship carried a cargo of several hundreds of amphorae of the Dressel 21 type. The wreck lays at depth of 128 meters, off the coast of Panarea Island. It was initially discovered by Aurora Trust and Soprintendenza del Mare during a side-scan sonar survey in 2010.
Soprintendenza del Mare archaeologist dr. Roberto La Rocca on board of a Tryton submarine of Global Sub, directing the divers during the recovery of one amphora from the wreck.
Panarea IV is the wreck of a small merchant ship with a cargo of Greek-Italic amphorae. The wreck lays at a depth of 84 meters, in the waters off Panarea Island. It was initially discovered by Aurora Trust and Soprintendenza del Mare during a side-scan sonar survey in 2010.
The superficial layer of amphorae is visibly damaged by the passage of a travel net We carried out a 3D survey of the wreck, and plan to assess the presence of layers of amphorae under the sediment in the future. Our plan is also to design and install protective barriers around the wreck in order to prevent further damage from fishing activities.
The submerged archaeological area of Capistello bay is very well known in underwater archaeology fro the presence of an ancient Greek wreck dated to the III Century b.C., which was excavated in the late ’70s by AINA in collaboration with SubSea oil company, with a saturation operation.
Exploring the seafloor of the bay we discovered an unusual concentration of Greek-Roman anchors, most of which are of the lead-stock type. The number of anchors discovered in the area approximately 50 specimens, providing a worldwide unique collection.
In 2016 we started a survey project of the area aimed at georeferencing all the anchors together with other artifacts found, and to document each of the items with a 3D photogrammetry. Up to date, we completed the survey of 33 anchors, which are lying scattered on the seafloor at an average depth of 80 meters. During the operations, at 115 meters, we founded the pillar of a Louterion, probably belonging to the Capistello wreck.
The ongoing survey operation aims to create a map of the archaeological area and to develop new methods for the metallographic analysis of submerged lead stock anchors.
During 20 years of activities, we collected hundreds of videos about underwater archaeology, marine life, and maritime exploration. Now it’s time to share with you our history from the very beginning.
Visit our new youtube channel to get more videos about our diving expeditions in the Mediterranean sea.
Here is the 2014 Aeolian Islands Gue PacPro Expedition movie trailer.