New findings brought to light at Mentor shipwreck in Kythira
Chess pens, tobacco buds, vials, scallops, and even a toothbrush are some of the new findings brought to light by the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities from the historical wreck of “Mentor” in Kythira island. The research, which is being continued for the fifth year, was carried out from July 8 to July 27, 2017. It focused on “Mentor”, which sank in September 1802 in South Eastern Kythira, off the harbor of Avlemonas, while carrying part of the antiquities stolen and smuggled from the ancient monuments of Athens, by Lord Elgin’s team.
More specifically, personal items of passengers and crew were found, such as chess pieces, coins, of which one gold (Utrecht 1756), tobacco syringes, vials, a bone horseman, musical instrument decoration, scallops and a toothbrush, as well as two metal anchor buttons, made from navy garment. Also, the front of a furniture drawer as well as a large number of fragments of everyday utensils.
During this year’s underwater excavation, a section of about 3mx2m close to the bow of the ship was investigated. Even though the ship’s hull is not well preserved, a large number of wooden pieces have been found indicating its destruction both during its first 1802-1804 wreckage and the subsequent on spot actions, as well as a considerable number of pulleys, ropes and metal objects related to the area, where one of the two masts of the ship are located.
The excavations were conducted by the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities with Dr. Dimitris Kourkoumelis as Director and Aris Michael and L. Mersenie as Diving Supervisors and were supported by the Kytherian Research Group, the Municipality of Kythira, Ilios Shipping Co, Mr. Stathis Trifyllis and NGO “Argo”.