Head of Hercules Sculpture Recovered From Antikythera Mechanism Shipwreck Site


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COAST TO COAST AM WITH GEORGE NOORY

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Photo: Nikos Giannoulakis

By Tim Binnall

Underwater archaeologists exploring the shipwreck that once contained the mysterious Antikythera Mechanism have recovered the rather sizeable head of a marble Hercules sculpture. The retrieval of the piece reportedly occurred during an expedition to the downed vessel, which sits off the coast of Greece, in late May and early June. The endeavor at the wreck saw researchers relocate three 8.5-ton boulders that had previously made areas of the submerged ship inaccessible. With the massive rocks out of the way, divers were able to visit areas of the sunken vessel that had yet to be fully investigated.

The most eye-catching discovery made during the dive was undoubtedly a marble head that actually connects to the initially discovery of the shipwreck over a century ago. Archaeologist Lorenz Baumer, who heads the research project, marveled that the “most impressive” object is “twice lifesize, has a big beard, a very particular face and short hair. There is no doubt it is Hercules.” What makes the find particularly noteworthy is that it would appear to be the missing piece from a statue of the demigod that was removed from the downed ship by sponge divers when they discovered the submerged vessel back in 1900.

Among the other objects recovered during the expedition were two human teeth, which will be subjected to genomic analysis in order to learn more about the individuals to whom they once belonged, various pieces of the ship’s equipment, and the base of a different marb…

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