Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Scientists Find Human Skeleton in Antikythera Shipwreck

Scientists Find Human Skeleton in Antikythera Shipwreck

Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

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An ancient human skeleton has been found in the Antikythera Shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera in the Aegean Sea, which dates back 65 B.C. The international team of scientists who excavated the shipwreck claims that the remains could reveal details into the lives of people who lived 2,100 years ago.

On Aug. 31, the research team led by archaeologists and technical experts from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) unearthed skull, jaw and teeth, long bones of the arms and legs, as well as ribs. The team says that they will still look for more human remains embedded on the seafloor.

The skeleton is the first one to be found from an ancient shipwreck since DNA studies were introduced. The team is awaiting permission from Greek authorities to allow them to bring the skeleton to the laboratory of ancient DNA expert Dr. Hannes Schroeder at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen.

Schroeder says it’s remarkable how the bones survived over 2,000 years under the sea. Once analysis are performed, the team will tell us the shipwreck victim’s ethnicity and geographic origin.

The Antikythera Shipwreck is the biggest ancient shipwreck found. Experts believe that it could have been a grain carrier.

It was initially spotted and salvaged by Greek sponge divers in 1900. Among the artifacts uncovered was the Antikythera Mechanism, the famous artifact that many consider to be the very first computer in the world.

Explorers also found dozens of marble statues and thousands of antiquities at the shipwreck. When Jacques-Yves Cousteau and the CALYPSO team came back to the shipwreck in 1976, they found 300 more objects, which included several skeletal remains of the passengers and crew.

The Antikythera research team has provided 3D digital models of every object found at the site. The skeletal remains found before have been replicated with 3D models for researchers and can be accessed by the public on the Antikythera Project website.