It is a shipwreck of a commercial ship dated to the late classical period. It was located in the sea area of Mazotos, at 45 metres below sea level. It is the first shipwreck of that period located in the South East Mediterranean carrying Chian amphorae, at a depth where divers can work. This is of noteworthy scientific significance as its research could shed light on issues concerning the sea routes and trade relations between the peoples of the Aegean and the S.E Mediterranean during this period.
 
Research at the Mazotos Shipwreck began in 2007. It is conducted by the Archaeological Research Unit (ARU) of the University of Cyprus, under the direction of Dr Stella Demesticha, in collaboration with THETIS Foundation and the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus. This is the first underwater archaeological research conducted by Cypriot institutions, thus establishing the foundations for the development of maritime archaeology on the island.
 
The surface survey
Four surface surveys were conducted during 2007-2009, for the purpose of detailed mapping of the surface finds of the shipwreck and its initial evaluation. Those first surveys revealed that the site comprises an assemblage of approximately 500-800 visible amphorae (most of them from Chios), stretching over an area of 16 x 6 metres at a sandy, almost flat seabed.
 
Epifaneiaki 1
Of particular interest was the degree of preservation of the amphorae on the seabed: in the centre of the site at least four layers of amphorae seem to have preserved their initial stowage position. The high level of its preservation classifies the site among the rare cases of shipwrecks in the Mediterranean where the internal stratigraphy of an ancient ship can be studied in detail, as well as the various phases of the development of the surrounding environment.
 
Epifaneiaki 2
Epifaneiaki 3
Epifaneiaki 4
 
 
     
Excavation
 
Three excavation field seasons have been conducted since 2010, bringing to light a important finds. During the first two excavation field seasons (2010-2011), research focused on the southern part of the assemblage where, according to the first evaluation, lies the bow of the ship. Apart from the Chian amphorae, lead stocks, parts of the remains of three anchors of the ship, as well as a large number of olive pits were revealed. Of particular interest was the discovery of a part of the hull and the planking of the ship.
  cyta
The next excavation field season (2012) focused on the northern side of the assemblage, that is on the stern of the ship. The keel and a significant part of the planking of the ship were revealed. Moreover, excavation brought to the surface the secondary cargo of the ship which was wine jugs.
 
Anaskafi 1 Anaskafi 2 Anaskafi 3
Anaskafi 5 Anaskafi 4  Anaskafi 6
     

The 2018 excavation season at Mazotos Shipwreck

The seventh full excavation season at the 4th century BC Mazotos shipwreck was successfully completed, after four weeks of intensive fieldwork (20 September -21 October 2018). The project is conducted by the Maritime Archaeological Research Laboratory (MARELab) of the Archaeological Research Unit, University of Cyprus, in collaboration with the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, under the direction of Dr Stella Demesticha, Associate Professor in the Department of History and Archaeology. The photogrammetric mapping of the site was coordinated by Dr Dimitrios Skarlatos, Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics, Cyprus University of Technology.

The objective of this year’s field season was to continue and complete the excavation of the bow area of the ancient ship. A total of 70 partly or fully preserved Chian amphorae were recovered, which raised the number of amphorae stowed under the foredeck of the ship’s hold to 99. Most of these amphorae were most probably carrying wine but at least one was full of olive pits, possibly for consumption by the crew. Also, two fishing weights were found, which offer us a glimpse of the life onboard the merchantmen of the period.

Underneath the cargo, the wooden hull was poorly preserved, most probably (as a result of the wrecking episode and (the subsequent natural site formation processes at play. Only two days prior to the end of the season, a much better preserved part of the hull began to appear, which is a promising indication that more coherent evidence on shipbuilding technology will be found during the next field season. After careful study of the excavated timbers, however, a very important element of shipbuilding technology has already come to light: both ligatures and mortise-and-tenons were used to join the garboard, the stempost and the keel. Related with the traditions of two prominent Mediterranean seafaring people, the Greeks and the Phoenicians, these two techniques found in the same ship add an important piece to the puzzle that is the history of classical shipbuilding in the eastern Mediterranean. This history has thus far been grounded on only two excavated shipwrecks: the Ma’agan Michael, Israel, dated to the end of the fifth century BC and the Kyrenia shipwreck, Cyprus, dated to the beginning of the third century BC. Thus, the Mazotos shipwreck, dated to the fourth century BC, fits right between these two and covers a gap in the development of naval technology in antiquity.

The photogrammetric mapping of site is conducted under the supervision of Dr Dimitrios Skarlatos, associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics, at the Cyprus University of Technology. The rest of research team was comprised of 43 members (archaeologists, divers and students), most of them volunteers from Cyprus and ten different countries: Greece, UK, Spain, USA, Italy, France, Slovakia, Poland, Bulgaria and Germany. The project was funded by the Honor Frost Foundation, CYTAVISION, the THETIS Foundation and the University of Cyprus.

  2018 10 01 09 265
 
 
Conservation
Since 2010 the Department of Antiquities undertook the conservation of the finds of the Mazotos Shipwreck, a vital aspect of the project which requires specialised personnel. For that reason the Laboratory for the Conservation of Maritime Antiquities was created, where all the finds of the Mazotos Shipwreck excavation are being kept and conserved.
 
  cyta 2
The finds are gradually being desalinated with the method of immersion and their surface is being cleaned mechanically. Following their drying, stabelization may be required. The methods applied each time depend on the nature of the materials and the state of their preservation. 
 
Conservation 1 Conservation 2 Conservation 3 Conservation 4.1
 
Documentation
The Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics at the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT), under the direction of Dr Demetris Skarlatos, is responsible for the mapping of the whole site, as well as the daily mapping of the trench. To this end and in order to tackle with the particular conditions existing in the underwater environment and the ensuing obstacles during the documentation procedure (limited light and time on the site), the photogrammetry method is used as a rapid means to obtain measurements with surveying accuracy in the scale of 1 – 2 centimetres.
  documentation - tepak 1
CUT research aims to develop a methodology and a software which will allow the automated processing of the data that is collected during the photography of underwater sites.
 
documentation - tepak 2 documentation - tepak 3
 
 
Study of the marine environment 
The scientific team of the non-governmental organization Enalia Phisis has undertaken the documentation and the study of the biodiversity of the shipwreck which is of particular significance since the site has acted as an artificial reef which attracts marine life. 
  biologists 1
biologists 2
biologists 3
 
 
Study of the formation process of ancient shipwreck sites 
The study, which is undertaken by Dr. Chryssanthi Papadopoulou (post doctoral fellow, Leventis Fellow, British School at Athens), focuses on the identification and study of the natural and cultural processes of the shipwreck site formation process, incorporating different disciplines (archaeology, topography, oceanography and marine biology).
  Chryssanthi 1 Cryssanthi 2
 
Collaborations