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Monumental Piers Found in Sunken Harbor City of Corinth

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Author Topic: Monumental Piers Found in Sunken Harbor City of Corinth  (Read 245 times)
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« on: March 27, 2016, 06:32:03 pm »

“Corinth ranked among the most economically and militarily powerful, and enduring, cities of antiquity. The city lay with an exceptional geographical advantage on the northeastern tip of the Peloponnese and controlled the isthmus that facilitated land travel between northern and southern Greece, and travel by sea between the western and eastern Mediterranean,” explains Lovén.

Navigators often preferred to anchor at one of Corinth's two ports and have their cargo transported overland, due to the windswept nature of the capes at the southern extremity of the Peloponnese. Lightweight ships could be hauled over the isthmus on a platform that ran along a grooved pavement from sea to sea.

 “According to ancient sources, most of the city's wealth derived from the maritime trade that passed through her two harbors,” Lovén adds.

Early Byzantine construction secrets

The team of archaeologists has discovered the remains of an early Byzantine pier constructed of six well-preserved wooden caissons, stretching a total of 57 meters in length, and a stone-lined entrance canal to the little-explored Inner Harbor of Lechaion.

Architect Chris Brandon has studied the caissons at Caesarea Maritima, and believes both the Lechaion and Caesarea caissons were "single mission barges" – essentially rectangular wooden frames, with floors so they could float. The caissons would have been built onshore before being floated out to predetermined locations and sunk using concrete or rubble. They created a harbor breakwater or pier, acting as a barrier from the wind, whilst protecting moored ships and their cargo.

The caissons discovered in Lechaion are the first of their kind ever discovered in Greece with their wooden elements still preserved.

“These large wooden boxes were left in situ to contain the fill whilst it set or consolidated, and have remained largely intact as they rapidly became submerged into the seabed that preserved them,” says Lovén.
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