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Human skeleton found on famed Antikythera shipwreck

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Raychel
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« on: September 19, 2016, 11:03:34 pm »

Foley and the archaeologists, meanwhile, are elated by the chance to learn more about the people on board the first-century bc ship, which carried luxury items from the eastern Mediterranean, probably intended for wealthy buyers in Rome.
Rare discovery

The skeleton discovery is a rare find, agrees Mark Dunkley, an underwater archaeologist from the London-based heritage organization Historic England. Unless covered by sediment or otherwise protected, the bodies of shipwreck victims are usually swept away and decay, or are eaten by fish. Complete skeletons have been recovered from younger ships, such as the sixteenth-century English warship the Mary Rose and the seventeenth-century Vasa in Sweden. Both sank in mud, close to port. But “the farther you go back, the rarer it is”, says Dunkley.

Only a handful of examples of human remains have been found on ancient wrecks, says archaeologist Dimitris Kourkoumelis of the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, who collaborates with Foley. They include a skull found inside a Roman soldier’s helmet near Sardinia, and a skeleton reportedly discovered inside a sunken sarcophagus near the Greek island of Syrna (although the bones disappeared before the find could be confirmed).
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