In a groundbreaking exploration off the coast of Greece, marine archaeologists have unveiled a treasure trove of historical significance beneath the waves of Salamis, a small island near Athens. As CBS News reported this month, the Greek Ministry of Culture shared exciting findings from an extensive underwater excavation project. The research revealed a submerged public building and a collection of marble artifacts dating back to the 4th century B.C.
A team of twelve marine archaeologists discovered a massive public building integral to the ancient city of Salamis. The uncovered remains, showcased on social media by officials, offer a glimpse into the island’s newfound history. These findings are not related to the ruins of another ancient city named Salamis, located in eastern Cyprus.
The underwater exploration in 2022 focused on Ampelaki Bay. The bay is located on the eastern shore of the strait between Salamis and mainland Greece. The region holds historical significance. It was the region where the Battle of Salamis occurred during the Greco-Persian Wars around 480 B.C. The conflict marked a pivotal victory for the Greeks.
Greece’s Ancient Fortification
The archaeological team initially discovered a seawall believed to be part of an ancient fortification surrounding the classical city of Salamis. Subsequent investigations led to the identification of a stoa. Stoa is a freestanding covered walkway in Greek architecture, around 20 feet wide and 105 feet long. The stoa, a crucial element in understanding the city’s topography, likely marked the eastern boundary of the Agora area. The region is a communal meeting space in ancient Greek cities.
The stoa’s remains, consisting of six or seven rooms, reveal the structure’s purpose as a possible marketplace or public promenade. While only one room, measuring slightly more than 15 square feet, has been explored in-depth, it housed a significant storage area. It contains nearly two dozen bronze coins, marble fragments, vases, and ceramic pieces dating back to the Classical-Hellenistic period.
Among the noteworthy artifacts is a fragment of a column with a partial inscription in 2-3 verses. Researchers also found an ornate fragment depicting a large man. This man, possibly a hero, places a crown on a bearded man. These discoveries provide invaluable insights into the island’s cultural and architectural history, offering a captivating narrative that adds to the ongoing story of Greece’s storied past.