CAIRO – 23 June 2022: A Roman-era ship was discovered by accident off the Greek island of Antikythera over 120 years ago.
It is considered the richest ancient shipwreck in the world for archaeologists to extract treasures from, and one of its latest finds is the head of a lost statue of Hercules.
"It's a very impressive piece of marble, having a large beard, a very special face, and short hair. There is no doubt that he is Hercules," said Professor Lorenz Böhmer, the classical archaeologist overseeing the underwater mission with the University of Geneva.
The discovery of the statue along with another marble statue base, human teeth and parts of the ship's equipment was made possible by removing three 8.5-ton boulders that had partially covered the wreckage at the sea bed.
For three weeks, the research team of marine archaeologists and specially trained divers - working at depths of 50 meters - were able to reach a previously unexplored area, according to the British Guardian.
The ship is believed to have sank in a storm off the small island of Antikythera during the first 50 years of the 1st century BC, and was recovered by sponge divers in 1901. Among its payloads of giant marbles, bronze statues, ceramics and glassware, they found a mysterious wave device used to map the motions of the sun, moon and planets that scientists describe as the world's first analog computer.
The reason why the instrument, known as the Antikythera, remained on the ship remains unknown. It is widely believed to have been traveling from the eastern Mediterranean to Rome.