PROFESSIONAL and amateur divers yesterday began the process of hauling up ancient urns buried onboard the Mazotos shipwreck.
The shipwreck, possibly the largest commercial ship located in open Cypriot waters, sank in 350 BC en route from the Greek island of Chios carrying around 1,000 urns filled with wine. Today it is buried 45 metres below sea level and is the oldest shipwreck found off the coast of Cyprus to date. The Kyrenia II shipwreck, found almost 50 years ago, dates back to 300 BC.
The Antiquities Department said last year it was one of the very few shipwrecks of the Classical period found in such a good state of preservation.
Around 500 urns are visible while the remainder are believed to be buried under one or two layers of sand.
The shipwreck is guarded by the competent security services 24 hours around the clock and no one is allowed near it without permission.
Dr Stella Demesticha, Visiting Lecturer of Underwater Archaeology at the University of Cyprus who is carrying out the research, said the find was an important event for Cyprus’ history.
The project was undertaken by the Research Unit of Archaeology of the University of Cyprus in agreement with the Department of Antiquities and with funding and logistical support from the Thetis Foundation. It is the first time a project of this kind has been exclusively undertaking by Cypriot institutions.