From the Press Association:

The theory that the Greek island of Kefalonia is the site of the ancient city of Ithaca, birthplace of Homer's Odysseus, has been strengthened by research.

British scientists have found new geological evidence to suggest Paliki, the western peninsula of Kefalonia, was once separated from the mainland by a narrow channel.

Scientists believe that if Paliki was once a separate island it could be the site of Ithaca, which Homer describes in the Odyssey as the most westerly and low-lying Ionian island.

Researchers found no solid bedrock in the valley that divides Paliki from the rest of the island, until 90 metres below the surface.

They said this suggests the strait was once a marine channel that was filled in with falling earthquake debris over the past 3,000 years.

They also said this tallied with Strabo, the ancient Greek geographer's description of a valley or "channel" in Kefalonia "so low-lying that it was often submerged from sea to sea".

Professor James Diggle, of Cambridge University, who is leading the research said: "If we can demonstrate the historical existence of 'Strabo's Channel' it will be impossible to resist the conclusion that Paliki was Homer's Ithaca - for Paliki, as a separate island, is the only candidate that satisfies every one of Homer's geographical criteria.

"So we are on the way to demonstrating that Homer's geography was no less reliable than Strabo's, and that the landscape of Paliki was the true location of Homer's Odyssey."

Ithaca was said to be the home of Odysseus, whose 10-year journey back from the Trojan War is chronicled in Homer's epic poem the Odyssey.

It was assumed modern-day Ithaki on the eastern side of the Ionian islands was the geographical setting for Ithaca; but researchers say this is inconsistent with Homer's descriptions of a westerly low-lying island.

This is clearly in response to a Greek challenge to the Diggle/Underhill theory made back in March ...