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Antikythera Shipwreck Skeleton Could Provide Clues About Life 2K Years Ago

Image: Antikythera Shipwreck Skeleton Could Provide Clues About Life 2K Years Ago

Archaeologists Brendan Foley, Theotokis Theodoulou, and Alex Tourtas excavate the Antikythera Shipwreck skeletal remains, assisted by Nikolas Giannoulakis and Gemma Smith. (Brett Seymour/EUA/WHOI/ARGO)

By    |   Tuesday, 20 Sep 2016 06:05 AM

An Antikythera shipwreck skeleton, which was discovered in the ancient ship's ruins last month, could help scientists learn more about the way of life 2,100 years ago, according to a statement from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute released Monday.

Archaeologists and technical experts from the institution and the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports in Greece excavated a human skull, long bones of the arms and legs, ribs, and other remains from the site, according to the Woods Hole statement. Other parts of the skeletal remains are still embedded in the seafloor.

"Archaeologists study the human past through the objects our ancestors created," Brendan Foley, a marine archaeologist with Woods Hole, said in the statement. "With the Antikythera shipwreck, we can now connect directly with this person who sailed and died aboard the Antikythera ship."

The shipwreck, which holds the remains of the Greek trading or cargo ship, is believed to have occurred around 65 B.C. The shipwreck is located in the Aegean Sea off the Greek island of Antikythera.

According to The Boston Globe, Greek sponge divers first found the shipwreck in 1900. The divers discovered numerous marble statues, antiquities, and the Antikythera Mechanism, which is known as the world's first computer.

Researchers found about 300 more artifacts as well as skeletal remains of some of the passengers in 1976, according to the newspaper. The current research is working on developing a three-dimensional digital model of all of the shipwreck's artifacts, The Globe noted.

The latest skeletal discovery on Aug. 31 was the first recovered at the shipwreck site since the advancement of DNA, according to Woods Hole. The institute stated that skeletal samples will be taken to a laboratory for a full analysis once approval from the Greek authorities is granted.

"Against all odds, the bones survived over 2,000 years at the bottom of the sea and they appear to be in fairly good condition, which is incredible," Hannes Schroeder, an ancient DNA expert from the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, said in the Woods Hole statement.

Researchers are hoping that they can recover enough viable DNA from the bones to identify the ethnicity and geographic origin of the victim who died in the shipwreck.

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An Antikythera shipwreck skeleton, which was discovered in the ancient ship's ruins last month, could help scientists learn more about the way of life 2,100 years ago.
antikythera, shipwreck, skeleton
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2016-05-20
Tuesday, 20 Sep 2016 06:05 AM
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