Team Discovers Ancient Naval Base Off the Coast of Athens

Ancient Naval Base

A team working off the coast of Athens has uncovered the remains of an ancient naval base, estimated to be about 2,500 years old.

Alongside a team of Greek colleagues, Danish Marine archaeologist Bjorn Loven from the University of Copenhagen located the remains of six ship sheds, used to protect vessels from shipworm and from drying when they weren’t out at sea.

On the University of Copenhagen’s website, Loven said the team used pottery and carbon-14 dating on a piece of wood and dated the sheds to around 520-480 B.C.

Moreover, the sheds are thought to have housed ships that were used to fight Persian invaders during the Battle of Salamis, which took place in 480 B.C. between an alliance of Greek city-states under Themistocles, and King Xerxes' Persian Empire.

Although the Greeks were outnumbered, they won the battle, which took place in the straits between the Greek mainland and the island of Salamis.

"This naval battle was a pivotal event in Greek history; it is difficult to predict what would have happened if the Greek fleet had lost at Salamis, but it is clear that a Persian victory would have had immense consequences for subsequent cultural and social developments in Europe,” said Loven. “The victory at Salamis rightly echoes through history and awakens awe and inspiration around the world today."

The sheds were discovered as part of the Zea Harbour Project, which took place from 2001 to 2012.