Protecting a Greek Shipwreck

Very interesting item buried in my email from last week:

The second century Greek trading vessel lies on the sea bed off the coast of Cavtat.

Little remains of the wooden ship but its cargo of earthenware amphora – ceramic vases – still remain stacked row upon row.

The vases, which originally contained olive oil and wine, are still tightly packed into the cargo hold as they were centuries ago.

Its cargo – one of the best preserved from an ancient wreck – has great historical significance and has an estimated value of £5m on the black market.

Croatian authorities are so concerned about looters plundering the valuable artefacts they have now protected the site – with a metal cage.

The heavy-duty cage features a large hinged door, which is kept locked with occasional access granted for divers under strict supervision.

Underwater photographer Neil Hope, of Torpoint in Cornwall, was among those given permission to dive the wreck.

He said: ”I’m an experienced diver and I’ve dived wrecks all over the world, but this was the most unique experience.

”I was taken down there by the man who discovered it. As soon as we were finished they closed the door and locked it up again.

”Obviously when you are inside you can’t touch any of the cargo as it is very valuable, so they don’t just let anyone inside the cage.

”You need excellent buoyancy skills so you’re not damaging these valuable things.”

He was working on an assignment for the British Sub-Aqua Club’s (BS-AC) DIVE magazine.

via Underwater ‘safe’ protects £5m shipwreck treasures | Telegraph.

Hmmm … very interesting. I can’t find that we’ve mentioned this shipwreck find before and it’s very interesting that we don’t seem to hear of any archaeologists in this report. FWIW, another shipwreck find in this general area seems to be under a cloak of secrecy: that Boka Kotorska wreck off Montenegro.

UPDATE: (a couple of weeks later) … an item from ABC suggests this really isn’t a ‘protection’ project, but the focus is actually dive-tourism (not a bad thing, but a different sort of impression than the original provides):

Poptropica’s Mythology Island

I’m not sure what Poptropica is, but it seems to be some sort of online role-playing environment aimed at the younger set (and seems to be something folks have to pay to access) . They’re currently hyping something called ‘Mythology Island’ via Youtube:

… if you actually go to Youtube, there will be more videos in the sidebar. I couldn’t find out much more info at the Poptropica site itself, alas, so I don’t know if this is even available to the general public yet.

The Oracle at Rantidi!

I always like when really ‘obscure’ stuff shows up in the news … here’s the incipit of an item in the Pacific Northwest Inlander:

There’s a rock off the southwestern tip of Cyprus that juts out of the sea. You can get there on the B6, a windy coastal road hewn out of rock in the age of dynamite and tourism.

Before the B6, though, at the dawn of myth — back when the gods of the Greek pantheon had just barely started sleeping together and stabbing each other in the back — the goddess whom Greeks would call Aphrodite was birthed out of the sea at that rock.

It’s the scene you see in Sandro Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” (another of Aphrodite’s many names): the Paltrow-esque beauty, nude, rising from a clamshell.

Just a few kilometers north — back across the road, past Aphrodite Hills (a mega-resort named “Best Spa in Europe” in 2008) and up the rocky, asp-infested tumble of Rantidi Forest — sits the oracular sanctuary of Aphrodite’s young lover, Adonis.

Ancient accounts of the Oracle at Rantidi put its importance on a par with the Oracle at Delphi — the oracle that predicted the destruction of Lydia and sent Socrates on his quest for knowledge.

Rantidi was a big deal to the ancients, but it was lost to the modern world until 1910, when it was discovered and partially excavated, then lost again.

The next person to find it was EWU’s Georgia Bonnie Bazemore.

via The Oracle at Cheney.

The item goes on to talk about the talk, which focussed more on efforts by EWU to establish a campus in Cyprus. Whatever the case, the oracle at Rantidi is probably unknown to a lot of the learned readers of this blog, so I decided to see what I could find on the Interwebs and I was plenty surprised to find a link to a pdf from the New York Times of February 12, 1911 reporting on “The God’s Clubhouse Has Been Found in Cyprus” (if that link doesn’t work, try starting from here), which tells of the various shrines which had been found there at the beginning of the previous century. Other than that, though, I wasn’t too surprised to find that most of what’s on the web (that seems reliable) about Rantidi comes from the efforts of the aforementioned Professor Bazemore at the Rantidi Forest page of the Ancient Cyprus Web, which links to other pages documenting EWU’s efforts there.

Princeton’s ’10 Latin Salutatorian

Princeton University
Image via Wikipedia

David Karp ’10 has been named this year’s valedictorian, and Marguerite Colson ’10 has been selected as Latin salutatorian, Dean of the College Nancy Malkiel announced at the faculty meeting on Monday.


A history major who has excelled at Latin during her time at the University, Colson is the highest-ranking senior in her department and is ranked 14th in her class overall with 22 A’s and A-pluses after seven terms. Upon learning about her selection as salutatorian, “I was totally shocked,” Colson said.

Colson’s family was thrilled to learn that she had received the honor, she said. “They were really excited, though some of them didn’t even know who the salutatorian was,” she noted, explaining that the confusion may have arisen because the title often refers to the student with the second-highest GPA in the class.

Colson attributed her success at the University to not putting excessive academic pressure on herself. “The idea of finding a balance — I can’t even pretend that I’ve spent every moment in a library,” she said. “I’ve had a ton of fun here; I have a great group of friends; I’m in an eating club. I guess these are all things that I feel like make me like the place as much as I do … If I went to a place that put a 100 percent emphasis on academics, I don’t think I would have thrived there.” Colson is a member of Ivy Club.

She was awarded the Quin Morton ’36 Writing Seminar Essay Prize and is a fellow at the Writing Center. For her senior thesis, Colson researched former secretary of state Edward Stettinius’s role in establishing the United Nations.

Classics professor Denis Feeney, who taught Colson in a course on Virgil’s “Aeneid,” described her as a valuable member of the class.

“I came to rely on her pointed and incisive interventions,” he said in a statement that Malkiel read at the faculty meeting. “She displayed a remarkable critical maturity; together with her highly impressive language skills, this marked her out as one of the very best Latin students it has been my pleasure to teach in 10 years at Princeton.”

Colson is also a Community House volunteer at the Princeton Nursery School and tutors English as a second language. After graduation she will work at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office as a Princeton Project 55 fellow.

Karp and Colson will speak at Commencement on June 1.

via Karp ’10 named valedictorian – The Daily Princetonian.