In 1967, An English Archaeologist Stumbled Upon the Ancient City of Pavlopetri, The Oldest SUBMERGED City To Date

By | June 16, 2017

The architectural genius of the Greeks is proven time and again by the durability and elaborate nature of the structures they have built. The remains of Pavlopetri, the oldest known Greek city first discovered in 1967, are testament to the perceptual prowess of the Greeks when it comes to architecture.

An archaeologist navigates the site

Located off the Vatika Bay in Peleponnese, Greece, the ancient city of Pavlopetri was first discovered by English archaeologist Nicholas Flemming. The remains of this Bronze Age city lie just a few meters from the shore. The ancient city is estimated to have been established from around 3000-1100 BC, making it the oldest submerged city to date.

A year after Flemming stumbled upon the site, a team of experts from the University of Cambridge analyzed the remains and, using a grid system, divided and compartmentalized the site into specific areas. Based on the excavation analysis, the team created a conceptual plot of the city, giving us a better idea of what the site looked like when functional.

A few cursory findings were also observed, which include chert blades composed of obsidian, specimens of pottery and shards, as well as bronze figurines, indicating the era of time during which the settlement flourished.

Nicholas Flemming, the man who first encountered Pavlopetri in 1967

Further excavations conducted in 2007-2009 revealed that the walls that formed the boundaries of the city were still quite intact. This  just provides testament to the durability of Classical Architecture. Several burial sites as well as rock cut tombs were also unearthed during the excavations.

Pavolopetri was believed to be a key harbour, facilitating trade with several other settlements along the Mediterranean. Unlike other underwater Bronze Age settlements discovered in recent times, Pavlopetri is seen to have a well-structured underlying plan behind its construction, which says a lot about the advanced state of its culture and architecture.

Greece, Pavlopetri The ruins of Pavlopetri lie a short distance under the surface of the water, off Pounta Beach on Vatika Bay

 It is believed that natural causes such as rise in sea-levels and earthquakes, were the reasons behind its submergence and disappearance in 1100 BC.

In 2016, Pavlopetri was declared as a site under the World Monuments Watch spearheaded by the World Monuments Fund in 2015. 

h/t gounesco