Pavlopetri, off the southern coast of the Pelopennese in Greece, dates back to around 3000 BC. Sunk into the Mediterranean Sea, it breaks the antiquity record as the world’s oldest underwater town. The Greek government discovered the submerged town in 1967 but just recently announced that ‘5000-year-old pottery fragments have been recovered from the town.’ The announcement also included a statement that ‘a further 9000 square metres of buildings, streets, and graves – plus what looks like a large ceremonial building called a megaron – have been discovered.’
According to Nic Flemming of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, UK, who first discovered Pavlopetri in the 1960s and dated it to around 1500 BC., “You can find scattered huts or Paleolithic caves [on the sea bed] which are much older, but not towns with streets, and rows of houses sharing common walls. What we’ve got here is something that’s 2000 or even 3000 years older than most of the submerged cities that have been studied. And its uniqueness is not just its age, but the fact that it was used as a port. This was effectively a massive town, with a hinterland of scattered farms in the hills, plus copper mines. It was a crossroads for seafaring, a critical transport point between the mainland and Crete, and a rich agricultural district. In terms of understanding what was happening at that time, it’s extremely exciting.”
Scientists used sector-scanning sonar to detect the new-found buildings and structures. Sector-scanning sonar is technology normally used in the oil and gas industry. It has also been utilized for underwater archaeology.
The new findings point to Pavlopetri being ‘an important trading port.’ The new clues also help understand ‘how Neolithic people lived.’ It is believed that Pavlopetri sank due to the frequent earthquakes that rock the region.