There may not be a Lost City of Atlantis (although some believe it has been found), but there is the sunken lost city of Pavopetri in Greece. It is believed to have been submerged for a whopping 3,000 years making it one of the (or even the oldest) underwater cities in the world. The town is believed to be a total of 5,000 years old.
It is located just off the coast of southern Laconia in the Peloponnese Peninsula in Greece and is unique for having an almost complete town plan - with tombs, streets, and buildings. The lost city dates from Minoan times and is regarded as a unique treasure.
Age and Discovery Of Pavopetri
Pavlopetri was discovered in 1967 by Nicholas Flemming and mapped the following year by archaeologists from England. At first, it was dated to the Mycenaean period between 1600 and 1100 BC, but later on, it became clear it was even older dates from no later than 2800 BC. There is evidence of early Bronze Age middle Minoan and transitional material submerged at the site.
- Name: Literally Paul's Stone (Even Though It 3000 Years Older Than Saint Paul)
- Oldest: One of The Oldest (or Oldest) Known Underwater Cities In The World
Current theories claim it submerged at around 1000 BC by an event triggered by powerful earthquakes that rocked the area.
The land never re-emerged from the waves. Consequently, no one ever built a new city underneath it, nor was it disrupted by agriculture. This means that the site has been preserved as it was with its original town layout (although the erosion over the centuries has destroyed much of it).
- First Occupied: Neolithic Period Between 4500-3200 BC
- Flourished: Particularly Flourished In The Early Bronze Age (3300-2000 BC) and the Late Bronze Age (1600-1100 BC)
According to Elafonisos, one thing that is exceptional about this site is that it was continuously inhabited from 3,000 to 1,100 BC. This means it must have survived the Late Bronze Age Collapse.
What Excavations Have Learned About Pavopetri
Fieldwork that was carried out in 2009 digitally surveyed the site in three dimensions with the aid of oil prospecting organizations and the military. There are at least 15 buildings submerged at depths of 3 to 4 meters (9.8 to 13 feet) of water.
- Depth: 3 to 4 Meters
In the surveys, many look weights were found indicating that the town was in the center of a thriving textile industry. Pottery jars were found there too from Crete, suggesting it was engaged in trade.
- Trading Port: Discoveries Suggest that It Was a Thriving Trading Port
Recent research has revealed thousands of fragments of objects on the seafloor with finds ranging from ordinary tableware to large Minoan jars. They renewed scientific interest in Pavopetri as they provide insights into the everyday life of the town before it succumbed to waves.
- Size: Covers Around 50 Acres
This Bronze Age city has surviving thresholds and lintels as well as courtyards, streets, and burial places. While still amazing don't expect anything like Star War's underwater Gungan City on the planet of Naboo or the popular impressions of the unsunken city of Atlantis.
Threats to Pavloptri Today
Today Pavlopetri is reportedly suffering from the looting of its ancient artifacts, the shifting of sands and sediments, and pollution in the bay mostly caused by large commercial ships anchoring illegally in the Bay. Read more about the city on Pavloptri.org.
The site was included on the 2016 World Monuments Watch to aid in efforts at preservation.
- Threats: Boats Dragging Anchors, Tourists Taking Souvenirs, Pollution
The site is now marked with buoys that demarcate the archaeological site and protect it from small vessels.
The underwater city is UNESCO protected as all traces of human existence underwater over 100 years old are protected. They are protected by the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.
Visiting Pavlopetri and Museum Displays
Pavlopetri is today accessible to visitors. The water is clear and the depth of water is generally not more than 3 meters. This means that anyone with a pair of flippers and a mask can tour the area.
- Accessible: It is Accessible to Any Diver With Flippers and a Mask
Visitors who do choose to explore Pavlopetri must do so with respect for the heritage archeological site and not remove any artifacts.
Nearby in Neapolis, the Museum of Archeology opened in the summer of 2017. One can find a small display of artifacts from Pavlopetri exhibited there.
- Display: There Is A Small Display At The Museum of Archeology
Visitors can enjoy informative films and learn as the museum takes them through the archeological sites along the nearby coastline.
One can also see two more pithos (jars) in the Archaeological Museum of Pylos in Niokastro.