Excavation of Lord Elgin's shipwrecked brig "Mentor" yields passenger items, construction details

Excavation of Lord Elgin's shipwrecked brig "Mentor" yields passenger items, construction details

Underwater exploration this September of the historic wreck of "Mentor", a brig which belonged to Lord Elgin and sank off Kythira Island in 1802 carrying antiquities of the Acropolis, revealed more information about the brig's construction, the Ministry of Culture said on Tuesdasy.

The excavation was conducted by the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and archaeologist Dimitris Kourkoumelis.

"The Mentor, which belonged to Lord Elgin, sank during a storm in the St. Nicholas cove in southeastern Kythira in 1802, while transporting part of the antiquities Lord Elgin's team had removed from the Parthenon, the Acropolis and other Athens monuments," the Ministry of Culture said.

The underwater exploration took place from September 7 to 23, the ministry said, and focused on the area of the stern, to determine how much of it survives. But in the 2 x 2 m trench the team dug it did not find parts of the stern or other significant objects. Most appeared to be items belonging to passengers: glass vials, buttons from clothing, a bronze furniture knob, lead bullets, sections of ropes and other small objects.

Another trench, along the well-preserved keel of the ship, revealed new data on the two-mast ship's construction. Participating archaeologist Marine Jaouen of the Département des Recherches Archéologiques Subaquatiques et Sous-Marines of the French Culture Ministry, an expert on ships and shipping of this era, helped explain the way the ship was built, apparently in America, the Greek ministry said.

The excavation and research team also included several archaeologists and staff from the Byzantine and Christian Museum. Support for the excavation came form Peter Maneas, Stathis Trifyllis and Als, an urban nonprofit company.

Source: AMNA