Skeleton Found in Antikythera Wreckage

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September 25, 2016

The discovery of a partial skeleton could solve a 2,000-year-old mystery.

Archaeologists have found multiple bones from a person aboard the shipwreck that yielded the Antikythera Mechanism, a device from Ancient Greece that some people think was a prototype for today’s computers.

Found were a partial skull, two arm bones, two femurs, and some rib fragments. Early indications are that the bones belonged to a man in his early 20s. Scientists hope to do DNA testing on the bones to find out more. Also planned is a 3D reconstruction of the skull.

The ship went down in 65 B.C., off the coast of Antikythera, an isolated island in the Mediterranean Sea.

The first modern dig at the wreck occurred in 1901, and the Antikythera Mechanism was found in that year.

The original dig, in 1900, also yielded a bronze arm, of a statue. That find convinced the Greek government to flood the area with divers and the navy.

But what they didn’t know was why the ship went down and who was onboard. Knowing more about those two areas of the mystery could help scientists discover more about the Mechanism and its potential uses.

The archaeologists are from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, an American research group that specializes in marine science and education.

It was their second expedition to the site of the famed shipwreck this year. The first, in May, yielded headline-making treasures, including gold jewelry and a bronze spear.

A similar expedition in 2015 found a bronze chair arm and a piece of a board game.

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