Ancient shipwrecks in Methoni
The Galera with the Granite Columns
The ancient shipwreck in Methoni is known as “the columns” and it lies at a depth of approximately 10 meters, at the Spitha Cape of Sapientza. The columns are scattered over an area of approximately 30 m². Some of the columns are located on the bottom next to each other, as they would probably be on the the sunken ship, while other pieces are scattered. They have been identified 34 parts of cut columns, of which only one is whole and has a height of 8 m and a diameter of 0.90 meters.
It is said that the columns of the ancient shipwreck in Methoni came from the ancient city of Caesarea, in the area of Palestine. During the first crusade and after the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099, the colonnade of Caesarea was destroyed to its foundations and was smuggled, along with other archaeological treasures, by the Venetians with ships to the West. However, at least one of the ships, which carried among other antiquities twelve granite columns of Caesarea, sank in the Strait of Methoni and is identified with these findings.
Shipwreck of Sarcophagi
North of the island of Sapientza at a short distance from the wreck of the columns, a second ancient shipwreck of Methoni was found at a depth of 15 m. The load consists of stone sarcophagi with their lids. Except for one, which it was probably cut apart during the sinking of the ship, the other are intact, with dimensions 2,20 x 0,80 m. They bear identical reliefs with garlands and they are dated to the 3rd century AD.
The site of the ancient shipwrecks of Methoni is intended to serve as the first underwater and open to visitors archaeological site in Greece.