direct to content


stepping stones of maritime history



Discovered in 1900 by sponge divers of point Glyphadia Antikythera. The Roman wreck produced statues dating back to the 4th century BC, as well as the world's oldest known analog computer, the Antikythera mechanism.

Antikythera wreck

The Antikythera mechanism.

Spoils of war

The most famous statue is the Antikythera Ephebe. Two other Epheboi were retrieved, one Kore, a philosophers head, two statues of Herakles, four Apollo's, one Odyseus, one Achilleus and one Philoktetes. The remains of 4 horses, 1 quadriga and many more fragments were also found. The rich cargo suggest that, like the Mahdia wreck off shore Tunisia the Antikythera wreck was used by the Romans to ship spoils from Greece to Italy.

The date of sinking suggests a war around 80 BC. Maybe the 1st or 2nd Mithridatic war. Pontus was sacked and numerous statues and other spoils shipped to Italy after the conquest by Licinius Lucullus.

Mithridates VI of Pontus (120-63 BC)

Mithridates VI was king of Pontus and expanded his kingdom from 88 BC into the Roman sphere of influence. He conquered Asia minor and even a part of Greece with Athens (88-85 BC first Mithridatic war). He was very successful because the Roman occupation was considered very harsh. The first Mithridatic war ended with a Roman victory in 85 BC.

The Ephebe of Antikythera

The Ephebe, dated by its style to about 340 BC, is one of the most brilliant products of Peloponnesan bronze sculpture; the individuality and character it displays have encouraged speculation on its possible sculptor: perhaps it is the work of the famous sculptor Euphranor in the Polycleitan tradition, who did make a sculpture of Paris, according to Pliny major. It was the first of the series of Greek bronze sculptures that the Aegean and Mediterranean yielded up in the twentieth century which have fundamentally altered the modern view of Ancient Greek sculpture.

Antikythera wreck

The Ephebe of Antikythera.


Roman cargo vessel probably a corbita. ca. 300 tons.

The ship yielded remains of the hull planks. The hull was made using mortise and tenon joints and the planks were pinned with copper nails. This proved that the shiphad been built by Romans.

At least one plank of the ship dated to 220 BC + / - 43.

Wether the ship itself was also built in this period or the sample comes from a reused plank is unclear.

A Roman corbita.

Down on 17 May

New in MaSS

Wrecks of Flevoland

Burgzand Noord

13 Provinces