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Ancient Cities Lost Under the Aegean Sea in Greece

lost cities Greece

The idea of ancient cities lost underwater for centuries might seem like something out of a movie. After all, the legend of Atlantis has inspired countless myths.

However, as the discovery of the real city of Troy shocked the archaeological world in 1871, who had assumed the story of this massive urban center to be a legend, it turns out sometimes myths can be real.

This might explain the many ancient lost cities discovered under the beautiful waters of the Aegean Sea in Greece.

Sitting on the ocean floor, thousands of years old, containing remnants of one of the oldest civilizations in the world. The discovery of these cities listed below has intrigued explorers around the world. Perhaps some of history’s biggest legends will also, one day, be discovered to be real.

The Lost City of Kane

Lost City of Kane
Location of Lost City of Kane/Credit: Google Maps

The city of Kane was a crucial war site during the Peloponnesian War. Greek historian Xenophon spoke about a massive naval battle in the sea of Arginusae, when Athens landed a decisive victory against the Spartans in the Peloponnesian War.

This ancient city supposedly lay on one of the three Arginusae islands. However, for centuries, no one found traces of Kane, or even the island it supposedly sat on in the far eastern Aegean.

In 2015, a team of archaeologists and geophysicists working near the Garip islands off the coast of Turkey discovered that the historic island may have been under their nose the whole time.

The experts determined that at some point in the Middle Ages, a land bridge formed between one of the original Arginusae islands and the shore through earthquakes or erosion. So in fact, the peninsula they currently sat on was the long-lost third island.

Kane was a small but important trade city in ancient times between the Black Sea and the coast of modern-day Turkey. After realizing the importance of their discovery, archaeologists looked around the peninsula to find a submerged ancient harbor from the Hellenistic period (323 B.C. to 31 B.C.).

Furthermore, they discovered pottery shards from ancient faraway trade routes, as well as microorganisms native to the Black Sea in this sunken city.

The Unnamed Bronze Age Metropolis

Bronze Age lost city Aegean
Fortified walls remains of a sunken Bronze Age city/Credit: Ancient Origins

Sometimes archaeologists find lost cities underwater that they weren’t even looking for. Like with the Bronze Age site found in the Argolic Gulf off the coast of the Peloponnese.

A team of experts from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, University of Geneva, and Swiss School of Archaeology were looking for remnants of the oldest village in Europe.

They were hoping for a tiny 8,000-year-old town. Instead, they found a 12-acre settlement approximately 4,500 years old. The settlement had stone defensive structures, paved surfaces, towers, and many other artifacts.

Archaeologists stated that these defensive structures were more complex than any seen in Bronze Age ruins. For this reason, they believe they found a city ahead of its time.

As University of Geneva Professor Julien Beck stated, the foundations were “of a massive nature, unknown in Greece until now.”

This indicates there might be a lot more depth and complexity to ancient Greek civilization than we know.

Pavlopetri: A Possible Atlantis?

Pavlopetri, an underwater ancient Greek city

Greek Reporter recently published an article on the city of Pavlopetri, discovered off the southern tip of the Peloponnese.

The city lies just 13 feet (around 4 meters) underwater. Archaeologists have recreated what the 5,000 year old city may have looked like using modern technology. This has led them to realize that the sunken lost city was a quite complex urban center at its time.

Experts estimate Pavlopetri was built around 3,000 BC, and sunk around 1,100 BC due to earthquakes common to this region. This timeline is why archaeologists have found the city to be extremely significant.

Pavlopetri is the only found underwater city that sunk before Plato’s story of Atlantis.

Archaeologists marveled at the city’s sophisticated urban planning. Pavlopetri had roads, two-story houses with gardens, a water management system, and even a central town square.

As manager of the Pavlopetri Underwater Archaeology Project, Dr. Jon Henderson said, “there are older sunken sites in the world but none can be considered to be planned towns such as this, which is why it is unique.”

Can More Lost Cities Be Found?

The incredibly long history of Greek civilization in the Aegean sea means many ancient underwater cities may be lying out there in wait. Over the years, earthquakes and erosion have led to many ancient towns sliding into the water.

Despite all our modern technology, only 1% of the ocean floor has been surveyed. Imagine how many sunken cities still layout there, with fascinating glimpses into ancient history, waiting to be found.

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