The Greek Ministry of Culture announced plans to open Greece’s vast array of ancient shipwrecks to visitors in hopes that it will boost the local economies of nearby islands.
“The aim is to open important underwater monuments to visitors in the next two years,” the ministry said in a statement.
The first shipwreck site will be opened on the island of Alonissos, where a 5th-century BC merchant ship named the Peristera was discovered.
The Peristera is named after the uninhabited islet where a fisherman spotted it approximately 40 years ago. The shipwreck contains nearly 3,000 wine amphorae.
Archaeologists say the discovery shows that ancient Greeks had a knowledge of shipbuilding previously thought non-existent before the Roman era — which began 400 years later.
Dozens of ancient shipwrecks are currently in Greece’s waters. Close to 60 have been found near the Aegean islet of Fourni, according to the Greek Ministry of Culture.
The ministry has long hesitated to open such sites to visitors due to fears of looting and other organizational problems.
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