Hellenic Institute of Marine Archaeology


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The Hellenic Institute of Marine Archaeology (HIMA) was founded in 1973 as a private, non-profit organisation. Its main aim is to organise and promote maritime archaeological research in Greece and to assist the Greek Archaeological Service. It has over 400 members, with diverse academic credentials, all of whom work voluntarily. HIMA's scientific and technical expertise provides a solid background for the promotion of underwater archaeology in Greece and beyond. Its non-governmental status gives HIMA an advantageous flexibility not shared by bureaucratic governmental organisations.

HIMA's multifaceted scientific activities include: Underwater surveys and excavations; Publications; Training; International cooperative projects.

From 1973 until 1989 HIMA completed numerous small projects such as a survey and rescue excavations. From 1989 to 1992, under the direction of Dr. George Papathanassopoulos, HIMA has systematically investigated an Early Helladic II underwater site at the island of Dokos. On the evidence gathered to date the underwater find of Dokos is dated to ca. 2150 BC and might well constitute the cargo of an Early Helladic II ship. It could therefore prove to be the oldest known shipwreck yet discovered.

The wreck at Point Iria, in the Argolid, was excavated from 1990 to 1994 under the direction of Haralambos Pennas. The cargo from the wreck, consisted of pottery from 3 different areas (Crete, Cyprus, and mainland Greece) is dated to 1200 BC. It confirms the apparently frequent and direct links between the Argolid and Cyprus at the time, and represents an "everyday” trading expedition within the Mycenaean world.

The shipwreck from the islet of Antidragonera, near Kythira (4th cent. BC), has been excavated since 1993 under the direction of Dr. Dimitris Kourkoumelis. Finds to date include 9 large stone anchors, amphoras and at least two storage pithoi.

HIMA publishes the scientific journal ENALIA (in Greek) and ENALIA Annual (in English).

More than 50 young scientists have been trained to date in maritime archaeology through the Institute's excavation campaigns and training programmes.

HIMA maintains close cooperative links with institutions and scholars throughout Europe and worldwide. Current projects supported by the European Union include study, publication and display of the Point Iria shipwreck in the museum of Spetses and the Navis I computerised shipwreck image database. Further information and bibliographical references can be obtained from the Hellenic Institute of Marine Archaeology, 4 Al. Soutsou Street, 106 71 Athens, Greece.

Caption: Archaeologist Yannis Vichos, field director of the Dokos project, is holding in situ an Early Helladic sauce boat.