"Ikaria and the west coast of Samos have no harbors or anchorages, so Fourni is the safest place that ships could stop in the area," Campbell said.
It was the first time that an underwater archaeological expedition was organized to the islands. Archaeologists from the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and RPM Nautical Foundation worked with local sponge divers, fishermen, and free divers, and were more than surprised by the results.
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Funding was provided by the Honor Frost Foundation, a UK charity that supports research in the eastern Mediterranean through an endowment from pioneer maritime archaeologist Honor Frost.
"In a typical survey we locate four or five shipwrecks per season in the best cases," Greek director George Koutsouflakis said.
"We expected a successful season, but no one was prepared for this. Shipwrecks were found literally everywhere."
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Over half of the wrecks date to the Late Roman Period (circa 300-600 A.D.). Overall, the shipwrecks span from the Archaic Period (700-480 B.C.) to the Classical (480-323 B.C.) and Hellenistic (323-31 B.C.) through the Late Medieval Period (16th century).