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Peristera Shipwreck

Ikiondiving / Dive Sites / Peristera Shipwreck

Peristera Shipwreck

Info

Everything you need to know before visiting the wreck of Peristera in Alonissos.

 

The ship was a large commercial vessel that sank around 425 BC while carrying thousands of wine amphorae. Today it lies at a depth of 25 meters (80 feet) near the Greek island of Alonissos, right off the islet of Peristera, in the Aegean Sea. Since August 2020, the site is accessible to recreational divers, making it Greece’s first underwater museum.

 

Imagine if you could live a great story from Classical Antiquity and bear witness to the ancient history unfolding before your eyes. Or even better:

What if it was possible to observe the National Marine Park of Alonissos wildlife and explore an underwater cultural heritage site considered one of the world’s most incredible places in 2021.

All on the same day.

Before planning to dive in Greece’s ancient wreck, there are a few things that might help you make the most of your adventure.

 

What do we know about the ship?

 

The shipwreck of Peristera was discovered accidentally in 1985 by a local fisherman, and underwater archaeologists began extensive excavations in the 1990s.

The merchant ship was loaded with jars of wine from Chalkidiki, northern Greece, and Peparithos, modern-day Skopelos island. The destination of the vessel was most likely Athens, and it sailed during the fifth century BC. Classical Greece; for the sake of context, it was the period that the Athenian theaters were playing Sophocles‘ tragedies, and the philosopher Socrates was raising questions about politics and natural order. Perhaps the wine contained in the ship’s amphorae was destined to be consumed by the attendees at a banquet organized by a famous Athenian. Today, the boat’s wooden frame has long been disappeared, and the amphorae are beautifully scattered on the seabed.

 

Why is Peristera shipwreck so important?

 

Besides the site’s scenic value, the wreck shifted our understanding of the ancient world’s shipbuilding techniques. Marine archaeologists revealed a significant discovery in terms of the technology used to construct the ship. Before discovering the shipwreck, the size of this barge was thought to have been introduced by the Romans 3 centuries after the final voyage of the Peristera ship. The size of the wreckage proves that Greek shipbuilding technologies were ahead of their time. It’s thought to be one of the most significant shipwrecks ever found in the Mediterranean Sea, and it can tell us about aspects of history otherwise not known. The archaeological excavation is still ongoing, and experts still have a lot to learn from the shipwreck of Peristera.

 

What caused the ship to sink?

 

This is the major unanswered question that still troubles researchers. Some clues point to a fire on board, although a storm or even a pirate attack have not been excluded. It’s unlikely ever to be able to know why the ship fell into the abyss of History.

 

How can you explore the marine site?

 

Dive to Peristera Underwater Museum

 

The good news is that the shipwreck is open to the public. The Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities allows certified scuba divers (min. level of Advanced Diver) to visit on a guided tour through a licensed local Dive Center, issuing special permits. Note that adequate experience and excellent buoyancy are needed for a diver to participate, which can be assessed with a preparatory first dive along with the minimum certification requirements.

Scuba divers approaching Peristera wreck's jars in display

Scuba divers approaching Peristera wreck’s jars in display

Skip paperwork and save time with Ikion Dive Center in Alonissos, an accredited dive center that organizes guided tours. Ikion Dive Center is located in Steni Vala, the designated check-in/out point for all visitors – the most convenient place to dive to Peristera’s wreck from, just one nautical mile away from the dive site.

Embark on an extraordinary journey to discover a 2500 years old wreck and call yourself lucky to be one of the first visitors.

Get in touch with us to book your dive!

 

 

Info
Location: South-west of Peristera island
Diver level: Advanced diver
Max depth: 28m
Course depth: 20-25m
Visibility: Very good
Average water temperature: 17C -24C
Point of interest: shipwreck, amphoras, underwater museum