Roman empire: ‘Secrets’ of ancient Biblical Corinthians uncovered in underwater excavation | Science | News

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For Christians, the ancient Greek city of Corinth holds Biblical significance as two letters from Jesus’ disciple Paul feature in the Bible’s New Testament – Corinthians 1 and Corinthians 2.

According to the Christian Bible , Paul is also said to have visited the ancient city while it was under Roman rule.

In this latest discovery the LHP uncovered traces of Roman engineering and ancient buildings at the now underwater ancient Corinth port of Lechaion.

The port, located on the gulf of Corinth, was previously one of two that connected the city to trade networks in the region that allowed the area to flourish.

Kenchreai, the other harbour, is located across the narrow Isthmus of Corinth on the Aegean Sea.

Bjørn Lovén, the director of the project, stated: “For almost two decades I have been hunting for the perfect archaeological context where all the organic material normally not found on land is preserved.

“The potential for more unique discoveries is mind blowing.”

Corinth was destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC during a conquest of Greece but the area was then rebuilt along with its harbours in 44 BC.

Under the leadership of Julius Caesar, the region become home to one of the most important ports in the eastern Mediterranean due to its fundamental location.

A Greek proverb previously stated that “not everyone can afford to go to Corinth”, demonstrating the luxury of the region that prospered affluently.

The archaeologists also believe they have uncovered the remains of an ancient lighthouse which was depicted on coins from that time.

Rubble for another monument was also discovered – however, archaeologists have so far been unable to confirm its exact purpose, some have suggested that it was religious in nature.

Guy Sanders, who previously lead projects at Corinth, said: “The island monument was destroyed by an earthquake between 50 and 125 AD.

“It may well be the first evidence of the earthquake of circa AD 70 under the emperor Vespasian mentioned in ancient literary sources.”

The port of Lechaion was hit by a deadly earthquake in the 6th or early 7th century AD – however wooden foundations in the area are well preserved in addition to artefacts that include fishing lines and hooks, ceramics and wooden pulleys.

The project discovered that blocks weighing in at five-tons were used to separate basins within the port and were held up by wooden structures – excavations in the area started in 2015 by the LHP.

Layers of sediment allowed ancient materials such as wood and bones to be preserved to an incredible standard – with only minor signs of decay despite their vast age.

The earthquake that struck the region is a reason for the sediment that has become fundamental in painting a more detailed picture of the region.

Samples from the sediment revealed a new basin in the harbour that was previously undiscovered – the plethora of new research is set to cast incredible details on the area that saw vast changes during its use.

The LHP is a collaboration of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities in Greece, the Danish Institute of Athens and the University of Copenhagen.

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