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Message Board > Reminder - Sydney Uni Talk, this Wednesday - Mentor Shipwreck - Which Sank off Kythera in 1802 Carrying 17 Crates of Parthenon Marbles

19576: Reminder - Sydney Uni Talk, this Wednesday - Mentor Shipwreck - Which Sank off Kythera in 1802 Carrying 17 Crates of Parthenon Marbles

submitted by John Fardoulis on 05.12.2011

This is reminder about the talk at Sydney University on Wednesday night.

We’ll be showing exclusive footage shot on the wreck.

A flyer is here:

A link to coverage from the ERT NET morning program is here:

More information is below.



Underwater Exploration of Historic Proportions

The tale of the Mentor shipwreck is an interesting one.
It was a vessel that sank off the Southern Greek island of Kythera, after taking water between Greece and Malta, limping back to the port of Avlemonas (then known as San Nicolò Bay), foundering on September 17th, 1802 a few decades after the First Fleet arrived in Australia.

The first historically significant element about this voyage was that the small Brig, Mentor was carrying 16 crates of Parthenon Sculptures and an ancient marble throne, removed from Athens by employees of Lord Elgin Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin and 11th Earl of Kincardine .

Elgin’s people removed about half the marble sculptures from the top of the Parthenon in the early 1800’s while Greece was under Ottoman occupation. These sculptures were then acquired by the British Museum where they currently reside in London today. Greece is campaigning for their return, a separate matter in its own right.

Perhaps it was the God Poseidon who wrecked the Mentor, in the attempt to halt priceless ancient treasures from leaving Hellenic waters. But that’s more like mythology than history.

The next brush with history this wreck faced was in relation to diving and salvage history. Greek sponge divers recovered the 16 crates of Parthenon Sculptures and marble throne in 1803 and 1804 – holding their breath and swimming down into the wreck to attach ropes on crates each dive.

173 years later, Captain Jacques Yves Cousteau steamed into the wreck’s history, with his own attempt at searching for signs of any remaining antiquities on the sea floor, just off Kythera. Finds were minimal, so the crew moved on...
Two separate Greek teams visited the wreck in 1980 and 2009, finding objects from the vessel and crew but results were inconclusive regarding if any ancient antiquities remained.

And finally this year, when in July, after two years of planning, a team from Greece’s Ephorate for Underwater Antiquities (Underwater Archaeological Service) conducted pilot excavations under the direction of Dr. Dimitris Kourkoumelis, assisted by two Kytherian-Australians; John Fardoulis & Maritime Archaeologist Cosmos Coroneos.

An airlift was setup and the team excavated a small section of the wreck, recovering three ancient coins, which were either part of Elgin’s cargo, or transported by the crew. A wide range of late 18th/early 19th Century objects such as pistols, a pocket compass with gold chain, musket balls, variety of pottery/crockery, wine bottles and other items from the ship and crew were also recovered.

John and Cosmos are presenting a public talk at Sydney University about the wreck of the Mentor on Wednesday December 7th, detailing its history and sharing insight about the 2011 underwater excavation.

Extensive underwater video and images will be shown.

When: Wednesday, December 7th. 7pm for a 7.30pm start
Where: University of Sydney, New Law School Lecture Theatre 101
Cost: A $5 donation toward the project
RSVP: Please call Kathy Samios on 9349 1849 or email to reserve your seat. It's going to be popular, so get in early!

For more information on the Mentor project see:
A flyer can be downloaded here:

The event is on Facebook here:

The talk is being generously supported by the Kytherian Association of Australia, in conjunction with the Sydney Friends of the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens.
Excavations have been supported by the Nicholas Anthony Aroney Trust & Kytherian Association of Australia.
Refreshments are being sponsored by Fardoulis Chocolates

submitted by
George Poulos
on 06.12.2011

19583:This presentation is very SPECIAL.

Do not miss it!

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