Naval Harbour of Thasos

The island of Thasos in northern Greece was colonized by the inhabitants of Paros island at the beginning of the seventh century BC, around 680 BC. Constructed during the 6th century BC, the military harbour of Thasos is in a remarkable state of preservation. The substructure has survived since antiquity and can still be seen today from the surface of the sea. Thasos was known from the beginning of the 6th century for its war fleet, as attested by Herodotus. Pliny the Elder even states that the Thasians were pioneers in nautical architecture, being the first to develop a deck on their triremes. The aim of our project is to realise an interdisciplinary publication that will bring together several specialists alongside archaeologists and architects in order to understand this Archaic-era port, a unique military harbour in the Eastern Mediterranean.

A series of eight underwater excavation campaigns were conducted on the port of Thasos between 1984 and 1992 in a collaboration between the EFA and the Underwater Ephorate of the Greek Ministry of Culture. As general secretary of the EFA, an archaeologist and a qualified diver, I co-directed these excavations with Aglaia Archontidou and then Angeliki Simossi as my Greek counterparts. The architectural survey was undertaken by Anton Kozelj and Nikos Lianos. We published around a dozen scientific reports and articles in periodicals such as the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology and the Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique as a means of presenting the gradual progress of our work and the results obtained (see attached list). The current task is to deliver a definitive publication that will be as comprehensive as possible, including, on the one hand, an architectural analysis of the port, and on the other, a study of the artefacts discovered during the excavations.

The director of the publication project is Dr. Jean-Yves Empereur