SCIENCE

A Lost Ancient Greek Island May Have Been Found

Archaeologists believe they may have discovered the lost city of Kane -- the site of a major sea battle between Athens and Sparta.

The ancient Greek city of Kane was the site of the epic sea battle of Arginusae, which saw Athens crush Sparta in 406 BCE. Yet archaeologists weren’t exactly sure where this elusive island was located.

That is, until now.

An international team of archaeologists working with the German Archeological Institute think they may have stumbled upon Kane in the Aegean Sea, just off the coast of Turkey.

The ancient sea skirmish between the Athenians and Spartans happened towards the end of the 27-year Peloponnesian War, according to The Battle of Arginusae written by historian Debra Hamel. It was a bittersweet win for the Athenians. Due to a storm the commanders abandoned thousands of their shipwrecked men after the war -- as punishment six of them were executed and two were sent into exile on their return home.

The Battle of Arginusae was named for its close proximity to the “Arginus” islands, which are now called the Garip islands. Ancient texts always cited the Arginus islands as having three land masses, though there are only two located where the Garip islands are today. What happened to the third island has been a mystery.

 

Researchers may have found the ancient Greek city of Kane off Turkey's coast.
Researchers may have found the ancient Greek city of Kane off Turkey's coast.

Researchers wondered if a nearby peninsula was perhaps the missing island, so they drilled into it -- and they made an interesting discovery.

They found geological evidence that what is now a peninsula was once an island.

“It was not clear that these lands were actually the Arginus islands that we were looking for until our research,” Dr. Felix Pirson, from the German Archeological Institute, told Turkish newspaper Zaman. “By examining the geological samples obtained through the core-drill method, we recognized that the gap between the third Arginus island and the mainland was indeed filled with loose soil and rock, creating the existing peninsula.”

Researchers may have found the ancient Greek city of Kane off Turkey's coast.
Researchers may have found the ancient Greek city of Kane off Turkey's coast.

National Geographic reported that there are other factors that suggest the peninsula was once an island. Nearby, archaeologists unearthed submerged remains of an ancient harbor from the Hellenistic period, and Kane was located on a major trade route that had a large, secure harbor that could shelter ships from storms.

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