Greece’s culture ministry has announced plans to open to visitors some of the country’s vast heritage of ancient shipwrecks, aiming to boost the economies of nearby islands. Alonissos is where the first such shipwreck site will be developed, a 5th-century BC merchant ship named the Peristera. The Peristera shipwreck, which contains 3,000 (wine) amphorae, is one of the most important of the Classical Era.
According to Greek archaeologists, the discovery demonstrates a knowledge of shipbuilding previously thought non-existant before the Roman era some four centuries later. Greek waters hold scores of ancient shipwrecks, around 60 alone are known to be found near the Aegean islet of Fourni according to the culture ministry. But fears of looting and organisational problems have for decades prevented the Greek culture ministry from opening the sites to visitors.