The oldest submerged town

Built on the third millennium BC – Bronze Age era

The Pavlopetri is a small island opposite the homonymous beach, next to Viglafia across from Elafonisos. Pavlopetri belongs administratively to Elafonisos.

In the area there are archaeological findings that indicating that the area was inhabited since ancient times. Between the island and the shore is an ancient submerged city , aged about 5 millenniums, which is the oldest submerged town that has been discovered. It is a unique city because it has a specific plan with streets, buildings and cemetery. Was discovered in 1967 by Nicholas Flemming and mapped in 1968 by a team from the University of Cambridge. There are at least 15 buildings in depth from 3 to 4 meters and at the recent 2009 survey revealed that extends to 9 acres. There was originally estimated that the city was built around 1600-1100BC. but later investigations revealed by the findings that the city was inhabited before 2800BC, at the beginning of the Bronze Age.

The fact that the city was submerged helped to maintain current findings since was not built again or after the destruction of the area to be used for agriculture. Although the physical destruction of the water over the centuries, the layout of the city is as it was thousands of years ago.

The 2009 survey made an important contribution to map the city. It is the first town that rebuilt digitally in three dimensions. The sonar mapping with techniques developed for military purposes, but also for finding oil deposits, helped the recent surveys.

From October 2009 onwards, four more field investigations are planned in collaboration of Greek services but also international universities and scientists. These investigations will include excavations. One of the results of the investigations was to prove that the city was the center of a thriving textile industry Also, many large jars were found from Crete, which reveals that the city was a major trading port

The work of the archaeological team gathered in a video documentary of BBC 2, The city beneath the waves: Pavlopetri, which was broadcast by BBC 2 in 2011.

On an area of 40 acres underwater, the remains of the settlement extend; foundation walls from buildings, roads, box-shaped tombs, and tombs carved into the natural rock are present. Other buildings are still buried under the sand.

Swimming over the settlement, you can see the stone foundations and the lower stone sections of the walls. The superstructure of the buildings, constructed with bricks and/or wooden beams, did not survive after the submersion of the settlement.

On the coast of Pounta lies the cemetery of the settlement with at least 60 tombs carved into the natural rock, dating from the Early to Late Bronze Age (ca. 2800-1180 BC). At the same location, a stone quarry was established during Roman times.

The archaeological site was included in the Interreg Mediterranean program and was funded to allow visitors to explore with simple equipment today.

Swimmers can follow the markings or explore freely. Selected points have underwater signs with information.

Markings 1-3: Buildings of the settlement

Marking 4: Chamber-like tombs

Markings 5-12: Roads and buildings of the settlement