Pavlopetri - Pounta
On the seabed ust off the coast at Pounta beach lie the ruins of the world’s oldest sunken city, stretching all the way across to the little islet of Pavlopetri. At depths of just three to four metres, traces of at least 15 buildings are visible. Recent surveys show that the ruins lie over an area measuring at least four hectares. Among the buildings, small graves used for the burial of infants have been found, dating from the second millenium BC. A cemetery of graves carved out of the rock can be seen on the beach.
The city was founded around 3,500 BC and was in use until the destruction of the palaces of Mycenae. There is evidence that the ancient settlement engaged in trade with Kythera, Crete and the islands of the Cyclades. Finally abandoned in 1180 BC for unknown reasons, the site was used during the 17th and 18th centuries by pirates as a base for their raids.
An initial exploration of the site was carried out in 1968 by a group of archaeologists from Cambridge University. Since 2009 a team of archaeologists and oceanographers from the University of Nottingham has been investigating the site in cooperation with Greek authorities.
The nearest village, Viglafia, lies 12.2 km from Neapoli. From there it is just a short distance to the stunning sandy beach at Pounta, backed by sand dunes. The sea here is perfect for windsurfing, among other sports. The archaeological site can be seen using nothing more than swimming goggles and snorkels.
Watch the BBC’s 2011 video City Beneath the Waves:Pavlopetri.