The Cyprus Mail recently reported that the well-known Kyrenia Shipwreck, a 2,300-year-old wreck excavated off Cyprus’ northern shore during the late 1960s, is rotting away. “The wreck and its associated relics,” they explain, “today face permanent damage from neglect and decay.”
The wreck had been the darling of the underwater archaeology community until the Turkish invasion of 1974, consigning the shipwreck to “an awkward state.” Since then, the wreck has laid in a leaking 400-year-old castle with one laboring air conditioner.
The future for this archaeological treasure seems dim; politics and fiscal austerity seem to be intractable hurdles. Even so the Kyrenia Shipwreck Collection Restoration Programme, headed by Dr Matthew Harpster, continues its uphill battle to “protect and revitalise” the collection. Best of luck–public awareness is an essential first step. Let’s hope the Cyprus and the archaeology world act to preserve this priceless piece of world heritage.