You’ll find wrecks from different vintages in the list that follows, but there are other places to look for submerged history. These are hidden places, where the natural decomposition processes have been blocked by water.
So here’s my guide to scuba diving (or snorkelling) time travel, which began 5,000 years ago in ancient Greece.
Pavlopetri City, Peloponnese, Greece (3000 BC)
The vast underwater ruins of Pavlopetri are believed to be around 5,000 years old, making it the oldest known underwater city. The site is shallow, bathed in the clear water and the bright sun of the Ionian Sea. As this is an ancient site, all signs of settlement have been encompassed in what initially looks like a series of shallow reefs and ravines. Yet even to the untrained eye, it becomes evident that the row of raised walls, avenues and enclosures represent the remains of a bygone civilization. First discovered by marine geo-archaeologist Dr Nicholas Flemming in 1967, the city is believed to have been inundated by the first of three earthquakes. The region could never be resettled, so what remains in this azure water represents a frozen snapshot of its time.
Dive: Due to the site’s designation as a Unesco Park, full scuba gear is not allowed. No problem, as all you need for the Shallow Ruins is a mask, fins, and a snorkel. You can go to the site at Pavlopetri Beach and just take a walk in the water, but remember the strict rule – don’t touch any structures or artifacts
Amphora wrecks, Croatia (200 AD)
When Roman-era ships sank in Mediterranean storms, their wooden hulls and decks were eaten away by shipworms, leaving clusters of amphorae piled up. These large ceramic vessels were used to transport olive oil, wine, and fish sauce which the Romans used as a hot relish.
The north side of Host, an island in Vis Bay, has two amphorae wrecks dating from the 2nd century. Although a good number of large pots have shattered during storms, their formation evokes the space they once occupied in the ghost hold of the wooden ship that has now rotted.