AP Photo/Elena Becatoros
An underwater museum.
NO DIVE BAR

Ancient Greek shipwrecks are now open for scuba diving

By Johnny Simon

A new frontier is opening in Greece for archaeology lovers—under the sea.

There are dozens and dozens of ancient submerged shipwrecks along the Greek coast, generally accessible to archaeologists but not the public. That all changes with the opening of the Peristera shipwreck near Alonissos, an island in the Aegean. The wreck, the remains of a cargo vessel that sank in the 5th century BC while carrying pottery and possibly wine, is one of four sites that a European Commission program has cleared for recreational divers.

Dives are being limited to a select few spots. Scuba diving was mostly banned throughout Greece for years, out of fear of divers destroying priceless historical sites.

These photos from April 7 show one of the first excursions to the Peristera wreck and the underwater bounty that was largely out of public sight for millennia.

AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris
Archeologists Dimitris Kourkoumelis and Elpida Hadjidaki brief divers before first visit to the 5th century BC shipwreck.
AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris
Kourkoumelis prepares to dive.
AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris
A photo of the 3,500 amphoras, a type of clay jar, lying on the seabed near a 5th century BC shipwreck.
AP Photo/Elena Becatoros
The historical site is the first of its kind officially open to the public.
AP Photo/Elena Becatoros
Scuba diving was banned throughout the country except in a few specific locations until 2005, for fear divers might loot the countless antiquities.
AP Photo/Elena Becatoros
A closer view of the amphoras at the bottom of the sea at the site of the 5th century BC shipwreck.
AP Photo/Elena Becatoros
More amphoras at the bottom of the sea.
AP Photo/Elena Becatoros
The Peristera shipwreck is one of four to open in Greece, with plans to expand the European Commission program into Italy and Croatia.