If you’re staying in Athens then you will almost certainly visit the world famous National Museum and so have your breath pleasurably taken from you as you marvel at the treasures of Greece‘s glorious past. As this stupendous collection seems to have been pillaged from every local museum across Greece you might be forgiven for thinking that those other museums must have nothing more to present than empty shelves and little cards indicating, with some apology, that said artefact has been moved to Athens. Astonishingly though, even more wonders await the more intrepid traveller, in this case just down the road in nearby Piraeus.
The Zea Harbour Project (ZHP) is a combined land and underwater archaeological investigation of the ancient harbours of Zea and Mounichia in the Piraeus (Athens’ harbour city) in Greece. Launched in 2002 under the auspices of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, the 26th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities (until 2009) and the Danish Institute at Athens, ZHP’s mission is to survey, excavate, and publish the archaeological remains of the ancient naval bases of the Piraeus. The Carlsberg Foundation has funded the project since 2004. In this interview, James Blake Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia speaks with Dr. Bjørn Lovén, Associate Fellow in Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southern Denmark, and director of the ZHP.