The Pavlopetri Project
In 2007 (almost 40 years after the original survey) a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Nottingham Dr Chrysanthi Gallou began a reassessment of the 1968 finds from Pavlopetri as part of her wider research on prehistoric Laconia. She began discussions with Dr Jon Henderson, then Director of the Underwater Archaeology Research Centre, also based within the Department, about the possibility of returning to the site to carry out further archaeological work.
In 2008 Dr Jon Henderson, Dr Chrysanthi Gallou and Dr N C Flemming visited the site and made a visual inspection of the ruins on the sea floor. The main outline of the building walls, streets and rock-cut tombs were still visible. Most of the submerged cist graves were damaged or disturbed. They quickly realised that new underwater survey work in collaboration with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture was needed to accurately assess the current state of preservation and identify the future level of threat to the site from waves and currents.
Diver over the remains of a domestic building at Pavlopetri
In 2009, through a British School of Archaeology at Athens permit, University of Nottingham began a collaborative project with the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture to further investigate the submerged remains at Pavlopetri. The project is set to last for five years and has the ultimate aim of defining the history and diachronic development of Pavlopetri. Through detailed digital underwater archaeological survey (2009-2010) and targeted underwater excavations (2011-2013), the Pavlopetri Underwater Archaeology Project will establish when the site was occupied, what it was used for and, through a systematic study of the geomorphology of the area, how the town became submerged.
A fundamental aim of the project is to promote the international significance of Pavlopetri ensuring its survival and protection for future generations. It is imperative that the fragile remains of this city are accurately recorded and preserved before they are lost forever. In the long term the local authorities in Neapolis in collaboration with the Pavlopetri team propose to establish an underwater archaeological park and a Centre of Public Awareness at Pavlopetri.