Europe’s oldest village sought under Greek bay
PlanetSolar press officer Julia Tames walks across the deck of the MS Turanor PlanetSolar, the world’s largest solar-powered boat, moored at Zea Harbor, in Athens, on Tuesday Aug. 5, 2014. The 35-meter (115-foot) vessel is in Greece to take part in a Swiss-Greek underwater archaeology project to survey the seabed off a major prehistoric site, in hope of finding traces of what could be one of the earliest villages in Europe. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
The world’s largest solar-powered boat has arrived in southern Greece to participate in an ambitious underwater survey that will seek traces of what could be one of the oldest human settlements in Europe.
The Swiss-Greek project starts next week and archaeologists hope it will shed new light on how the first farming communities spread through the continent.
Working near a major prehistoric site, they will investigate a bay aptly called Kiladha—Greek for valley. The area was once dry land and archaeologists operating off the MS Turanor PlanetSolar hope it may contain sunken remains of buildings from Neolithic times, when farming started, about 9,000 years ago.
Mission leader Julien Beck, from the University of Geneva, said Tuesday the team picked Kiladha Bay because it laps on Greece’s oldest and most important Neolithic site, the Franchthi Cave.
The cave was inhabited on and off for about 35,000 years—from 40,000 years ago when the first anatomically modern humans appeared, until mankind started using metal tools.