A 5,000-year-old city under the sea

Not far from Sparta, Greece, is a beach with a small island across it, called Pavlopetri. The name has been given by archaeologists to a submerged, bronze-age city discovered there in 1967. The city is believed to have been inhabited from as early as 2,800 BCE and was contemporary to the Minoan and later the Mycenean civilisation.

Under 9-12 feet of water, lie buildings large and small , extending over several acres. Finds such as numerous pithoi (huge storage pots) show it to have been a busy commercial port, whereas many loom weights testify to the existence of a thriving textile industry. The city was permanently submerged approximately 1,000 years BCE for unknown reasons, possibly an earthquake or tsunami.

As it was never again inhabited, it lay undisturbed, which explains the excellent  preservation of its exquisite street layout and complex canal network. These have been reconstructed with the aid of sonar mapping and digital 3D techniques, to create an impressive visual recreation of a vibrant city, lost for centuries.

Watch the documentary, if you have the time, it’s really worth it.


The Olympic Flame ceremony (video)

The dress rehearsal of the ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics. Exactly the same as the official one, minus the VIPs.

No, this is not what the ceremony looked like in ancient times. It is just an idealised version of what ancient dances might have looked like, but with a few concessions to modern aesthetics (such as the tank tops of the male dancers) and morals (in antiquity the men would have danced naked).