In the bay of Agioi Theodoroi in the area of Kokkini Chani, on the eastern end of the large beach of Vathianos Kampos, near the Minoan Palace of Nirou Chani, an important archaeological finding was discovered. In particular, carved rocks and bases of Minoan buildings on the coast and at the bottom of the sea were found. All the findings prove that at this place, there was a large quarry at first and a shipyard and a large export port for the Minoans later. Even today, parts of incomplete processed rocks are distinguished, as well as parts of the coast without rocks indicating that this site was a quarry. Mining is also visible in the small rocky islet at the north of the bay, a few meters away from the coast.
In 1926-27, the archaeologist S. Marinatos first excavated the coastal area and found that it was probably a Minoan shipyard. Today, the old coastline is submerged at 1.90-2 meters deep, according to the underwater research done in the area.
More specifically, during the underwater research by the researcher Minas Tsikritsis and the geologist Stelios Manolioudis, there were found that there are two artificial carvings resembling tanks and that this was the place for the Minoan Shipyard. The large northeastern carving is 48 x 12 meters in size and its maximum depth at about 1.8 meters.
The size of the infrastructure itself suggests that ships that could reach 40-50 meters in length and 10 meters in width could be built there. The presence of a carving next to the large tank that was probably used for the ships when they were ready to get at the sea is also noteworthy. The carving was flooded with water when the new ship was ready in order to be lifted and released safely into the sea. On the southern side of the carving, there is a stair measuring 18m x 6m with interesting carved elements –it was probably a wood storage area and everything else needed for shipbuilding.
The area has sunk in two different phases and thus the carved parts are found almost in the form they had when they were in use. The carved channels that end up in the two tanks possibly indicate the water use and boat slip technology like today's one.
As evidenced by the various findings across the Mediterranean, the Minoan fleet of ships was the most powerful fleet in the ancient world. Ships built in large shipyards, such as the Minoan Shipyard of Agioi Theodoroi in Vathianos Kampos, loaded with timber, honey, wine, vases and oil, sailed from the ports of Dia, Katsaba, Komos, Zakros, Psiras, Mochlos, Nirou, Petras in all directions of the Mediterranean and possibly in Scandinavia. The existence of shipbuilding, loading of goods etc. in this area was also inscribed to signs of Linear B found in Knossos Palace.
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