Greece: Ancient wrecks, pottery found at ships’ ‘graveyard’

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This undated handout photo provided by the Greek Culture Ministry on Monday, Oct. 15 , 2018, shows a diver searches on the seabed near the island of Fourni. (AP)
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This undated handout photo provided by the Greek Culture Ministry on Monday, Oct. 15 , 2018, divers inspect items on the seabed from an ancient shipwreck discovered off the island of Fourni. (AP)
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This undated handout photo provided by the Greek Culture Ministry on Monday, Oct. 15 , 2018, showing items on the seabed from an ancient shipwreck discovered off the island of Fourni. (AP)
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This undated handout photo provided by the Greek Culture Ministry on Monday, Oct. 15 , 2018, shows a man holding a 2nd-century A.D. terracotta lamp with the incised name of its maker, the Corinthian artisan Octavius, on the base, one of a group found on the seabed off the island of Fourni. (AP)
Updated 23 October 2018
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Greece: Ancient wrecks, pottery found at ships’ ‘graveyard’

  • The five new finds, all trading ships, raise to 58 the total number of ancient, mediaeval and more recent wrecks located since 2015 around the lobster-shaped Fourni complex

ATHENS, Greece: A Greek-US team of marine archaeologists has located three more ancient shipwrecks with pottery cargoes, including 1,900-year-old branded designer lamps, and two from much later times in a rich graveyard of ships in the eastern Aegean Sea, a project official said Tuesday.
All were found last month off Fourni island and its surrounding islets that lie at the junction of two main ancient shipping routes, in notoriously treacherous waters between the larger islands of Ikaria and Samos.
The older wrecks date to the 4th and 2nd centuries B.C. and the 5th-6th centuries A.D., while the more recent ones are from the 18th or 19th century, said archaeologist George Koutsouflakis, joint leader of the project.
He said they were discovered at depths of 10-40 meters (33-130 feet). Because that is relatively shallow, the wrecks bore traces of looting by illegal antiquities hunters or of damage by fishing nets.
The five new finds, all trading ships, raise to 58 the total number of ancient, mediaeval and more recent wrecks located since 2015 around the lobster-shaped Fourni complex. Two of its 13 islets bear the ominous name Anthropofas, or Man-eater, in reference to the seamen who drowned off them.
The project started in 2015, in cooperation with the US-based RPM Nautical Foundation, a non-profit organization involved in several Mediterranean underwater projects. Archaeologists received significant help from local fishermen, who provided information on wreck sites.
Apart from the cargoes of amphorae — jars that contained wine, oil and foodstuffs — found in September, divers also recovered a group of 2nd-century A.D. terracotta lamps, incized with the names of the Corinthian artisans who made them, Octavius and Lucius.
They may have been slave workers who later gained their freedom and set up their own pottery workshops, a Greek Culture Ministry statement said.
The project is planned to continue over the next five years, the ministry said.


Bollywood’s Amitabh Bachchan becomes farmers’ star after clearing loans

Updated 21 November 2018
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Bollywood’s Amitabh Bachchan becomes farmers’ star after clearing loans

  • Farmers and other agriculture workers together make up about half India’s 1.3 billion people
  • Bachchan wrote in his blog this week that he had helped 1,398 farmers from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and felt a ‘sense of accomplishment’

CHENNAI, India: Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan was hailed on Wednesday as a star of India’s farmers after clearing loans worth more than 40 million rupees ($560,000) as an agricultural crisis forces many rural workers into extreme poverty.
India’s farmers have been hit hard by a drop in commodity prices, stagnant wages, record fuel prices and high fertilizer costs, sparking rallies across the country this year calling for better prices for produce and loan waivers.
Farmers and other agriculture workers together make up about half India’s 1.3 billion people.
“It is a very big problem that has left farmers across the country in dire straits,” Rakesh Tikait, spokesperson of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Indian Farmers’ Union) told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview.
“The government policies are flawed and need an overhaul. We are fighting for that change but are thankful for any help that comes along the way.”
Tikait said Bachchan’s gesture might have been symbolic but it meant a lot for farmers who were struggling to survive.
More than 12,600 farmers and agricultural workers committed suicide in 2015 alone, accounting for about 10 percent of all suicides in India, with almost 60 percent of suicides caused by bankruptcy and indebtedness, according to official data.
Bachchan, one of Indian cinema’s most revered actors, wrote in his blog this week that he had helped 1,398 farmers from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and felt a “sense of accomplishment.”
“Gratitude leans across to the desire of removing some of the burdens that farmers continue to suffer ... and the inner peace it generates when the desired is completed,” he wrote.