The ocean is a very mysterious place. About 70 percent of the planet that we all live on has gone unexplored, which means that there are plenty of things about the ocean that we don’t know. There is also a good chance that there are plenty of things under the water that has yet to be discovered. Many scuba divers make it their mission to uncover the mysteries below the ocean’s waters.
Stefano Mariottini is a chemist. In 1972, he was on vacation in Calabria, Italy. He explored many areas of the years, and while on vacation, he planned to do some more exploring. He loved to get under the water so that he could get up close and personal with various sea life beneath the waves. He also liked to dig under the ocean’s sandy floor and vegetation hoping to find something unique and exciting.
A Shocking Find
While on vacation, Stefano went out about 26-feet off the Ionian Coast of Riace. While exploring the ocean’s depths, he spotted something odd that caught his eye. He was a bit apprehensive at first, and when he got closer, he became even more concerned. He saw what looked like the curve of an elbow and five fingers. When he realized that it was an arm, his first thought went toward the Mafia. He was vacationing in Sicily, which was the part of Italy with the most Mafia connections. He thought that maybe the arm under the water belonged to someone who had done the Mafia wrong, and now they were “sleeping with the fishes.” As nervous as it made him, he knew he had to take a closer look.
Stefano mustered up the courage to get closer to the arm. He was close enough that he could reach out and touch it. When he finally reached out and touched it, a wave of relief rushed over him. The arm wasn’t a human arm; it was made of bronze. He realized right away that it belonged to a sunken statue. The rest of it was covered in sand and muck. Stefano realized that it was lying on its side, and it wasn’t the only thing under the water.
A Second Statue
When Stefano shined his light all around the area, he discovered a second statue. This one was not buried in the muck, and it was lying on its back. It was completely intact, and Stefano quickly realized that these statues weren’t just debris. Someone put them there intentionally, and Stefano believed that the authorities should know about his fine. When he returned to the surface, he called the police.
Bringing Them To the Surface
The authorities took Stefano’s call very seriously, and they sent divers to the area where Stefano found the statutes. The authorities realized that they were near Rome, the capital of Italy, and it is one of the oldest cities in Europe. The area is rich in history, which meant that these statutes were likely more than debris from a sunken ship. Thousands of bronze statutes were crafted during the Roman Empire, and only a few survived. This caused experts to be very curious and excited about the discovery made by Stefano.
The National Museum
The statutes were brought to the National Museum in Reggio Calabria. They needed to be cleaned, restored, and studied. While at the museum, the experts discovered that the statutes had been on the seafloor for over 2,500-years. They also found that they weren’t just discarded pieces of debris. After a bit of examination, the experts identified them as original Greek bronzes from the 5th century B.C., during the Early Classical period. The experts believe that these statutes were around during the days of Alexander the Great and Socrates. Unfortunately, there was one complication that made it hard to confirm anything else about the statutes or their origin.
The statues had been under the water for thousands of years, which left them waterlogged. The dense concretions made it difficult for the experts to see any real detail in the statues’ faces. A restoration team from Florence was called in hopes that the residue could be removed. When the statutes were restored a bit, they were able to see the artistry of the ancient sculptors. The statute had copper lips, silver teeth, and eyes that were inlaid with glass and ivory. The sculptor had even created individual silver eyelashes. While the details were incredible, the experts didn’t know who made them, or who the statutes were designed to represent.
Statue A and Statue B
Statue A, also known as the open-mouthed statue, is believed to have been created by Myron. Statue B, or the wide-eyed statue, was thought to have been created by a student of Phidias named Alkamenes. They both looked similar, but experts believed that the two signified two very different things. Statue A portrayed a young warrior hero. Statue B appeared more relaxed, which meant that he was more of a mature hero. The experts went as far as finding out their names. Statue A is Tydeus, a warrior who at the brains of the defender who wounded him mortally. Statue B was Amphiaraus. Both were featured in the Seven Against Thebes, which is a Greek tragedy by Aeschylus.
Restored To Their Glory
The statues were returned to their former glory, which was huge for them. It was such an important find that postage stamps were created in their honor. A diver spots a strange object poking out of the sea floor and instantly calls for backup. Had he not done this, these amazing pieces of history would still be under the water. This is just further proof that we have no idea of what is located on the ocean floor.