Odysseus Unbound - The Search for Homer’s Ithaca


Sep 1 2006

Geoscientist Sep 2006: Furthest towards dusk - the quest for Ithaca

Geoscientist magazine publishes new geological findings on Strabo's Channel


Geoscientist, the monthly colour news magazine of The Geological Society of London, has today published a major new scientific article by John Underhill entitled "Quest for Ithaca". The article documents the results of detailed investigations into the isthmus between the eastern land mass of Kefalonia and the western peninsula of Paliki. It describes the geological setting of the island and it includes an up-to-date account of the field-based geoscientific techniques used to test the proposal, both before and after the publication of Odysseus Unbound, up to July 2006. With the kind agreement of Geoscientist magazine, a copy of the published article is now provided on this website.


The Geological Society of London, founded in 1807, is the UK national society for geoscience and it is the largest national geoscience society in Europe. Geoscientist magazine is the main mouthpiece of the society and is distributed free to all Fellows, with a print run of 10,000 copies.


Because the valley floor today rises to c. 180m, it is clearly demanding to suggest that it might have been at sea level as recently as the Bronze Age (late Holocene). As a result, I anticipated that Bittlestone’s hypothesis would be easy to test - and disprove. However, rebuttal has not proved at all straightforward. None of the results of geological and geomorphological fieldwork performed so far rules out the hypothesis that a marine connection as described by Strabo could have existed at that time. Professor John Underhill, Geoscientist September 2006.


Odysseus Unbound presents a highly readable personal account of what can happen when an enthusiast with a compelling synthetic vision glimpses a solution no specialist has seen and uses his considerable resources of energy and curiosity to bring renowned experts like Professors Underhill (Geology, Edinburgh University) and Diggle (Classics, Cambridge University) to focus on solving a puzzle that has mystified scholars for centuries. Robert Bittlestone may one day emerge as Homeric studies' Alfred Wegener of the Internet age.” Dr Ted Nield, Editor, Geoscientist magazine.


Click here for the full article: Medium resolution (12 Mb); Low resolution (2.5 Mb)