Odysseus Unbound - The Search for Homer’s Ithaca


Mar 04 2010

Locating Ithaca: Research Priorities for 2010

With sponsorship from Fugro, consultant Robert Bittlestone, together with John Underhill, Professor of Stratigraphy at the University of Edinburgh, and James Diggle, Professor of Classics at Cambridge, formed the ‘Odysseus Unbound’ organisation, in an attempt to uncover the truth about the location of the historic island kingdom of Homer’s hero.

Geological mapping reveals that most of Thinia’s surface consists of loose rockfall material brought down by frequent earthquakes, some occurring within living memory.

Robert Bittlestone poses the key question: “Despite this clear evidence of extensive, ancient and modern landslips, can we be sure that there is not a bridge of solid bedrock underneath, joining the Paliki peninsula to the rest of the island, somewhere above sea level? If there is, then this could represent a serious objection to the proposition that Paliki is ancient Ithaca”.

To test for the existence of such a rock bridge, Fugro Airborne Surveys flew a helicopter, equipped with electromagnetic instruments, to map the resistivity and magnetic signature of the entire Thinia isthmus. If the yellow-coloured areas, mainly depicting loose rockfall material with low resistivity, are removed from the image, there is a very clear suggestion that there was formerly an open marine channel separating the Paliki peninsula from the rest of Cephalonia - an inlet narrowing towards its Southern end.

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