Odysseus Unbound - The Search for Homer’s Ithaca


Oct 01 2010

Major new geological research phase of drilling and coring in Kefalonia

In conjunction with a very significant commitment of exploration technology by project sponsors Fugro, Professor John Underhill of Edinburgh University is leading a major new phase of the geological research on Kefalonia this autumn.

The primary focus is to test the nature of the former landscape in the area marked 'Strabo's Channel' in the Thinia Valley (click on the adjacent map, on which the present island names are marked in white and their proposed Homeric equivalents in yellow).

Land-based drilling equipment is currently being deployed to drill a number of boreholes. These will be cored and sampled along the length of the valley to enable the subsurface sediments in this area to be understood.

Commenting on the geological challenges involved, John Underhill said:

"Understanding the subsurface geology is crucial to determining whether Strabo's Channel existed as a former continuous marine channel that connected the Gulf of Livadi to the south with the Ormos Agias Kiriakis to the north."

"We are now undertaking an important new phase in the project. Having obtained an excellent preliminary diagnosis of what lies beneath the Thinia Valley through the use and analysis of geophysical methods (e.g. resistivity, gravity, electromagnetics and seismic reflection), we now intend to calibrate those results through a substantial campaign of drilling and coring of the sediments below the valley."

"We hope that the cores obtained during the next three months will contain material that will permit dating of the sediments by analysing their fossil content and by using radiocarbon age dating techniques. The results will enable us to evaluate the hypothesis that Paliki was a free-standing island separated from the main body of Kefalonia 2,000-3,000 years ago, as Strabo describes in his Geography and as Homer suggests in the Odyssey."

The results of this new drilling phase will be analysed and documented during 2011 and it is expected that a definitive account of the formation of this valley will be published later next year.