In 373 BC, a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami destroyed and submerged the ancient Greek city of Helike, on the southwest shore of the Gulf of Corinth. The sunken city gradually silted over until it disappeared without a trace. Ancient writers ascribed the disaster to the wrath of Poseidon, god of earthquakes and the sea.
For many years Prof. Spyridon Marinatos, Director General of Antiquities for Greece and discoverer of the prehistoric town on Santorini, pursued the search for ancient Helike. He estimated that dozens of bronze and marble works of the Classical sculptors lay buried in the ruins of the lost city, and looked forward to "the discovery of a whole ancient town far more precious and interesting than Pompeii" which, he said, would be "almost surely the most spectacular archaeological discovery ever made."
In 2001, after twelve years of field work, the Helike Project brought to light the first traces of the lost Classical city, buried under deposits of an ancient lagoon. And, to their astonishment, the explorers also discovered nearby an entire Early Bronze Age town, dating from about 2400 BC, in an extraordinary state of preservation. An earthquake apparently caused the submergence of this Prehistoric town twenty centuries before a similar fate led to the disappearance of its Classical successor. The exploration and excavation of Prehistoric and Classical Helike will be the work of decades to come.