Rigorous academic research is at the core of the Odysseus Unbound project

Geophysics Team
The geophysics survey team from the National Technical University of Athens in the field with Prof. John Underhill (seated on box) June 2016

Advanced geophysical survey techniques have been used to meet the initial challenge of demonstrating that Paliki was a separate island at the time of Odysseus.  They include airborne, marine and ground-based surveys, including electro-magnetic (EM), surface resistivity and Ground Penetrating Radar as well as drilling boreholes and coring.

Future archaeological research will be conducted in close collaboration with the Greek authorities.

We have made tremendous positive progress that means we are confident that a marine channel did once separate Paliki from the rest of Kefalonia.

The research has given us a compelling understanding of how that channel has been filled in over time by landslides triggered by earthquakes and other major tectonic activity.

For more details, see our latest Research Results.

Current Research Plans

Our research focus is now on:

  • Further identifying and, most importantly, dating the cataclysmic event that appears to have closed the marine channel
  • Mapping and analyzing the biostratigraphy of the potential southern exit of the channel into the Gulf of Livadi
  • Calibrating and dating the infill of Livadi marsh to test the theory that this was the site of an ancient harbour
  • Deploying sub-surface geoscience to identify promising sites for future archaeology


Slip plane in Thinia
Profs. John Underhill and Kosmas Pavlopoulos examine a key fault slip plane, July 2017
Dating the big event

We plan to conduct cosmogenic dating analysis on some exposed faults to determine if the land movements occurred between the Late Mycenaean era and more recent times.

We will also examine an area where rock fall appears to have covered ancient walls as this may provide another way to date the event.

If these tests demonstrate motion has taken place in the past 3,000 years, they would strongly support the theory that the channel was closed by seismic activity after the time of Odysseus.

Mapping the southern channel exit

We plan to conduct onshore and offshore scientific work, including field mapping, core-drilling and bio-stratigraphy, to identify where the potential marine channel exited into the Gulf of Livadi and the nature of its infill.

Livadi harbour site beside Kastelli Hill
Livadi Marsh and Kastelli
The Livadi marsh

We plan further research in Livadi marsh to enhance our picture of the underlying geology and to assess whether it was the site of an ancient harbour, as some of our earlier research has suggested.

We will also be looking for and seeking to date residual sediments from tsunamis that might have been generated by seismic activity as well as the occurrence any carbonaceous deposits suitable for radiocarbon dating.

GPR and EM surveys on Kastelli (July 2017)
Ground Penetrating Radar (foreground) and EM surveys on Kastelli, July 2017
Identifying promising sites via geoscience

We plan to continue our programme of non-intrusive sub-surface research using standard geophysical methods to identify evidence of possible anthropogenic remains that would merit exploration via archaeology at a later date.

All our work will be in close consultation with the Greek authorities and with the requisite permits.

 We are actively seeking sponsorship and donor support for these activities. Find out more.

Read more about our past research programme.

None of our research would have been possible with the generous support of our worldwide collaborators.