The first research period was impemented between 14.09.2015 - 29.09.2015 passed to the implementation phase.
The expedition focused primarily on three sea areas of which the request for conducting research had been submitted and approved:
a) the sea channel that separates the islands of Fourni and Thymena, including the islet of Kisiria.
b) the coastline of the southern half of Fourni island which extends from the Platikavos Cape until the islet of Kourniachto, including also the islets Plaka, Stroggilo, Makronisi, Prasonisi and Small and Large Anthropofagos
c) the island of Ag. Minas and the channel formed between the islands of Ag. Minas and Fourni.
Apart from the areas that were chosen for underwater investigation, some dives were done selectively in locations that were either old indications of shipwrecks from private individuals –from pending cases of the EUA archives, or new indications, which emerged during the research from locals’ statements or sponge divers from Kalymnos who operated in the area.
Analytically, the immediate objectives of the survey were:
a) Registration, marking of location, photographing, filming and documentation of ancient, medieval and contemporary shipwrecks.
b) Documentation and photography of remote artifacts that relate to ancient navigation (rejections of ceramics and anchors).
c) Lifting of finds where judged necessary, as a sample
The systematic exploration of these areas and the use of every kind of information led to the recording and documenting a total of 22 shipwrecks - totally unknown to the Archeological Service until today – from the Archaic period to the 19th century A.D.
During the research, sponge divers from Kalymnos Island Antonios and Dimitrios Koulouriotis, Eleutherios Glynatsis and Antonios Ksypolitas, came forward voluntarily, some of whom had revealed the presence of shipwrecks in Fourni. Information that helped with the location of the wrecks or pottery deposits in and around the archipelago of Fourni were given from locals: M. Mytikas, D. Karydis, M, Grammatikos, K Voulgaris, S Olympiadis, M. Maounis, N. Oikonomou, M. Sklavos, G. Sklavos, Eu. Kondylas, M. Manousakis and P. Fournamento.
The expedition involved, on behalf of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, G. Koutsouflakis as the general director of the research, diver and conservator of antiquities A. Tsompanidis, responsible of first aid conservation treatments, stabilization, packaging and transportation of antiquities that were retrieved and diver/work technician L. Mercenier. On behalf of the RPM Nautical Foundation, diver archaeologist P. Campbell, C. Hutchins and equipment manager J. Stella. External collaborators who framed the expedition were M. Garras (in charge and navigator of the support vessel), underwater photographers/filmmakers V. Mentogianis and A. Agathos and diver/mechanic of the Municipality of Fourni, M. Mytikas.
The research was successfully carried out thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Honor Frost Foundation. Equally important was the help provided by the Fourni Municipality via the Mayor John Marousis, with free accommodation at municipal rooms, a car for personnel and equipment transportation within the island, provision of electricity, desalination tanks and contribution of municipal employee M. Mytikas whenever deemed necessary. Finally, business entrepreneur – and ex guardian of antiquities – C. Tsounis, owner of Carefour Ikaria, contributed with food supplies.
Management of lifted finds and first aid treatments were provided by conservator A. Tsompanidis. The finds that were retrieved, were firstly placed in portable tanks in order to keep them immersed and an attempt for detachment of calcius deposits – sediments via mechanical cleaning, in order to make packaging and transportation easier. After the end of the investigation the finds were transported to the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, in Athens.