Αγώνας
Treasure hunt in the depth
GREECE, 2009, 52'
  by AGON - Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Summer of 1908, near the Tunisian coast. Alfred Merlin (1876-1965), an ambitious archaeologist follows an audacious plan: he sets out on an underwater archaeological research near the city of Madhia, to discover mysterious works of art at the bottom of the sea. A venture no one has ever tried before, since diving into the oceans’ depth seemed impossible.

Nevertheless, Merlin and his team of Greek divers, manage to collect large columns, statues and other valuable treasures. But where did these works of art come from?

A question that remains unanswered until today. Michel L’Hour, president of the French Underwater Archaeology Department, has studied a great number of findings from the Mediterranean Sea. He is certain that the mythical finds of Madhia came from a roman ship transfering works of art from Athens to Rome and sunk 2000 years ago.

Unlike Merlin, L’Hour uses modern equipment. Today the archaeologists are able to explore every corner of the Mediterranean Sea, they can dive into a world full of treasures, where the remnants of the past have survived for thousands of years, staying almost intact. For many people, the Mediterranean Sea is “the greatest museum of the world”.

Thanks to his courage and persistence, Alfred Merlin opened a door to this magic world and went down in history as the founder of underwater archaeology.


Director: KAY SIERING, MARC BRASSE
Producer: ZDF
Award for Best Photography