Odysseus Unbound – The search for Homer’s Ithaca (latest progress from Paliki Peninsula, radio interview and funding appeal)

Rock samples from two separate locations in the Thinia Valley are now at a laboratory in France for Cosmic Ray Exposure (CRE) analysis in one of the most important geoscience investigations we’ve conducted.

This key part of our 2021 research plans was made possible by the generous response of our supporters to our recent appeal. Out grateful thanks go to everyone who contributed.

Determining a critical date

We know that a huge chunk of mountainside, some 4km long and up to 1km wide, collapsed in one or more massive landslides to fill the Thinia Valley between Kefalonia and its western peninsula, Paliki. We believe this transformed Paliki from an island to a peninsula.

Determining the date when that happened will be a huge clue to whether Paliki was an island in the Late Bronze Age – the time of Odysseus – and therefore a compelling candidate to be the location of his homeland of Ithaca.

What can Cosmic Ray Exposure dating tell us?

More accurately known as Cosmogenic Radionuclide Exposure, CRE dating measures the isotopic changes caused when previously buried rock is suddenly exposed to sunlight, as it is after a landslide. In effect, it tells us when the landslide happened.

Two locations

With the help of Asst. Professor Constantin Athanassas from the National Technical University of Athens we took multiple samples from two separate locations.

Google Earth image of the Thinia Valley (looking East) showing CRE sampling locations
Watch Professors John Underhill and Peter Styles as they explain the technique and what it means for the Odysseus Unbound project.

The main samples were from the scarp slope behind the massive collapse on the mountains at the south-eastern end of the Thinia Valley.

We also took samples from the slope behind the village of Zola, which is built on material from a smaller landslide at the north-western end of the valley.

We took the samples at different heights on the slopes to determine if the landslides happened in a single event or were the result of two or more collapses over time. And it will be interesting to find out if both landslides occurred at the same time or not.

Asst. Prof. Constantin Athanassas takes a rock sample from the steep scarp face behind Zola
Zola village, built on a landslide at the north-western end of the Thinia Valley

Our rock samples are now at the laboratories of the Centre Européen de Recherche et d’Enseignement de Géosciences de l’Environnement (CEREGE) in France.


ABC Australia radio interview

Bite into a crunchy, crispy, syrupy round doughnut and be transported to Kefalonia, an island west of mainland Greece.

Hike up Mt Ainos amongst unique fir trees, mountain orchids and wild thyme.

Pay a visit to the body of St Gerasimos, Kefalonia’s patron saint, who lived on the island in the late 1500s.

If classical Greece is more your thing, jump back some 3000 years to the time of Odysseus: there’s a theory that Kefalonia was, in fact, the true location of Homer’s Ithaca.

Dean Giannakis, owner and founder of St Gerry’s Greek Doughnuts and Desserts
Vasiliki Karagianni, Director of the Department of Protection, Management and Preservation of Natural Environment at Ainos National Park in Kefalonia
John Crawshaw, director of the Odysseus Unbound Foundation

Listen to more Lost and Found


Appeal for Funds

To Complete Key Research Projects

£6500 is all we need to finish

In 2021 we asked you to help us raise £52,750 to carry out a programme of research projects tightly focussed on what we call the Island Hypothesis: the core question at the heart of Odysseus Unbound – was Paliki, the western peninsula of Kefalonia, a separate island in the time of Odysseus?

Thanks to the incredible generosity of supporters like you, we raised 90% of the target. That meant we were able to carry out almost all our planned projects, including CRE dating of landslides and a deep sub-surface survey of the Thinia valley.

In sight of the answer to the Island Hypothesis

That has put us in sight of the answer to this fundamental question, which will dramatically change the world’s view of Homer’s writings.

But to finish the work on the Island Hypothesis and complete the analysis of the data to get a definitive answer, we must raise the remaining £6500.

How you can help

You can make a single donation online via credit card, PayPal or Direct Debit or send us a cheque, or you can become a Friend or Patron, with an opportunity to join us for our first annual dinner later this year (COVID permitting) when we’ll brief you exclusively on our results to date and you can meet and ask questions of the team.

Please Donate Now

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