[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 29 September 2005, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Search 'locates' Homer's Ithaca
An amateur British archaeologist says he has located Ithaca, the homeland of Homer's legendary hero Odysseus.

Robert Bittlestone - backed by two experts - claims the rocky island depicted in The Odyssey is part of Greek tourist destination Cephalonia.

He used satellite imagery to match the area's landscape with descriptions in the poem about the return of the man behind the wooden horse of Troy.

Many experts had stated Homer was referring to the island of Ithaki.

They had explained geographical inconsistencies in The Odyssey by suggesting that Homer lived much later than the events portrayed and in a different part of the country.

Previous studies have also named other Ionian islands including Cephalonia.


Surrey-based management consultant Mr Bittlestone first came up with his theory in 1998.

During field trips to western Greece, he also analysed literary, geological and archaeological data, and utilised 3D global visualisation techniques developed by Nasa.

There is something both very new and very old to be found at this new location and that we should now treat the existence of ancient Ithaca very seriously
Robert Bittlestone

His new book, Odysseus Unbound - The Search for Homer's Ithaca, is co-written by Cambridge University classics professor James Diggle, and geologist John Underhill from Edinburgh University.

It suggests earthquakes have helped fill a narrow channel that had separated Cephalonia from Ithaca - said to have been located in the peninsula now known as Paliki.

Future research

It is not clear whether Odysseus or Ithaca really existed.

But Mr Bittlestone said: "Our purpose has been to demonstrate that there is something both very new and very old to be found at this new location and that we should now treat the existence of ancient Ithaca very seriously."

He has described his find as one of the most important classical discoveries since the unearthing of Troy in Turkey in the 1870s.

The book says Ithaca was the peninsula now known as Paliki

The book details 26 locations in The Odyssey that can be identified today in northern Paliki and its vicinity.

The research was conducted in cooperation with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and with the Athens-based Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration.

"The book opens exciting prospects for future research regarding the location of Homeric Ithaca," said Petros Tatoulis, Greece's deputy minister of culture.

"The Ministry eagerly follows Mr Bittlestone's hypothesis and looks forward to staying informed about any future developments."

Cephalonia is the same island where Louis de Bernieres' best-selling novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin was set.

The novel, which was made into a film starring Penelope Cruz and Nicholas Cage in 2001, is set against the real-life massacre of thousands of Italian soldiers by German troops during World War II.

Homer tops poetry bestseller list
07 Oct 04 |  Entertainment
Unearthing Troy's truth
21 May 04 |  Entertainment
Geologists investigate Trojan battlefield
07 Feb 03 |  Science/Nature


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific