An archaeological dig in Greece could "rewrite the book of western civilisation", according to one Kingston businessman.

Economist Robert Bittlestone, 53, claims his project to discover the true location of the island Ithaca, described by Homer in his epic poem The Odyssey in 800BC, will not only prove Homer's existence but also develop vital technology to predict earthquakes.

Mr Bittlestone returned last week from Cephalonia, where a team of geological experts completed tests that they hope will prove that Ithaca was not the modern island of Ithaki as previously supposed but in fact a western peninsula of Cephalonia now known as Paliki.

In his book, Odysseus Unbound, Mr Bittlestone claims the peninsula was once an island separated from Cephalonia by a narrow sea channel that has since been filled.

He said: "We drilled a borehole where we think the channel used to be.

"We think the core we drilled will be made up of loose rock and debris, not solid limestone bedrock, and that millions of tonnes of mountainside sheered off and filled the channel, joining the two islands years after Homer wrote his poem."

Mr Bittlestone believes his theories on Ithaca have more than just an archaeological significance.

He said: "If we can prove that Homer was geographically accurate in his descriptions of Ithaca, we can rewrite the book of western civilisation and find out more about Homer and ourselves.

"This testing is also helping us to better understand the theory of ground movement and develop technology for reliable earthquake-predication. We could save millions of future lives."

The test data is being analysed and the results will be unveiled early next year.

However, Mr Bittlestone is already optimistic that his hypothesis will be proved.

He said: "So far the results have been encouraging and we've also discovered Mycenaean pottery remains on Paliki from around 1200BC."

However critics such as the Odyssey Project contest Mr Bittlestone's hypothesis.

They claim to have already found remains on Ithaki of a corner of the palace and the Temple of Apollo, named in the Odyssey.