A Roman Cargo Ship estimated to belong to the 1st or 2nd century BC has been discovered at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea in what has been called a significant discovery.
Video Credits: The Guardian
The remarkable feat was achieved by archaeologists from Italy’s cultural heritage protection police squad and professional scuba divers from the national superintendency for underwater cultural heritage, which safeguards and regulates underwater heritage sites.
The ship was found with hundreds of Roman jars called amphorae. They are classified as Dressel 1 B-type jars and are tube-shaped. However, what they were exactly used for remains a mystery today.
The vessel was found at 160 m or 524 ft deep near the Civitavecchia, an Italian port city around 80 km from Rome.
The cultural heritage protection police unit states: “This exceptional discovery represents an important example of the sinking of a Roman ship which faced the perils of the sea in an attempt to reach the coast and bears witness to the ancient maritime trade routes.”
The ship is said to be more than 20 metres long, and its cargo, i.e. the amphorae, was found in a well-preserved or intact condition, making it an exceptional find.
Presently the police are surveying the site and also taking steps to protect it since Italy’s Mediterranean coastline is said to have remarkable underwater archaeological treasures. Hence the police scuba diving squads regularly patrol the region to protect the national treasures from looters.
Similar discoveries were made in 2021 when Sicilian archaeologists found two ancient Roman ships off the Palermo coast and another near Ustica Island, both carrying wine amphorae.
In 2013, an intact vessel belonging to the 2nd century BC was found off the Genoa coast.
Almost every year, hundreds of Roman amphorae dating back thousands of years are confiscated by the Italian police from art dealers’ houses.
In June 2021, the authorities found several illegally gathered rare archaeological finds dating from the 6th century BC from a Belgian collector. They were worth €11m or £9.4m and included around 800 pieces of stelae, amphorae and other items hailing from a clandestine excavation in Puglia.
References: theguardian, reuters
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