Underwater Robot Discovers 2000-Year-Old Glass Treasure In Roman Shipwreck In The Mediterranean

Glassware in its ideal state could be recovered from the wreckage of a 2,000-year-old Roman shipwreck lying almost 1,148 feet below the ocean’s surface.

The Capo Corso 2 shipwreck was between Cap Corse’s French peninsula and the Island of Capraia in Italy. An excavation of the wreck occurred early in July, when the archaeologists came across an abundance of ancient glassware, per a press release from the National Superintendency (Italy) for Underwater Cultural Heritage that conducted this mission alongside the Department of Archaeological Research in France.

Roman
Credit: UNESCO

Archaeologists found out that the cargo of this ancient vessel consisted fully of glass. Some were in blocks, while the rest were tableware artifacts. Glass bottles, cups, plates, bowls, and two bronze basins were discovered. An amphora — a container created in the Bronze Age — was also discovered on the vessel.

The cargo was preserved perfectly, per the press release. The finds will be taken to the lab of the National Superintendence in Italy’s Taranto for closer examinations. It is believed the vessel had sailed from the end of the first century to the beginning of the second century AD, even though this still needs to be confirmed. A closer look at the artefacts found onboard will give researchers a more definitive date and hold clues into where it had come from.

Until now, archaeologists believe this vessel must have sailed from the Middle East — from either Lebanon/Syria — considering the glass and amphorae on the vessel. They estimate it was sailing toward France’s Province. This is the second-ever known Roman shipwreck in this region that appeared to be loaded with abundant glass.

The Department of Archaeological Research in Drassm, France, utilized a research vessel dubbed the Alfred Merlin to reach the wreck. The robot can reach 8202.0997 feet below the ocean’s surface and takes a high-resolution video of the surroundings. Analysis of this vessel and cargo will allow researchers new insights into the Mediterranean trade in this phase.

However, the mission was to recover the vessel artefacts and assess the wreck’s biological state. Shipwrecks often become artificial reefs for sea life over a certain period. The structures also create extremely thriving ecosystems, as the marine organisms attach themselves to the surface.

Reference: Newsweek, Arkeo News

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