Archaeologists have discovered an ancient Roman shipwreck nearly 2,200 years old off the coast of Palermo, Sicily, filled with pitchers used to transport wine and olive oil.
According to a translated statement from the Sicilian region, the shipwreck, dating to the 2nd century BC, was found in the Mediterranean Sea at a depth of 92 meters (302 feet), near the Isola delle Femmine.
An ancient Roman shipwreck dating back nearly 2,200 years has been discovered off the coast of Palermo, Sicily. The wreck was full of amphorae, pitchers used to transport wine and olive oil
The wreckage was found in the Mediterranean Sea, near the Isola delle Femmine, off the coast of Palermo, Sicily
The researchers were able to “document the presence of a striking charge of amphorae, most likely of the wine type,” the statement said.
The discovery is also considered “one of the most significant findings in recent months,” officials added.
An amphorae is an ancient pot with two vertical handles that were used to transport wine and olive oil and were used throughout ancient history, from the Phoenicians to the Romans, according to world history.
According to the Italian newspaper The print, the Sicilian wine trade was “one of the most profitable and widespread activities for entrepreneurs of the time.”
A type of wine known as Mamertino “became so well known that it caught the attention of… [Julius] Caesar, who offered it to his guests on the occasion of the festive banquet of his third consulate (46 BC),’ the newspaper added.
The wreckage was full of amphorae, jugs used to transport wine and olive oil. It is believed that these amphorae were mainly used for wine
The Superintendent of the Sea of the Sicilian Region is responsible for protecting historical and natural artifacts found in the waters off the Italian island, according to the Italian newspaper PalermoToday.
“The Mediterranean continuously provides us with valuable elements for the reconstruction of our history related to maritime trade, the types of boats, the transports carried out, the thalassocracies, but also data related to life on board and the relations between coastal populations” Valeria Li Vigni, expedition leader and inspector of the sea for Sicily, said in the statement.
Li Vigni continued: ‘The discovery confirms the presence of numerous archaeological remains in the bathymetric belts of more than 50/80 meters, which stimulate us to continue our research in the deep sea in synergy with the skills of the ARPA technicians, who will continue to produce excellent results.’
The oceanographic vessel Calypso South examined the wreck and the remote-controlled vehicle was used to photograph it
The scientists used the oceanographic vessel Calypso South to survey the wreck, using the ship’s remote-controlled vehicle to photograph it.
“The study and monitoring of the marine environment, carried out continuously by Arpa Sicilia, continues to enrich the image of the precious beauties present in the Sicilian sea in many ways, not only in terms of species and environmental resources,” added director Vincenzo Infantino in the statement.
‘[Their] protection is an essential necessity for our community, but also for the restoration of essential elements for the reconstruction of the history of our sea from the point of view of commercial movements.’
The discovery of the wreckage and wine amphorae could also be a sign of a time of peace in the region, known to the ancient Romans as Mare Nostrum, La Stampa added.
This shipwreck is the last recently excavated by archaeologists near Italy.
In 2012, divers found a 2,000-year-old shipwreck off the town on Varazze in the province of Liguria, believed to be a commercial vessel from Roman times.