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200 ancient amphorae discovered in flooded cave - video

In the Spanish Balearic Islands, underwater archaeologists have made a spectacular discovery. In one of the flooded caves there, they discovered a deposit of several hundred amphorae that date back to Roman times. Although the exact context in which the artefacts were left behind is currently unknown, it is thought to have been part of
Published: June 7, 2020 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 20:00
200 ancient amphorae discovered in flooded cave – video

In the Spanish Balearic Islands, underwater archaeologists have made a spectacular discovery. In one of the flooded caves there, they discovered a deposit of several hundred amphorae that date back to Roman times. Although the exact context in which the artefacts were left behind is currently unknown, it is thought to have been part of a religious ritual in the form of a sacrifice.

Researchers came across this magnificent find while exploring the flooded cave Fuente de Ses Aiguades, located near the bay of Alcúdia, in the north-eastern part of Majorca, the largest island that makes up the Balearic Archipelago. In addition to ancient amphorae, animal remains have also been discovered, including those of an extinct species of cave goat.

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The cave was discovered in 1998 and the scientific world immediately made a big deal about it. During the 2000 expedition, led by Xisco Gracia, 189 amphorae were found. However, until now the cave has remained almost unknown.

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With the arrival of 2020, scientists decided to change this and map its interior using the latest technology. As you can see, it was the right decision, and another treasure was waiting for the world of science inside.

“Although the cave was explored in 2000, 20 years is a real gap in terms of technology. Today, experts have been able to explore it more thoroughly with modern equipment, resulting in the discovery of around 200 amphorae,” said Manel Fumás, head of the research project

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The cave, which measures about 180 metres long and is full of stalactites and many air chambers, can be accessed via a narrow vertical shaft using a system of pulleys and blocks. Now, thanks to modern 3D scanning technology, scientists will be able to create a detailed image of the cave.

roman-amphorae

“What puzzles us most is why there are so many amphorae in the cave. This type of deposit is not something encountered. We can assume that some small number of amphorae could have fallen when the pulley broke, but not 200 pieces!” – explains Fumás

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Based on the examination and the capacity of the vessels, the researchers are most inclined to accept the hypothesis that the amphorae found are a form of sacrifice, which e.g. the sailors left there on purpose. The reconnaissance shows that the cave was a kind of place of worship and religious rituals.

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Researchers have also managed to find the remains of various animals, including some that belong to the now extinct goat species Myotragus balearicus. The animal known as the cave goat became extinct around 5,000 years ago. Further research in the cave will also be carried out in this regard.

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The researchers announce that the results of the study, summarising the latest findings and discoveries, will be published later this year.

Source: Sonars – Asociación Nacional de Arqueología Subacuática

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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