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Ancient shipwreck with hundreds of amphorae found near Split

In Croatian waters near Split, archaeologists have found the wreck of an ancient Roman vessel along with a cargo of amphorae. Croatian researchers have come across the wreck of an ancient merchant ship with a cargo of amphorae that sank in the Adriatic Sea near Split. So far, research has allowed specialists to set the
Published: December 1, 2022 - 09:00
Updated: July 23, 2023 - 01:34
Ancient shipwreck with hundreds of amphorae found near Split

In Croatian waters near Split, archaeologists have found the wreck of an ancient Roman vessel along with a cargo of amphorae.

Croatian researchers have come across the wreck of an ancient merchant ship with a cargo of amphorae that sank in the Adriatic Sea near Split. So far, research has allowed specialists to set the age of the discovery at the 3rd or 4th century. At the moment, archaeologists have completed the first phase of the research, which they have been conducting for the past six months.

One of the amphorae found on the wreck
One of the amphorae found on the wreck Photo: Jerko Macura

Archaeologists have reported that the discovered site is not only unique, but also well-preserved. In recent months, specialists have examined the wreck, made documentation and created a photogrammetric 3D model. In the coming days, the scientists have planned a presentation of their achievements at the Croatian Maritime Museum in Split.

Scientists are studying the wreck jw as part of a joint project led by the museum, the Split conservation department and the “Rostrum” underwater activities association. It was divers from the “Rostrum” association who accidentally came across the wreck. As the scientists pointed out, this is a very rare discovery in the Mediterranean. Similar The wreck was found near the island of Šćedro, and Poles also contributed to its study, who created, among other things, a 3D photogrammetric model.

model of an archaeological site
3D model with applied amphorae

Uniqueness of discovery near Split

The position off the coast of Split is unique for several reasons. First of all, it waited untouched at the bottom of the sea and no one looted or vandalized it. What’s more, due to specific biological conditions, the amphorae are very clean and unencrusted with shells. Based on their arrangement, scientists were able to determine the shape and size of the ship that transported them.

Ancient amphora
Another distinctive amphora Photo by Jerko Macura

According to the criteria of the time, the ship was considered one of the larger vessels and measured as much as 21 meters long and 8 meters wide. At this point, researchers still have not reached the wooden structural elements of the ship itself. The amphorae on board were stacked in layers, and so far specialists have only examined the top layer. In the placement, scientists have counted 340 amphorae!

Archaeologists with the fished out amphora
Archaeologists with the fished out amphora

The cargo itself is also very interesting. Archaeologists’ findings suggest that it consists mainly of North African late antique amphorae. This type of vessel is quite rare and thus even more valuable from a scientific point of view. The amphorae contained wine, oil and probably garum, a fermented fish sauce.


Diving is also about discovering wrecks and their unusual stories. You can learn about one of them in an article written by Michal Ogłoza. You will find it in the 20th issue DIVERS24 quarterly! The digital version of the magazine is available free of charge, while you can purchase the printed version in our online store.

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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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