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Archaeologists have discovered more than 300 amphorae near the island of Pantelleria - video

In the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, underwater archaeologists from Italy have discovered an ancient site of more than 300 amphorae. Italian researchers exploring the waters near the island of Pantelleria, in the region of Sicily, have made a stunning discovery. Archaeologists located a site of more than 300 amphoras from the Punic Wars period
Published: October 31, 2022 - 09:00
Updated: July 23, 2023 - 01:28
Archaeologists have discovered more than 300 amphorae near the island of Pantelleria – video

In the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, underwater archaeologists from Italy have discovered an ancient site of more than 300 amphorae.

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Italian researchers exploring the waters near the island of Pantelleria, in the region of Sicily, have made a stunning discovery. Archaeologists located a site of more than 300 amphoras from the Punic Wars period (264 BC – 146 BC) at a depth of 130 meters.

Divers exploring archaeological site with amphoras
Society for Documentation of Submerged Sites (SDSS) divers surveying the site

More than 300 amphorae from the 2nd-I century BC.

The researchers made the discovery just a few hundred meters from the port of Gadir, which is located on the northeastern tip of the island. The researchers conducted the dives as part of the Pantelleria 2022 project. All the work was coordinated by the Sicilian Region Maritime Surveillance, and the dives were led by a seven-member diving team from the Society for Documentation of Submerged Sites (SDSS). In turn, logistical assistance was provided by Edoardo Famularo and Marco Bonomo of the local Dive-Y Pantelleria center.

A team of technical divers has made documentation of the discovered site. Thanks to the data collected, it is known that there are more than 300 amphorae scattered along the 400-meter strip. The detailed research under the Pantelleria 2022 project was the result of a 2011 discovery. At the time, two Italian technical divers Francesco Spaggiari and Fabio Leonardi first encountered ancient artifacts at the site.

We are only at the beginning of a research and documentation campaign that is sure to reveal important traces of the past. The northern coast of Pantelleria has already provided valuable evidence that the island was on a shipping route in ancient times. We will continue to explore this interesting and challenging site. Given the considerable depth, cooperation with professionals has enabled us to achieve excellent results in the study of the Battle of Egadami said marine superintendent Ferdinando Maurici.

More than 300 amphorae at a site in the Mediterranean Sea
In total, more than 300 amphorae were found at the bottom

Further studies

Undoubtedly, in addition to the divers’ examination of the site, determining its size and taking photos and videos, it was particularly important to collect material that will be used to create a three-dimensional photogrammetric model. The creation of such a high-resolution model is particularly helpful when investigating inaccessible and deeply located objects. The 3D photogrammetric model faithfully reproduces the site in minute detail. This allows scientists and specialists to conduct research without going underwater.

Archaeologists have investigated a site with amphoras
Divers have collected important documentation that will allow further study of the site

Now the archaeologists have set their sights on the consistency of the archaeological site, the type of amphorae and their dispersal. Preliminary analysis of the photos indicated that the amphorae belong to five types and all date back to the Punic Wars. The ancient amphorae are in good condition, and preliminary estimates indicate that less than 30% appear damaged. Analysis of the photogrammetric model will determine this in more detail.

Photo: Claudio Provenzani/SDSS, Salvo Emma/Sopmare


You can learn about further successes of Polish underwater archaeologists in the 20th issue of 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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