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Italians to make ancient wrecks accessible to divers?

In the coastal waters of Sicily, Italian underwater archaeologists have investigated two sites located on the remains of ancient Roman-era merchant ships. The researchers, using a dive team and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), inspected the wrecks and produced photo and video documentation. The first of the explored wrecks was found near Catania. The site
Published: September 22, 2020 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 21:07
Italians to make ancient wrecks accessible to divers?

In the coastal waters of Sicily, Italian underwater archaeologists have investigated two sites located on the remains of ancient Roman-era merchant ships. The researchers, using a dive team and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), inspected the wrecks and produced photo and video documentation.

The first of the explored wrecks was found near Catania. The site is located at a depth of about 55 metres and is characterised by the presence of hundreds of amphorae, among which five different types have been distinguished. According to the researchers, wine was probably transported inside them and they can be dated to the turn of the 2nd and 1st century BC.

two ancient shipwrecks in Italy divers24.pl
Ancient wrecks to become new attraction for divers photo by Alexander Pagano

The second wreck has been known a little longer, since 1986. On its deck, ancient merchants carried a cargo of large rectangular tiles and semicircular tiles. The remains of the vessel are located at a depth of about 40 metres, very close to the coast, at the height of the village of Ognina. Interestingly, the wreck has never been examined by archaeologists, so now researchers have assessed the area of dispersal and the conditions of the cargo.

Being able to operate at these depths with an ROV equipped with a camera has allowed us to get a much better look at the archaeological sites and assess their condition and preservation. It’s a great comfort to be able to direct the ROV to particularly interesting and important areas to better understand and explore the object of study,” said archaeologist Nicolò Bruno

The choice of these two sites as the object of study was not accidental. The researchers wanted to know the potential and state of preservation of the sites, in order to possibly take them into account when creating underwater routes for diving tourists.

Si è appena conclusa un’importante campagna di indagine nelle acque di Catania per verificare lo stato di conservazione…

Published by Soprintendenza del Mare Monday 31 August 2020

There is no shortage of diving companies in the area, so there is nothing to prevent you from following the latest trends already applied in Malta or Greece, where it has been decided to make the historical heritage available as an underwater exhibition.

Amphorae ancient wrecks Sicily divers24.co.uk
Historical heritage is increasingly becoming a magnet for tourists photo Alexander Pagano

The remains of the first wreck are fantastically visible and require essentially no intervention. The load of amphorae can be seen very clearly, without having to descend to great depths. The case is different in the second case. Here it is necessary to clear the sand from the tiles and shingles that are piled up. The Italians are considering such a scenario to be implemented during the archaeological work on the site.

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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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