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Stunning ancient shipwreck from 2200 years ago with hundreds of amphorae discovered in Italy

Published: July 30, 2023 - 16:55
Updated: July 30, 2023 - 18:05
Stunning ancient shipwreck from 2200 years ago with hundreds of amphorae discovered in Italy

In Italy, in the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea near the town of Civitavecchia, Italian carabinieri have discovered a stunning ancient shipwreck with hundreds of amphorae.

Italian carabinieri from the Archeology Section of the Operations Department of the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage have found and examined a stunning ancient shipwreck from the Roman era. The collected video and photo documentation revealed that the archaeological site is intact. The researchers were surprised by the richness and state of preservation of the amphorae discovered on the seabed.

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Stunning ancient shipwreck

Stunning ancient shipwreck captured by ROV cameras Photo: Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale

The efforts of Italian carabinieri from a special unit dedicated to the protection of cultural heritage assets were supervised by the Prosecutor’s Office. During their operations, the carabinieri used a new and specially equipped boat with sonar and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). The Taranto Underwater Cultural Heritage Superintendency, with the authorisation of the competent Judicial Authority, started the necessary procedures to survey and safeguard the underwater archaeological area identified by the Carabinieri of the Cultural Heritage Protection Command.

The search and recovery operations were carried out with the use of advanced technical equipment provided by the Carabinieri Diving Centre in Genoa and the Carabinieri Diving Unit in Rome, with the help of the deep-sea patrol boat of the Carabinieri Company’s Naval Service in Civitavecchia.

In particular, the Remotely Operated Vehicle was used, including sonar and echosounder, which, together with the high-performance features of the ultra-modern N 802 ‘Frau’ class offshore patrol boat, enabled the important discovery and complete mapping of the submerged archaeological site, leading to the further identification, in the immediate perimeter of the wreck, of two metal Roman anchor logs belonging to the ancient ship.

Stunning ancient shipwreck

The remains of a merchant ship, estimated to be around 2,200 years old, were discovered by carabinieri at a depth of 160 metres. In addition to the wooden parts of the ship’s structure, the site is full of superbly preserved amphorae. According to the published informations, the number of amphorae is estimated to be in the hundreds. The Italian media, which reported the discovery of the wreck, described it as a ‘treasure trove of amphorae‘.

This exceptional discovery of a ancien shipwreck represents an important example of the sinking of a Roman ship which faced the perils of the sea in an attempt to reach the coast and bears witness to the ancient maritime trade routes – an Italian Police spokesman said in an official press release.

Archaeologists estimated that the discovered ancient shipwreck was a merchant vessel measuring about 20 metres in length. The ship dated back to the first or second century BC and was carrying a large cargo of amphorae, which experts classified as Dressel type 1 B. At this point, researchers have not yet determined what might have been inside them.

The waters off the Italian coast are full of wrecks from different eras. Carabinieri from a special unit constantly monitor them in an effort to discover and secure the historical heritage that has ended up at the bottom of the sea over the centuries.

Cicitavecchia

The unusual discovery of stunning ancient shipwreck was made by carabinieri on the west coast of Italy, near the town of Civitavecchia, which had been an important harbour on the Tyrrhenian Sea since ancient times. Originally founded by the Etruscans, it was later developed under the Romans and flourished in the next centuries. Today, the port is an important point in maritime communication from central Italy towards Sicily, Sardinia or the Iberian Peninsula.

Photo: Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale

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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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