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Two ancient amphorae recovered from ancient wreck in Italy

In mid-May, Italian and Maltese archaeologists excavated two ancient amphorae from the Tyrrhenian Sea. The researchers found both artefacts on the wreck of an ancient Roman ship. A combined expedition by scientists from Sicily and Malta has been successful. From a depth of more than 80 metres, underwater archaeologists have excavated two ancient amphorae. The
Published: May 21, 2021 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 22:36
Two ancient amphorae recovered from ancient wreck in Italy

In mid-May, Italian and Maltese archaeologists excavated two ancient amphorae from the Tyrrhenian Sea. The researchers found both artefacts on the wreck of an ancient Roman ship.

A combined expedition by scientists from Sicily and Malta has been successful. From a depth of more than 80 metres, underwater archaeologists have excavated two ancient amphorae. The vessels they were a payload of a Roman ship that researchers located in 2019.

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artefacts from an ancient shipwreck
Ancient amphorae after being brought to the surface

The whole project was quite demanding, due to the considerable depth at which the wreck is located. The archaeologists also had to deal with unfavourable weather conditions. It was the unfavourable weather that twice thwarted their plans, forcing them to abandon the dives.

Archaeologists after excavation of monuments from water
Archaeologists after excavation of monuments from water
International cooperation

Fortunately, experienced technical divers from University of Malta Timmy Gambin, Riccardo Cingillo and Gian Michele Iaria, assisted by a team of Guardia di Finanza and Sopmare divers, managed the challenge.

Ancient Roman wreck and its cargo
The amphorae were found on the wreck at a depth of about 80 metres

Although the excavation of the amphorae concludes the next phase of research, we must now focus on determining the age of the found wreck. To this end, we will try to carry out all the necessary research in the museum as soon as possible. I would also like to stress that this is yet another time when the activities carried out have taken place in great harmony and synergy between Sicily and Malta.stated Sicilian Councillor for Cultural Heritage Alberto Samonà

The sunken history of Sicily

The wreck of an unknown Roman trading vessel was already known before, as researchers found it in 2019. Archaeologists located it on the seabed near the small island of Ustica, located about 50 km north of Sicily. Interestingly, the wreck is located just 200 metres off the coast.

The vessel after being pulled ashore
Archaeologists will now subject the amphorae to detailed examination

Two ancient amphorae retrieved from the Tyrrhenian Sea represent just a fraction of the cargo found on the wreck. The researchers decided to lift them from the bottom in order to get a better understanding of the sunken vessel. No doubt, with their help, they hope to be able to determine its age and where it came from and where it was going.

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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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