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Well-preserved ancient wreck with a cargo of 300 amphorae discovered

Listen to this article Off the coast of Majorca, archaeologists have found a well-preserved ancient Roman wreck with a cargo of 300 amphorae. Spanish underwater archaeologists have completed the examination and excavation of a cargo of 300 amphorae from an ancient Roman vessel. Researchers found the wreck, dating back to around 1,700 years ago, in
Published: March 13, 2022 - 09:00
Updated: July 23, 2023 - 00:16
Well-preserved ancient wreck with a cargo of 300 amphorae discovered
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Off the coast of Majorca, archaeologists have found a well-preserved ancient Roman wreck with a cargo of 300 amphorae.

Spanish underwater archaeologists have completed the examination and excavation of a cargo of 300 amphorae from an ancient Roman vessel. Researchers found the wreck, dating back to around 1,700 years ago, in shallow water near one of Mallorca’s popular Ca’n Pastilla beaches in the Bay of Palma.

Wreck discovered on Mallorca After completion of the work as part of the Arqueomallornauta projectArchaeologists could not hide their enthusiasm. Researchers believe that this is one of the best preserved and most significant discoveries of its kind in the entire Mediterranean basin. During their work at the site, the specialists discovered hundreds of wonderfully preserved amphorae. The ceramic vessels not only had traces of their contents, but also painted labels describing the cargo.

According to experts, the ancient Roman wreck that was found near the beach dates back to the 3rd or 4th century. The vessel is well preserved, as it was covered by sand for centuries. Only so the wreck could have survived to our time, hidden only at a depth of 2 metres. This is all the more remarkable when you consider how popular and busy Ca’n Pastilla beach is.

300 amphorae discovered in Spain Among the goods that made up the contents of the amphorae found, archaeologists detailed wine, olives, oil and garum – a fermented fish sauce. Researchers believe that ship sunk while off MallorcaIt was on its way from south-west Spain to Italy. A storm and large waves sank the vessel and buried it under a layer of sand for the next century.

Discovery of an ancient Roman shipwreck – Arqueomallornautproject

For the first time Divers spotted wreckage in 2019., when they came across a fragment of an amphora. Such a find sparked the interest of researchers and the first work on the site began. In the course of the inspection, archaeologists determined that the wreck belongs to a wooden vessel, which measured about 12 m long and 5-6 m wide. The researchers also decided that the valuable find had to be protected and so the Arqueomallornaut project began.

photogrammetric image of the wreck Unfortunately, the restrictions that have arisen around the world have delayed the work. Therefore, the excavations only started in November 2021. A team of specialists worked underwater, dealing with the uncovering, excavation and protection of further artefacts. The researchers completed this part of the Arqueomallornaut project in February 2022.

As a result, it turned out that out of 300 amphorae found on the wreck, as many as 100 are intact. What is more, the vessels have painted inscriptions-labels, which reveal their contents. Some of them also have seals, with Christian signs. In addition to the load of amphorae, archaeologists also secured two shoes, a pot, an oil lamp with the symbol of the moon goddess Diana and woodworking tools.

underwater archaeologist holding one of the amphorae According to experts, this is a unique find that will shed new light on the trade picture in the Mediterranean Thanks to its fantastic state of preservation, it will also give you a little insight into the life of the crew.

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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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