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Ancient Roman shipwreck discovered near Italian capital with near intact cargo

The Italian Carabinieri discovered the remains of an Ancient Roman cargo ship full of "amphorae."
The Italian Carabinieri discovered the remains of an Ancient Roman cargo ship full of "amphorae." Copyright Carabinieri
Copyright Carabinieri
By Savin Mattozzi
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A 2,000 year old ancient Roman cargo ship was found off the coast of Civitavecchia with many of its contents still intact.


The cultural heritage and art wing of Italy's carabinieri has found an ancient Roman cargo ship off the coast of Italy’s capital that dates back to between the 1st and 2nd century BCE.

The shipwreck was discovered about 160 metres beneath the sea near the port city of Civitavecchia, 80 kilometres west of Rome, by the city’s art task force who were assisted by colleagues from Genoa as well as neighbouring Civitavecchia.

Using a remote controlled robot, the Carabinieri was able to film the shipwreck and estimate it to be between 20 and 30 metres long.

One of the most striking things about this find is the amount of intact cargo still resting in the hull of the ship. Hundreds of well preserved and sealed amphorae or Roman jugs were documented by the Carabinieri’s cameras.

Similar Roman cargo ships found in the past measured up to 60 metres and had more complex structures, while this recent find appears to be a medium sized ship with a more simple construction.

In 2021, two ancient Roman shipwrecks were discovered off the coast of Sicily. Both of those ships had been transporting large amounts of wine.

Although there is no word yet on when - or if - this wreckage will be brought to the surface, archaeologists are expected to conduct research on the contents of the ship and see what it was carrying.

According to Italian media, it is assumed that given the size of the ship and its location, it could have originated in Spain and it would have been transporting olives, oil and various fruits like figs and peaches.

The Romans had very complex and busy trade routes throughout the Mediterranean which transported grains, food building materials and valuables across the former empire.

Additional sources • La Repubblica

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