6,000 Amphora Discovered in Ancient Roman Shipwreck

The Fiscardo wreck's amphorae are exceptionally well-preserved. (Ionian Aquarium)

Enormous Roman Shipwreck Found Off Greek Island

by Jason Daley/Smithsonian.com

Researchers exploring the waters off the Greek Island of Kefallinia have unearthed one of the largest Roman-era shipwrecks ever found.

As Julia Buckley reports for CNN, a team from Greece’s University of Patras located the remains of the ship, as well as its cargo of 6,000 amphorae—ceramic jugs used for shipping—while conducting a sonar scan of the area. The 110-foot-long vessel, newly detailed in the Journal of Archaeological Science, was situated at a depth of 197 feet.

According to the paper, the “Fiscardo” wreck (named after a nearby fishing port) was one of several identified during cultural heritage surveys undertaken in the region between 2013 and 2014. Researchers also discovered three nearly intact World War II wrecks: specifically, two ships and a plane.

The vessel is among the four largest Roman shipwrecks found in the Mediterranean Sea to date; experts think the ship is the largest ever unearthed in the eastern Mediterranean.

Based on the type of amphorae found in the Fiscardo ship’s cargo, the team dates the wreck to sometime between the first century B.C. and the first century A.D.—roughly around the time of the rise of the Roman Empire. Four other major Roman wrecks are scattered across the surrounding sea.

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