by Isis Davis-Marks/Smithsonianmag.com
Archaeologists off the coast of Palermo, Sicily, have discovered an ancient Roman shipwreck laden with amphorae, or jars used mainly for transporting wine and olive oil.
The Superintendence of the Sea (SopMare), a Sicilian government body responsible for safeguarding historical and natural objects found in marine waters, uncovered the second-century B.C.E. vessel near the Isola delle Femmine, reports local newspaper PalermoToday. The ship rests in the Mediterranean Sea at a depth of about 302 feet.
On board the wreck was a “copious cargo” of wine amphorae, writes Lorenzo Tondo for the Guardian. Authorities hailed the find as one of most important archaeological discoveries made in the region in recent years.
“The Mediterranean continually gives us precious elements for the reconstruction of our history linked to maritime trade, the types of boats, the transport carried out,’’ says Valeria Li Vigni, expedition leader and superintendent of the sea for Sicily, in a statement, per a translation by the Guardian. “Now we will know more about life on board and the relationships between coastal populations.’’