Usually when researchers get excited about a shipwreck, it's because it contains treasures like precious metals or ancient artifacts. However, in the case of a recent find, the buzz is all about . . . . . . the well-preserved food and wine!
Discovered in early August the 2,000 years old yet to be identified Roman vessel was first spotted by fisherman from the coastal town of Varazze, that lies 18 miles west of Genoa, Italy. They alerted the local authorities after inadvertently catching fragments of amphorae, (terracota jar-like containers used in the ancient times to transport food) in their fishnets.
Using a remotely operated vehicle, the officials first marked out the ship's exact location and then sent down divers to examine the area for remains of a sunken ship. To their surprise, just 200 feet below the surface of the water, preserved all these years by the sandy mud, lay an almost intact wreck. Inside, are about 200 amphorae - While some are broken, most are sealed. The few that have been brought to the surface were found to contain perishables like pickled fish, grain, wine and oil.
Experts believe that the ship was a Roman merchant vessel that was carrying food and wine from Central Italy to Spain to barter for other goods sometime between the 1st Century BC and 1st Century AD. Researchers are hoping that further investigation of the food items that still lies inside some of the other containers, will give them an interesting insight into the lifestyle of the ancient Europeans.
The Italian authorities are still deciding whether to bring up the entire ship so that its contents can be examined thoroughly. Meanwhile, they have sealed off the area from fishermen and other vessels to prevent damage and looting.
Resources: news.discovery.com, dailymail.co.uk