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Into the Drink! Roman Shipwreck Stocked with Amphorae Found Near Cyprus

Into the Drink! Roman Shipwreck Stocked with Amphorae Found Near Cyprus

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A ship that has lain at the bottom of the Eastern Mediterranean for about 2000 years has been found by marine archaeologists according to the Department of Antiquities of the Republic of Cyprus. The Roman shipwreck was found off the coast of Cyprus and it is expected that the discovery can help researchers better understand the economy and society of the Eastern Mediterranean during the Roman Empire.

The wreck was found off Cyprus’ ‘southeast coast, near the popular beach resort of Protaras,’ according to France 24 . This is a well-known tourist resort which is not far from the Cypriot port of Larnaca . According to the In-Cyprus website, ‘it is the first undisturbed Roman shipwreck ever found’ in the waters of the Mediterranean island nation.

Roman trireme on the mosaic in Tunisia. (Mathiasrex/ CC BY SA 3.0 )

Divers Found the Roman Shipwreck

This remarkable discovery was made ‘ by Spyros Spyrou and Andreas Kritiotis, both volunteer divers,’ according to Greek Reporter . They are part of a volunteer marine archaeological research team, connected to the Maritime Archaeological Research Laboratory (MARELab), which is affiliated with the University of Cyprus.

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The divers immediately contacted the relevant authorities. Officials have praised the men for their discovery and for alerting them to the wreck.

A group of professional marine archaeologists and volunteer divers have recorded the shipwreck . Greek Reporter states that ‘this is the first time that an underwater archaeological project has been fully funded by the country’s Ministry of Transport, Communications, and Works’’. The Cypriot government is keen to demonstrate its commitment to preserving the island’s heritage.

The divers found a large number of amphorae on the seafloor around the wreck. This was the sunken ship’s cargo. An amphora is a ‘narrow necked Roman jar designed to hold liquid products including oil and wine,’’ according to France 24 .

Oil and wine were widely traded in the Roman Empire as they were staples of the Roman diet . These clay pots were often mass-produced and they have been found all over the Mediterranean and have often provided invaluable evidence on the history of trade and economic activity.

Amphorae. ( Pixabay License )

These containers are providing clues to the ship and its history. The wreck dates from the Roman Empire, which dominated the Eastern Mediterranean for centuries. This means that it probably dates from at least 58 BC when Cyprus was taken over by the Roman Republic .

Adding to the List of Shipwrecks

The discovery of large numbers of these clay pots indicates that the ship was a merchant vessel used in maritime trade . It is probably the remains of a craft that came from either Syria or Cilicia (in modern Turkey), both rich provinces in the Classical period. The vessel may have been voyaging to a local port when it sank.

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2nd/3rd Century AD fresco depicting a Roman merchant vessel.

The latest discovery is only the ancient shipwrecks that has been identified in the waters of the Mediterranean country. This is because the island was on several important maritime trade routes from the Bronze Age right down to the Middle Ages and many vessels have sunk around its waters.

In 2007 a wreck from the 4th century BC, which may be that of a Greek or Phoenician ship , was found off the east coast of Cyprus. This is providing invaluable insights into the construction of ships in the Classical period and into the trade routes of the era.

There is an ongoing investigation into the site on the seabed and more finds could be made. This Roman shipwreck and its cargo can help researchers to better understand trade in the Eastern Mediterranean. It can also help them to understand the role of Cyprus in the economic life of the Roman Empire.

Divers Find 16th-Century Shipwreck Off Coast of Northern Italy

Two professional divers exploring the waters off the coast of northern Italy have discovered the wreck of a large wooden ship thought to date to the 16th century, reports Vincenzo Bruno for Italian news site Notizie.

Investigation of the find is ongoing, but a statement from the Archaeology Superintendency of Italy’s Ministry for Cultural Heritage & Tourism suggests the wooden hull may represent the remnants of a much sought-after galleon that sank in the area in 1579. Named the Santo Spirito and Santa Maria di Loreto, the ship was one of the largest Italian merchant vessels of its time.

In February, Gabriele Succi and Edoardo Sbaraini of local business Rasta Divers were diving near Porto Pidocchio when they spotted the remains of a wooden ship at a depth of around 164 feet, according to Diver Net. The pair immediately knew their find was something special, as wood rarely survives in saltwater unless it is buried by sediment.

Per a second statement, Mediterranean wrecks dating to the early modern period are exceptionally rare. Including the new discovery, which boasts wooden comb elements and a double skeleton, just five ships of this type have been found in the body of water to date, underwater archaeologist Luca Trigona tells local media, as quoted by the Maritime Executive.

Beyond offering insights on the region’s naval history, the wreck’s potential identity as the Santo Spirito has generated much speculation and excitement. As James Rogers reports for Fox News, divers have been searching for the Italian merchant ship since the 1970s.

Builders constructed the galleon in a style popularized by Ragusa, a maritime republic located in what is now Dubrovnik, Croatia, according to Diver Net. On October 29, 1579, a storm struck the ship—which had set sail from Genoa with nearly 2,000 tons of bronze cannons, ammunition and nails for shipbuilding onboard—dashing it against the cliffs between Camogli and Punta Chiappa. Locals helped rescue the ship’s crew, placing themselves at risk of contracting the plague, which was then raging through Genoa, according to the Naval Archaeology Research Group.

If the ship’s identity is confirmed, it will be the first Renaissance-era vessel discovered with its hull timbers still intact, reports Diver Net. Italian officials say they expect to find ceramics, coins, navigational instruments, cannons and anchors upon conducting further exploration of the wreckage.

“The new wreck . will certainly be a mine of information for the history of the Mediterranean seafaring,” says Simon Luca Trigona, an underwater archaeologist with the municipality of Genoa, in the statement. “Perhaps it will be able to end the long chapter linked to the search for the famous Ragusa wreck of the Santo Spirito & Santa Maria di Loreto.”

This isn’t the first time Succi and Sbaraini have stumbled upon a significant piece of naval history. In 2018, the duo found a Roman shipwreck laden with 2,000-year-old amphorae off the coast of Portofino. Both times, the divers notified authorities of their find—as stipulated by local law—and worked with the superintendency and Italy’s Underwater Carabinieri to conduct additional surveys of the site.

Ancient ‘Shipwreck Graveyard’ with Tons of Loot Found in the Aegean Sea

The Davey Jones locker of the Mediterranean has been found with the discovery of this shipwreck graveyard. In ancient times, the Aegean Sea was a common trade route linking the Greeks to other ports in the Mediterranean and as far away as Egypt and Spain. Located between Asia Minor and Greece, it is an extension of the Mediterranean Sea peppered with islands that form an Archipelago.

There are seven groups of islands: the Thracian Sea group, the east Aegean group, the Northern Sporades, the Cyclades, the Saronic Islands, the Dodecanese group, and Crete. The island of Levitha is in the Dodecanese region and has an area of about six square miles. The sea around the island is rough with currents that are called the “euripus phenomenon”, a term coined by Aristotle according to Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Because of the fierce currents, the surrounding seabed is covered with over two thousand ancient shipwrecks. Recently, five of these shipwrecks were explored. The underwater excavation performed in June of 2019 was carried out by archaeologist George Koutsouflakis, director of the Department of Underwater Archaeological Sites, Monuments and Research with the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, part of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports.

Part of the discovery. Image: © Anastasis Agathos/Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities/Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

Fifty- seven group dives, totalling ninety-two hours, were spent exploring the wrecks so far. Exploration will continue in the Aegean islands of Glaros, Mavria and Chinaros as well as further study around Levitha until at least 2021. The most startling discovery was of a granite anchor pole dating to the sixth century B.C. found almost one hundred and fifty feet below the surface weighing almost nine hundred pounds.

Most of the shipwrecks in the area carried amphorae, large containers usually made from ceramic or terra cotta with a narrow neck and handles on either side used to carry goods in transport. Some were plain, with only the maker’s stamp, but others were decorated with intricate designs often from Greek mythology.

More of the discovery. Image: © Anastasis Agathos/Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities/Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

Some had flat bottoms while others were pointed to make packing easier. When the pointed jugs were brought from the boat they were set into bronze or ceramic stands. The capacity was usually about six gallons but some able to hold almost ten gallons have been reported and tiny vessels called “amphoriskoi” were used to store perfume.

The world’s oldest shipwreck dating from 400 BC of ancient Greek origin, likely a trading vessel. Photo by Black Sea MAP/EEF Expeditions

The stamps on amphorae were usually found near the top of the jug and identified the pottery shop where it was made. They often had expiration dates of the contents and were sometimes used to ensure quality according to Ancient History Encyclopedia. The most common goods carried were wine and olive oil, two of the major staples of ancient life, but fish sauce, preserved fruits, olives, honey, and dry food such as grains were carried as well. Amphorae were also used as funeral containers for ashes or foodstuffs buried in graves to take to the afterlife.

Island groups of the Aegean Sea

Greek Reporter tells us most of the shipwrecks were from the first and second centuries B.C. and A.D. when the Ptolemaic and Hellenic Antigonid dynasties governed the Aegean’s trade routes. They carried goods from the islands of Kos and Rhodes and the cities of Knidos in present day Turkey, Carthage in modern day Tunisia in North Africa, and Phoenicia in today’s Lebanon.

The water trade routes were critical to the economy of the Aegean Islands. For those who like to study the trade routes, Lear Walter Scheidel and Elijah Meeks, along with Stanford University historians and IT specialists, have created an online program that tells us the distance and costs to ship goods in the Roman Empire which roughly coincides with the end of the Hellenic dynasties.

ORBIS, as it is called, explores not only water transportation, but the other options for traveling and transporting goods. ORBIS is the Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World and allows users to calculate transportation based on what conditions were two thousand years ago with the ability to choose a route, speed, and method of travel. Weather, topography, sea conditions, and river currents are as closely matched to the actual conditions of the time as possible.

According to ORBIS, the speed option also provides rates such as a “horse with rider on routine travel”, a “rapid military march,” in a “camel caravan” and on an “ox cart”. Sea or river routes can be chosen with river boats and sailing ships and adjusted to find the most economical and fastest passages.

Into the Drink! Roman Shipwreck Stocked with Amphorae Found Near Cyprus - History

Greek Ministry of Culture The shipwrecks were first unearthed in the fall of 2020.

It was in the fall of 2020 when researchers in Greece made the discovery of a lifetime. Just off the coast of the island of Kasos lay four shipwrecks. Not only did these shipwrecks span millennia, they also contained ancient artifacts that now serve as a window through time — and offer a glimpse into some of the trade networks of the ancient world.

According to The Smithsonian, the four ships were all dated to different historical periods — one from the Hellenistic era in the first century B.C., one from the Classical era in the fifth century B.C., one from the second or third century A.D., and one that was fairly modern.

While these are all significant finds, the most remarkable discovery was a trove of Roman pottery — which was found on the shipwreck from the second or third century A.D. This hoard included amphorae filled with oil that had been produced in Spain, as well as amphorae from modern-day Tunisia.

“This is the first time we [have found] amphorae from Spain and North Africa, which probably transported oil to Rhodes or the coasts of Asia Minor,” said Xanthis Argyris, who served as the co-leader of the expedition.

Greek Ministry of Culture Divers bringing ancient pottery to the surface.

According to the Ancient History Encyclopedia, amphorae are basically jars or jugs with two vertical handles. In days of antiquity, they were often used for storing and transporting food, olive oil, or wine. The term amphora itself comes from the Greek word amphiphoreus, which essentially translates to “carried on both sides.” While often associated with the Greeks, these jars were also commonly used by ancient Romans and Phoenicians.

Amphorae have served archaeologists and historians well, in terms of revealing the diets and behaviors of ancient civilizations. One can deduce what they ate and drank, what they deemed worthy enough of rigorous transportation, and what their trade routes may have looked like.

According to Ancient Origins, the fact that these preserved amphorae were found in a Roman shipwreck off Kasos has already told researchers a lot. Situated between Crete and Karpathos, Kasos is the southernmost Greek island — and it’s also located on a historic trade route that connects the Aegean region to the Middle East.

As such, this area has obviously been of great interest to researchers. And over the past three years, the Kasos Maritime Archaeological Project — led by the National Hellenic Research Foundation and the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities — has been combing the seas around Kasos in the hopes of finding new artifacts. This latest excavation required immense effort on the part of the researchers — and led to huge results.

Greek Ministry of Culture One of the many ancient amphorae discovered in the Roman-era shipwreck off Kasos.

Unearthing these items has required 100 group dives totaling about 200 hours, led by 23 experts in a variety of fields. Perhaps most stunning is that Argyris and his fellow co-leader Georgios Koutsouflakis were able to cover more than 80 percent of the area that they’ve deemed of interest.

Meanwhile, the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports explained that ancient Kasos was “a crossroads of cultures,” which is apparently still fertile with archaeological finds today. The amphorae found last fall are said to hold more clues about trade in the Mediterranean throughout history.

And these recently found shipwrecks are not the only discoveries that can help paint that picture. In 2019, the same research team that found these Roman-era amphorae found five other shipwrecks, one of which dated to the Greek War of Independence in the 1820s.

With the others spanning from the fourth century B.C. to modern times, there’s no question that there are far more discoveries lurking beneath the ocean’s surface in the area. Fortunately, Argyris and Koutsouflakis have already scheduled additional dives for this year.

Greek Ministry of Culture The newly discovered shipwrecks spanned millennia, from ancient years to modern times.

“The next research project will include a state-of-the-art seabed detection machine without divers that will give us possible wreck points both on the surface and at the bottom,” said Argyris.

Most fascinating of all is that this endeavor is now more precise than ever before. The team essentially began the project with a mere map of the Mediterranean Sea and potential points of interest for diving teams. After the last few discoveries, that map is now dotted with found shipwrecks.

In that sense, a simple jug tells us much more than what items were once stored inside it. Finding these artifacts and keeping track of their locations allows experts to connect the dots along trade routes — and hopefully figure out how these items ended up where they did.

After reading about the trove of ancient treasures found in a shipwreck off the coast of Greece, learn about 10 astonishing sunken ships from around the world. Then, read about the Greek farmer who stumbled upon a 3,400-year-old Minoan tomb under an olive grove.

Enormous Roman Shipwreck Found Off Greek Island

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.

“[The shipwreck] provides further evidence that the eastern Ionian Sea was part of an important trading route ferrying goods from the Aegean and the Levant to the peri-Adriatic Roman provinces and that Fiscardo port was a significant calling place,” write the study’s authors in the paper.

The researchers hope to conduct more extensive archaeological examination of the ship, which likely boasts a well-preserved wooden frame. They hope the wreck will reveal new information on Roman shipping routes, including what types of goods were traded, how cargo was stowed aboard and how the vessel was constructed.

A sonar scan reveals the pile of amphorae found on the seafloor. (Ferentinos et. al.)

Lead author George Ferentinos tells New Scientist’s Ruby Prosser Scully that he thinks the extra effort would be worthwhile .

He adds, “It’s half buried in the sediment, so we have high expectations that if we go to an excavation in the future we will find part or the whole wooden hull.”

Still, says Ferentinos, performing a full-scale study of the ship would be a “very difficult and costly job.” For now, the team is sticking to more modest goals, like recovering “an amphora and using DNA techniques to find whether it was filled with wine, olive oil, nuts, wheat or barley.”

Eventually, the team may seek an investor to turn the site into a diving park.

The Fiscardo ship isn’t the only wreck reshaping archaeologists’ understanding of Roman trade routes. Over the summer, researchers in Cyprus discovered the first “undisturbed” Roman shipwreck ever found in that nation. Located off the coast of Protaras, the ship probably carried oil or wine and came from the Roman provinces of Syria and Cilicia.

And last month, Greek archaeologists identified five new shipwrecks off the island of Kasos, including one dated to the end of the fourth century B.C. and another from the first century B.C. A third ship was dated to the later Byzantine period, while the remaining two were linked with the Greek War of Independence, which took place during the 1820s.

About Jason Daley

Jason Daley is a Madison, Wisconsin-based writer specializing in natural history, science, travel, and the environment. His work has appeared in Discover, Popular Science, Outside, Men’s Journal, and other magazines.

Cyprus discovers 'first undisturbed Roman shipwreck'

Cyprus has found its first undisturbed Roman shipwreck complete with ancient cargo off its southern coast, the antiquities department said Thursday, noting the discovery could illuminate regional trading history.

"The site is a wreck of a Roman ship, loaded with transport amphorae, most probably from Syria and Cilicia," the antiquities department said in a statement.

An amphora is a narrow necked Roman jar designed to hold liquid products including oil and wine.

"It is the first undisturbed Roman shipwreck ever found in Cyprus, the study of which is expected to shed new light on the breadth and the scale of seaborne trade between Cyprus and the rest of the Roman provinces of the eastern Mediterranean," it added.

The wreck is located off the Mediterranean island's southeast coast, near the popular beach resort of Protaras.

It was spotted by volunteer divers from a University of Cyprus archaeological research team.

The antiquities department said it had secured full funding for a preliminary investigation, which would take place as soon as possible.

The statement said a team is working on the documentation and protection of the site.

Cypriot waters have already proved rich for archaeological investigation in recent years.

A wreck dating back to late in the ancient Greek era, which sank off Mazotos on Cyprus' south coast in the middle of the 4th century BC, is thought to be one of the region's best-preserved troves.

In December last year, the antiquities department said archaeologists working on that wreck had gained intricate insights into the evolution of ancient boat-building technology in the Mediterranean.

Evidence found on that shipwreck -- where research began in 2007, and which went down carrying jars of wine -- was linked to both the Greeks and the Phoenicians, the department said.

Ancient shipwrecks found in Greek waters tell tale of trade routes

FOURNI, Greece (Reuters) - Archaeologists in Greece have discovered at least 58 shipwrecks, many laden with antiquities, in what they say may be the largest concentration of ancient wrecks ever found in the Aegean and possibly the whole of the Mediterranean.

The wrecks lie in the small island archipelago of Fournoi, in the Eastern Aegean, and span a huge period from ancient Greece right through to the 20th century. Most are dated to the Greek, Roman and Byzantine eras.

Although shipwrecks can be seen together in the Aegean, until now such a large number have not been found together.

Experts say they weave an exciting tale of how ships full of cargo traveling through the Aegean, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea met their fate in sudden storms and surrounded by rocky cliffs in the area.

“The excitement is difficult to describe, I mean, it was just incredible. We knew that we had stumbled upon something that was going to change the history books,” said underwater archaeologist and co-director of the Fournoi survey project Dr. Peter Campbell of the RPM Nautical Foundation.

The foundation is collaborating on the project with Greece’s Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, which is conducting the research.

When the international team began the underwater survey in 2015, they were astounded to find 22 shipwrecks that year. With their latest finds that number has climbed to 58, and the team believe there are even more secrets lying on the seabed below.

“I would call it, probably, one of the top archaeological discoveries of the century in that we now have a new story to tell of a navigational route that connected the ancient Mediterranean,” Campbell told Reuters.

The vessels and their contents paint a picture of ships carrying goods on routes from the Black Sea, Greece, Asia Minor, Italy, Spain, Sicily, Cyprus, the Levant, Egypt and north Africa.

The team has raised more than 300 antiquities from the shipwrecks, particularly amphorae, giving archaeologists rare insight into where goods were being transported around the Mediterranean.

“Ninety percent of the shipwrecks that we found in the Fournoi archipelago carried a cargo of amphorae.

“The amphora is a vessel used mainly for transporting liquids and semi-liquids in antiquity, so the goods it would be transporting were mostly wine, oil, fish sauces, perhaps honey,” archaeologist and Fournoi survey project director Dr. George Koutsouflakis from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, said. Fish sauce from the Black Sea region in antiquity was an expensive commodity, he added.

They were particularly excited by amphorae they found originating from the Black Sea and north Africa in shipwrecks from the late Roman period, as it is rare to find cargo from these regions intact in shipwrecks in the Aegean, said Koutsouflakis.

Bad weather is the most likely explanation for why the ships all sank in the same area, he said. The region experiences lots of sudden, fierce squalls and is surrounded by rocky shores.

Fournoi was a stopover point for ships to spend the night during their journey.

“Because there are narrow passages between the islands, a lot of gulfs, and descending winds from the mountains, sudden windstorms are created.

“It is not a coincidence that a large number of the wrecks have been found in those passages. if there is a sudden change in the wind’s direction, and if the captain was from another area and was not familiar with the peculiarities of the local climate, he could easily end up losing control of the ship and falling upon the rocks,” said Koutsouflakis.

In later times Fournoi was considered a pirate’s haven, said Campbell. Pirates were drawn to the area by the abundant flow of vessels laden with rich cargo. Although weather was believed to be the primary reason for the sinkings, piracy may have contributed in some cases, he said.

The condition of the shipwrecks vary. Some are well preserved, others are in pieces after the ships crashed on the rocks.

“We have wrecks that are completely virgin. We feel we were the first ones to find them, but they are in very deep waters - at a depth of 60 meters. Usually from 40 meters and below we have wrecks in good condition. Anything above 40 meters has either lost its consistency or has been badly looted in the past,” said Koutsouflakis.

The survey team discovered the shipwrecks from sightings by local sponge divers and fishermen.

Fournoi is made up of 20 small islands, islets and reefs between the larger Ikaria, Patmos and Samos islands. The population does not reach more than 1,500, mainly located on the main island of Fournoi.

The team, which includes archaeologists, architects, conservators, and divers, want to create a center for underwater archaeology in Fournoi for students, as well as a local museum to house their finds.

Ancient Roman shipwreck discovered undisturbed in Mediterranean

An ancient Roman-era shipwreck has been discovered at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea off the eastern coast of Cyprus.

Divers found it was still loaded with transport amphorae – large clay jars typically used for holding wine and other liquids.

It is thought to be the first well-preserved discovery of its kind in the island nation’s history.

Cyprus’ Antiquities Department said the ship was most probably from Syria and ancient Cilicia on modern-day Turkey‘s southern coast.

Underwater archaeologists were working to examine the ship, the department added.

Vasco da Gama shipwreck discovered

1 /6 Vasco da Gama shipwreck discovered

Vasco da Gama shipwreck discovered

Excavating the site using airlifts

Vasco da Gama shipwreck discovered

Searching the wreck site

Vasco da Gama shipwreck discovered

Excavating the wreck site

Vasco da Gama shipwreck discovered

Ghabatt ar Rahib Bay

Vasco da Gama shipwreck discovered

Aerial view of the wreck site

Vasco da Gama shipwreck discovered

Geophysical survey operations

The wreck was found by a pair of volunteer divers with the University of Cyprus’ archaeological research unit.

The Antiquities Department said study of the vessel was “expected to shed new light on the breadth and the scale of seaborne trade between Cyprus and the rest of the Roman provinces of the eastern Mediterranean”.

A number of ancient vessels have been found off the island’s coast including one dating back the Greek era in the middle of the 4th century BC which is thought to be one of the region’s best preserved.

Archeologists working on that wreck said they had gained insights into the evolution of ancient boat-building in the region.



Side-scan sonar (SSS) technology is used to create images of the sea floor.

It works by beaming out high-frequency sound pulses in a wide fan shape from a boat floating on the surface.

The reflected pulses are recorded and processed to produce an image of the sea floor, and identify different materials and textures.

SSS is used in marine archaeology, environmental science and the military.

Goods such as cereal, wine, oil and olives were transported throughout all the Mediterranean harbours, with Rome as their final destination.

It has not yet been decided if the shipwreck is to be raised from the bottom of the ocean, but if recovered further study could reveal more about its origin.

The underwater sonar techniques may also provide information about the ship’s hull stowage and its vulnerability to human activity, as well as what might have sunk the ship.

While earlier Mediterranean shipwrecks were found using Scuba divers, the team used computer vision techniques to process side-scan sonar seafloor images.

This kind of modern underwater sensing technology is a valuable tool for separating ancient shipwreck targets from other seafloor features with similar acoustic signatures.


During the Roman era, there were certain ways that people preserved food to make it last longer.

Food was made to last longer using honey and salt as a preservative, which greatly increased the time before it spoiled.

Smoking was also used in European cultures of the time, enabling our ancestors to produce sausage, bacon and ham.

Romans also knew how to pickle in vinegar, boil in brine and dry fruit too.

All of these techniques were used to make fresh food last longer.

As well as these treatments, storage was improved, including vast stores that were built to keep grain and cereals in.

Classic storage containers were barrels, amphorae and clay pots, as well as grain silos and warehouses.

Wealthy Romans also had large storage cellars in their villas, where wine and oil amphorae were buried in sand.

A stone table with a high, smooth, base was used to store fruit during the winter. The design of the table meant that no pests could reach the food.

Romans in affluent households used snow to keep their wine and food cold on hot days.

Snow from mountains in Lebanon, Syria and Armenia was imported on camels, buried in pits in the ground and then covered with manure and branches.

In some regions, towns in the Alps for example, used local snow and ice as well as deep pits to build huge refrigerators.


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