'Almost Intact' Ancient Roman Ship Found

Trade ship has been buried in mud for 2K years
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2012 9:26 AM CDT
'Almost Intact' Ancient Roman Ship Found
The ship's cargo, hundreds of amphorae like these, is largely intact, divers say.   (AP Photo/Courtesy of the Italian Culture Ministry and the Aurora Trust)

A shipment of fish, wine, oil, and grain bound for Spain has been discovered 2,000 years after it set off from ancient Rome. Divers have found an almost intact Roman-era commercial vessel buried in mud off Liguria province in northwest Italy, reports the BBC. Experts, who describe the ship as one of the most important Roman archeological finds of recent years, say the mud that hid the wreck for thousands of years helped preserve it.

The search was launched after fishermen reported catching shards of pottery in their nets. The ship is believed to have run trade routes between Spain and central Italy, and dates from somewhere between the first century BC and first century AD, according to the chief of the diving expedition. Divers found the ship loaded with more than 200 intact clay amphorae containing goods. The divers say it would be technically possible to raise the ship to the surface, although Italy's cash-strapped authorities may not be willing to fund such a pricey venture. (More shipwreck stories.)

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