Crazy Shipwreck Find: 2K-Year-Old Roman Food?

Divers think food could have been preserved

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 13, 2013 8:30 AM CDT | Updated Aug 13, 2013 10:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – A 2,000-year-old shipwreck discovered off the coast of Italy could yield a pretty neat find: jars of preserved food from ancient Rome. Divers launched a search near Varazze, a town in the province of Liguria, after more than 80 years of reports from fishermen that they were bringing up Roman pottery shards and artifacts in their nets. The divers believe the wreck is a Roman-era commercial vessel from between the first century BC and the first century AD, and it's extremely well preserved thanks to protective mud on the seabed, the BBC reports. "The peculiarity of this is that the wreck could be almost intact," the commander of the police divers' group says.

The ship likely would have traveled on Spain-Italy trade routes, and it is believed to contain more than 200 clay amphorae (jars) that probably held fish, wine, oil, and grain. "There are some broken jars around the wreck, but we believe that most of the amphorae inside the ship are still sealed and food-filled," the commander says, according to LiveScience. The Age adds that the pine and pitch caps are intact. While divers believe the ship can be raised, the Italian government has not decided whether to do so. For now, the area has been sealed off to keep it from being plundered.

Stock image of a shipwreck.
Stock image of a shipwreck.   (Shutterstock)
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