5 ancient Roman shipwrecks found off Italy coast

July 24, 2009 17:06

rchaeologists have found five well-preserved shipwrecks from the Roman era deep under the sea off a small Mediterranean island, complete with their cargo of vases, pots and other objects largely intact, officials said Friday. The ships are submerged between 100 and 150 meters off Ventotene, a tiny island that is part of an archipelago off Italy's west coast between Rome and Naples. The magnificent find, dating from between the 1st century BCE and the 4th century, carried amphorae - vases used for holding wine, olive oil and other products - as well as kitchen tools and metal and glass objects that have yet to be identified, Italy's Culture Ministry said. The spot was highly trafficked, and hit by frequent storms and dangerous sea currents. The discovery is part of a new drive by archaeological officials to scan deeper levels of the sea and prevent looting of submerged treasures.

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