The wreck of a Roman ship from the first century AD which is still whole and has over 500 wide-mouthed amphorae on board has been discovered to the south of the island of Panarea.
The discovery, which was made by the Sea Superintendence together with the American Foundation "Aurora Trust" and the support of the Environment Ministry, was illustrated in a press conference this morning in Palermo by the Regional Councillor for Cultural Heritage, Gaetano Armao, and by the Superintendent, Sebastiano Tusa.
"From the first surveys, we can establish that it is a merchant shipping measuring around 25 meters, in perfect condition, which transported fruit and vegetables from Sicily to the markets in the north." said Tusa.
The style of the amphorae is in fact typical of the 'workshops' of the island and of southern Italy. The merchant ship was identified with the use of a wire-controlled ROV video camera.
Now the campaign in the Aeolian islands will proceed with research carried out, with particularly sophisticated robots which will allow us to better contextualize the wreck in time and space." said Tusa.
"The ship might not be the only one: on the seabed of Panarea there is believed to be another ship.
"Traces have been found of a second wreck that has not yet been identified. Research will be carried out in this direction" concluded Tusa.
The amphorae are the Dressel 21-22 type, datable to the first century AD, made in Lazio and used for the transport of Garum (a popular sauce in Roman times), fresh and dried fruit, as well as various types of cereals.
The amphorae were found placed in a slightly different position to their original one on the ship. They are in fact lying on one side. This would indicate that the ship, sliding along the seabed, came to rest leaning on one side.