Archaeologists have discovered an ancient, Roman-era wooden ship, complete with cargo, off the eastern coast of Cyprus.
In a statement, Cyprus’ Department of Antiquities said the wreck is the “first undisturbed Roman shipwreck” found in the Mediterranean island nation’s waters. The ship belongs to the period after Rome annexed the island in 58 BC.
Amphorae found in and around the wreck identify the ship as a merchant vessel that transported cargo between Syria and the southern coast of modern Turkey, known in ancient times as Cicilia.
The wreck was found near the resort town of Protaras by volunteer divers with the University of Cyprus’ underwater archaeological research team.
A team from the university’s Maritime Archaeological Research Laboratory (MARELab) was also at the site to document the ship and protect it from looters while archaeologists prepare to conduct a preliminary investigation.
Aside from being the first undisturbed Roman shipwreck ever found in Cyprus, the find marks a milestone as the expedition was the first underwater project to be fully financed by the Cyprus government.