- On 02/02/2017
- In Underwater Archeology
By Molly Fosco - Seeker
An 1,800-year-old Roman shipwreck was discovered off the coast of Spain's Balearic Islands.
Spanish archaeologists found the ship about 230 feet (70 meters) underwater, reported El Pais. According to the Balearics Institute for the Study of Marine Archeology (IBEAM), most of the 1,000 - 2,000 Ancient Roman jars onboard are still in their original position from the time of the ship's sinking.
The jars, known as amphorae, have remained untouched for nearly two millennia. The amphorae are made of clay and were likely carrying garum, a pungent, fermented fish sauce that was considered a delicacy in Roman society, IBEAM's scientific director explained.
Factories in Spain and Portugal once mass produced garum because it was such a widely used condiment, much as ketchup is today.
This is one of the few intact shipwrecks that has ever been discovered in the western Mediterranean.
"As far as we know, this is the first time that a completely unaltered wreck has been found in Spanish waters," Javier Rodríguez, one of the marine archaeologists who participated in the exploration, told El Pais.
The fact that the ship was found in national park waters was a key factor in its preservation. The Balearic Islands foster hundreds of animal species and plant life and was declared Cabrera Archipelago Maritime-Terrestrial National Park in 1991.