Marine archaeologists will begin work in June to uncover the sand-buried hull of a 2,300 year-old cargo ship thought to have been ferrying wine from the Aegean island of Chios before it sank off Cyprus' southern coast, researchers said Thursday.
The vessel, dating from the late Classical period (mid-fourth century B.C.) is one of only a few such ships to have been found so well-preserved, said University of Cyprus visiting marine archaeologist Stella Demesticha.
«The shipwreck looks very promising about shedding light on the nautical and economic history of the period in the east Mediterranean» The wreck rests on the seabed at a depth of 44 meters (144 feet) some 2½ kilometers (1½ miles) off the island's southern coast.
Demesticha said the wreck was also unique because it lies at a depth that divers can easily reach, unlike similar discoveries found in deeper waters.
Unreleased underwater photographs that researchers took of the vessel on initial surveying dives in November show a jumble of dozens of amphorae - clay urns used in antiquity to carry liquids and solid foodstuffs - lying on the seabed in the shape of the ship.