Ancient shipwrecks found off central Italy's coast

Photo: Italian Ministry of Culture


From Voice of America


A team of marine archeologists using sonar scanners has discovered new underwater treasures in the Italian seas.

Trading vessels dating from the first century BC to the 5th through 7th centuries AD were found in the waters of the Pontine Islands. Their cargoes were found to be intact.

Italian culture authorities and the Aurora Trust, a U.S. foundation which promotes underwater exploration in the Mediterranean, discovered four shipwrecks resting on the seabed.

The discovery was made in a beautiful stretch of sea off the tiny rock of Zannone, part of the Pontine Islands in central Italy.

After the discovery, the team of marine archaeologists used sonar scanners for the exploration and filmed the targets lying on the seabed.

The remains of the ships, up to 18 meters long, were found and documented at a depth of between 100-150 meters.

Annalisa Zarattini is an underwater archaeologist with Italy's culture ministry. She says the deeper a wreck is found, the higher the chance that it is better preserved.

These, she adds, are in such good condition after so many centuries because they have not been disturbed by fishermen or illegal archaeology hunters.

Zarattini says Italy's seas are an incredible museum which help uncover history.

Traveling with her on a finance police boat, which helps the ministry patrol the waters, she described this latest find.

"We identified four Roman wrecks, four ships that probably sunk during a storm at different time periods," said Zarattini.


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Aurora Trust Italy Pontine Islands Annalisa Zarattini Roman wrecks amphoreas