2,000 Year-Old Roman Shipwreck So Well-Preserved, Even The Food Is 'Fresh'

By Meera Dolasia on August 23, 2012

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Usually when researchers get excited about a shipwreck, it's because it contains treasures like precious metals or ancient artifacts. However, in the case of a recent find, the buzz is all about  . . . . . . the well-preserved food and wine!

Discovered in early August the 2,000 years old yet to be identified Roman vessel was first spotted by fisherman from the coastal town of Varazze, that lies 18 miles west of Genoa, Italy. They alerted the local authorities after inadvertently catching fragments of amphorae, (terracota jar-like containers used in the ancient times to transport food) in their fishnets.

Using a remotely operated vehicle, the officials first marked out the ship's exact location and then sent down divers to examine the area for remains of a sunken ship. To their surprise, just 200 feet below the surface of the water, preserved all these years by the sandy mud, lay an almost intact wreck. Inside, are about 200 amphorae - While some are broken, most are sealed. The few that have been brought to the surface were found to contain perishables like pickled fish, grain, wine and oil.

Experts believe that the ship was a Roman merchant vessel that was carrying food and wine from Central Italy to Spain to barter for other goods sometime between the 1st Century BC and 1st Century AD. Researchers are hoping that further investigation of the food items that still lies inside some of the other containers, will give them an interesting insight into the lifestyle of the ancient Europeans.

The Italian authorities are still deciding whether to bring up the entire ship so that its contents can be examined thoroughly. Meanwhile, they have sealed off the area from fishermen and other vessels to prevent damage and looting.

Resources: news.discovery.com, dailymail.co.uk

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197 Comments
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  • nikukyu
    nikukyuFriday, March 13, 2015 at 6:54 pm
    I heard that wine tastes better the longer you preserve it...(gasp) WILL THEY DRINK IT??
    • bigmelo
      bigmeloFriday, March 13, 2015 at 5:43 pm
      I'm scared. To only think about the sacred artifacts & fossils lingering underneath the Earth that we still haven't discovered yet... I guess we'll find more discoveries like this soon enough! :D
      • zoo cool Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 7:55 am
        im not in to this
        • whateverTuesday, January 27, 2015 at 4:05 pm
          totes gross
          • nicholasThursday, January 22, 2015 at 8:20 am
            awesome article
            • sam da hunterTuesday, January 13, 2015 at 11:54 am
              its so amazing
              • sam da hunterTuesday, January 13, 2015 at 11:53 am
                what the what so cool and makes me curious
                • thomas_girl101
                  thomas_girl101Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 10:41 am
                  That's cool!! That is an awesome vase!
                  • Zoecutie804Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 10:04 am
                    that vase is so cool
                    • bibliophile
                      bibliophileMonday, August 4, 2014 at 5:49 pm
                      That's kind of funny, they expected to find treasure... but they didn't... they found well preserved food instead.

                      Vocabulary

                      artifactsbarterfishnetsgenoainadvertentlyinsightinvestigationitalylifestyleremotelyspainsunkenthoroughly

                      Geography

                      Varazze, Italy

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