Roman wine discovered on the sea bed

Four Roman trading ships with their complete cargoes have been found near the Pontine Islands off Italy’s western coast.

The wrecks were discovered by the archaeological section of the Italian culture ministry and Aurora Trust a US seabed exploration company.

At a depth of nearly 100 fathoms, the ships have lain undisturbed by modern trawlers. Nonetheless, the 18 metres long wooden structures have been completely eaten away by marine organisms leaving only the cargo intact.

It is thought that at one time they would have contained wine, olive oil, and a pungent fish paste the Romans enjoyed from Spain, North Africa and Italy. It is unlikely that the amphorae will still be sealed, and even if they were, the wine would be undrinkable by now

As the small fleet is the second to have been found in the area in recent years, the island group is believed to have been used as a staging post for trade fleets sailing to and from Roman ports.

As Italy has signed a new UNESCO agreement they are obliged to leave the wrecks as they are, although further dives are permitted for archaeological purposes.

Thanks to the Drinks Business for this.

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