2,000-year-old Roman shipwreck discovered that is so well preserved even the FOOD is intact

One of the best preserved shipwrecks ever  found has been discovered off the Italian coast.

Divers say they have found a ship off the  coast of Italy which they believe is about 2,000 years old.

The ship, which was spotted in the sea off  the town on Varazze in the province of Liguria, is thought to be a Roman-era  commercial vessel.

Divers examine one of an estimated 200 pots found on a shipwreck off the coast of Italy. The pots are so well preserved food still remains inside them.

Divers examine one of an estimated 200 pots found on a  shipwreck off the coast of Italy. The pots are so well preserved food still  remains inside them.

The ship, a navis oneraria, or merchant  vessel, was located at a depth of about 200 feet after a remotely operated  vehicle (ROV) was used to scour the seabed.

A search for the shipwreck was launched after  local fisherman revealed they kept finding pieces of pottery in their  nets.

The divers found the wreck so well preserved  even the food, still sealed in over 200 pots, is intact.

‘The peculiarity of this is that the wreck  could be almost intact,’ Lt Col Francesco Schilardi of the police divers’ group  told the BBC.

‘We believe it dates to sometime between the  1st Century BC and the 1st Century AD.’

THE ROMAN MENU

The ship was found to be carrying over 200  pots containing food.

Initial tests have found pickled fish, which  was often used to create a sauce called garum.

Garum was a popular staple of menus for  wealthly Romans, made from fermented fish and served as a side dish to  meals.

It was created by placing fatty fish such as  sardines along with fish guts and blood into a large container with herbs and  layers of salt.

The container was then left in the sun for  several days, before being mixed ever day for around 20 days, until it became a  liquid.

Other foodstuffs found in the pots include  wine, oil and grain.

The team has so far been unable to find the  name of the ship, but it was believed to be a sailed vessel used to carry  commercial goods.

The ship would have been travelling between  Italy and Spain, a popular shipping route, and would have been carrying food to  sell at its destination.

Roman ships were commonly named after gods,  mythological heroes or concepts such as harmony, peace and  victory.

Researchers believe the mud on the seabed  protected the wreck.

Test on some of the recovered jars revealed  they contained pickled fish, grain, wine and oil.

The foodstuffs were traded in Spain for other  goods.

The containers found in the wreck are known  as amphora, and are a unique shape, often containing handles.

The large containers were commonly used to  transport large quantities of food and wine, and were able to hold both solid  and liquid.

The examples found in the latest wreck were  ceramic, but they were also made in metal.

Italian police bring ashore a pot recovered from the 2,000 year old wreck. they have now banned other divers from visiting it to protect the site.Italian police bring ashore a pot recovered from the  2,000 year old wreck. they have now banned other divers from visiting it to  protect the site.

‘There are some broken jars around the  wreck, but we believe that most of the amphorae inside the ship are still sealed  and food filled,” said Lt. Col. Schilardi.

It is hoped that further tests on the  foodstuffs could give an insight into Roman lifestyles.

The ship is thought to have travelled on  trade routes between Spain and what is now central Italy and was loaded with  more than 200 clay amphorae likely to have contained fish, wine, oil and  grain.

Police divers used a robotic diver to explore the wreck before descending themselves. Here, a robotic hand is seen reaching out for a pot.Police divers used a robotic diver to explore the wreck  before descending themselves. Here, a robotic hand is seen reaching out for a  pot.

The ship, which dates to sometime between  the 1st Century B.C. and the 1st Century A.D., is hidden under layers of mud on  the seabed, which has left the wreck and its cargo intact.

The vessel will remain hidden at the bottom  of the sea until Italian authorities decide whether to raise it or not, and  police have placed an exclusion zone around it to protect it from other  divers.

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