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Roman-Era Ship Found Off Italy Coast Is ‘Almost Intact’

A Roman-era ship has been discovered off the coast of Italy’s Varazze in the Liguria province, and is though to be a commercial vessel, dating back about 2,000 years.

Fishermen in the area have been pulling in shards of pottery in their nets for years, which prompted police divers to launch a search of the area, reports the BBC. The results from the dive revealed an ancient ship that has been very well-preserved. Lt Col Francesco Schilardi of the police divers’ group stated:

“The peculiarity of this is that the wreck could be almost intact. We believe it dates to sometime between the 1st Century BC and the 1st Century AD.”

Schilardi added that the mud on the seabed had both hidden and protected the wreck. While the group of divers who found the vessel believe that it would be technically feasible to raise the Roman-era ship, Italian authorities will ultimately decide whether or not they want to launch the complex and expensive operation.

Digital Journal notes that the ship is believed to be a commercial food-transport vessel, and that divers discovered that the ship contained hundreds of amphorae containers, some still intact with food inside. Until Italian authorities decide what to do with the ship, it remains at the bottom of the sea. To ensure the ship will not be tampered with, the area has been secured and no water traffic is allowed near it.

This is not the first Roman-era ship to be found in the area, as the BBC notes five Roman-era ships were found off the island of Ventotene in 2009, and were also said to be well-preserved.