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article imagePreserved food found in jars on 2000-year-old shipwreck

By Leigh Goessl     Aug 15, 2013 in Science
Varazze - An ancient ship has been located beneath the waters of the Italian coast. Found buried in the mud, experts believe the food cargo discovered still on the boat has been preserved over the centuries.
An estimated 2,000 years ago, a ship sank off the coast of Italy. For many centuries it quietly remained beneath the water's surface near Varazze, an Italian coastal town near Genoa, until local fishermen began to find remnants from a former civilization.
According to The Age, fisherman have been collecting pieces of Roman artifacts in their nets for over 80 years.
While finding remnants left behind by ancient Romans is perhaps not completely unusual, earlier this year ancient pills were found on a shipwreck in another area of Italy, the discovery of food from that era are truly unique. It is believed sealed food containers on the well-preserved ship are intact.
Last summer, Digital Journal had reported on this find. Police had explored the wreck site by submarine and used technology to scope around and see what was resting on the seabed. At the time it was believed the wreck was an ancient commercial food-transport vessel which did contain food remains, but more details have emerged.
Divers have found there are approximately 200 well-preserved clay amphorae, fully intact with caps of pine and pitch (a type of tar).
''It is a relic of great value,'' Lieutenant-Colonel Schilardi, told Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
"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," the commander added.
Not only can more information be gleaned about ancient Rome, but also of other cultures, for instance, Roman trading partners. The containers are said to be in such good condition that experts may be able to learn more about diet and the commercial trading of that era.
According to Newser, experts believe the jars of that time contained fish, wine, oil, and grain.
The mud helped seal the wreck and preserve its contents. Explorers continue to search to see what else can be found.
"This is an exceptional find," Schilardi said, according to Live Science. "Now, our goal is to preserve the ship and keep thieves out. We are executing surveys and excavations to study the contents of the boat, which is perfectly intact."
The section of the water has been sealed off to allow more work to be done by divers on the project and to keep others with less altruistic motives out.
More about Italy, Shipwreck, Shipwrecks, 2000 year old shipwreck, Varazze
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