An ancient Roman shipwreck from the time of Jesus Christ has been discovered near the fishing port of Fiskardo located on the north coast of Kefalonia and the cargo that was found inside was very interesting. Around 6,000 well-preserved amphorae that were used to transport food and wine were found on board the ship (pictures can be seen here).
The ship and its cargo that were found near the Greek island using sonar equipment date back between 1 B.C. and 1 A.D. What’s even more interesting is that the Fiskardo shipwreck is the largest one ever found in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and one of the four largest that have been located in all of the Mediterranean. The ship measured approximately 110 feet long by 42 feet wide, with its cargo measuring 98 feet by 39 feet.
The shipwreck was discovered at a very significant location, as ancient houses, bath complexes, a theater, tomb, and cemetery dating back between 146 B.C. and 330 A.D. were recently unearthed in Fiskardo. According to researchers, Fiskardo was a “very important port at that time”. Their study was published in Journal of Archaeological Science and can be read in full here.
It is believed that Fiskardo was a very important location along the Roman trading route that transported food and wine across the Mediterranean. Wine, oil, cereal, and olives were commonly transported through the Mediterranean and ended up in Rome. That would explain why there were so many amphorae found on the ship as they were used to transport all the goods.
Amphorae are jugs typically made from ceramic and used to store a variety of goods – liquid and/or dry – but were most commonly used to store wine. Normally, amphorae had two large handles that connected the shoulder of the jug to the long, skinny neck which helped with pouring out the goods. And since around 6,000 of them were discovered on the ship, that was a lot of goods that were being transported at that time.
It’s still unclear whether the shipwreck will be raised from the sea floor. “It’s half-buried in the sediment, so we have high expectations that if we go to an excavation in the future, we will find part or the whole wooden hull,” said George Ferentinos who is from the University of Patras in Greece and also led the study on the discovery.