ROME (Reuters) - A team of archaeologists using sonar technology to scan the seabed have discovered a "graveyard" of five pristine ancient Roman shipwrecks off the small Italian island of Ventotene.
The trading vessels, dating from the first century BC to the fifth century AD, lie more than 100 meters underwater and are amongst the deepest wrecks discovered in the Mediterranean in recent years, the researchers said on Thursday.
Part of an archipelago situated halfway between Rome and Naples on Italy's west coast, Ventotene historically served as a place of shelter during rough weather in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
"The ships appear to have been heading for safe anchorage, but they never made it," said Timmy Gambin, head of archaeology for the Aurora Trust (www.auroratrust.com). "So in a relatively small area we have five wrecks...a graveyard of ships."
The vessels were transporting wine from Italy, prized fish sauce from Spain and north Africa, and a mysterious cargo of metal ingots from Italy, possibly to be used in the construction of statues or weaponry.
Gambin said the wrecks revealed a pattern of trade in the empire: at first Rome exported its produce to its expanding provinces, but gradually it began to import from them more and more of the things it once produced.
In Roman times Ventotene, known as Pandataria, was used to exile disgraced Roman noblewomen. The Emperor Augustus sent his daughter Julia there because of her adultery. During the 20th century, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini used the remote island as a prison for political opponents.
Images of the wrecks show their crustacean-clad cargoes spilling onto the seafloor, after marine worms ate away the wooden hull of the vessels.
"Moreover, you scorned our people, and compared the Albanese to sheep, and according to your custom think of us with insults. Nor have you shown yourself to have any knowledge of my race. Our elders were Epirotes, where this Pirro came from, whose force could scarcely support the Romans. This Pirro, who Taranto and many other places of Italy held back with armies. I do not have to speak for the Epiroti. They are very much stronger men than your Tarantini, a species of wet men who are born only to fish. If you want to say that Albania is part of Macedonia I would concede that a lot more of our ancestors were nobles who went as far as India under Alexander the Great and defeated all those peoples with incredible difficulty. From those men come these who you called sheep. But the nature of things is not changed. Why do your men run away in the faces of sheep?"
Letter from Skanderbeg to the Prince of Taranto ▬ Skanderbeg, October 31 1460
Talk about archeology findings and its relation to historical events.
1 post • Page 1 of 1
- Posts: 15
- Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:47 pm
- Gender: Female