A team of marine archaeologists using sonar scanners have discovered four ancient shipwrecks off the tiny Italian island of Zannone. The shipwrecks were in good condition, with itheir cargoes of wine and oil intact.
The remains of the trading vessels date from the first century BC to the 5th-7th century AD
They were found 541 feet deep underwater. The depth preserved the ships from being disturbed by fishermen over the centuries.
The vessels, measuring up to 59 feet long, were transporting wine from Italy, as well as cargo from North Africa and Spain including olive oil, fruit and a type of fish sauce that was a favorite ingredient in Roman cooking.
Another ship, as yet undated, appeared to have been carrying building bricks, although more work will be needed to establish the exact nature of the cargo.
The finds are a concrete sign of the busy trade routes along which ships criss-crossed the ancient Mediterranean, carrying everything from bulky farm produce and construction materials to precious goods like glass, jewelry or art works.