Archaeologists have discovered an ancient, Roman-era wooden ship, packed with cargo, off the eastern coast of Cyprus.
In a statement, Cyprus’ Department of Antiquities said the wreck is the “first undisturbed Roman shipwreck” found in the Mediterranean island nation’s waters.
The ship belongs to the period after Rome annexed the island in 58 BC.
Roman shipwreck discovered off Protaras https://t.co/if8IlUHb25
— Kathimerini Cyprus English Edition (@knews_cy) June 27, 2019
Amphorae found in and around the wreck recognize the ship as a merchant vessel that carried cargo between Syria and the southern coast of modern Turkey, known in ancient times as Cicilia.
The wreck was found near the resort town of Protaras by volunteer divers with the University of Cyprus’ underwater archaeological research team.
The wreck was found off the coast of Protaras, a resort town on the eastern coast of Cyprus. (Photo by Athanasios Gioumpasis / Getty Images)
A crew from the university’s Maritime Archaeological Research Laboratory (MARELab) was also at the site to document the ship and protect it from looters while archaeologists prepare to conduct a preliminary investigation.
Aside from being the first undisturbed Roman shipwreck ever found in Cyprus, the find marks a milestone as the expedition was the first underwater project to be fully financed by the Cyprus government.
Cyprus endorsed the divers and volunteers included in the discovery and protection of the site. Their actions, said the authorities, send “an optimistic message regarding the protection of cultural heritage by Cyprus society.”