Police in Italy have uncovered a 2,000-year-old shipwreck after fisherman began to bring up remnants of the vessel in their fishing nests.
The ship, which was found in the sea off the town on Varazze in the province of Liguria, is thought to be a Roman-era commercial vessel, according to a report from the BBC.
The 2,000-year-old ship was found containing hundreds of clay jars that were used to carry food and it was pieces of those jars that led to the discovery of the vessel. Researchers revealed that the wreck was so well preserved on the muddy sea floor that some of the jars were still sealed.
"The peculiarity of this is that the wreck could be almost intact," Lt. Col Francesco Schilardi of the police divers' group told the BBC.
"We believe it dates to sometime between the 1st Century BC and the 1st Century AD," he added.
So far only one clay jar has been retrieved from the shipwreck, but there are still hundreds of jars waiting to be removed. Since some of the jars are still sealed researchers will be able to examine the contents providing a better understanding of types of goods a merchant ship carried 2,000 years ago.
"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," Lt. Col. Schilardi explained.
Divers believe that the ship sank along what is thought to have been a trade route that connected Spain and what is now central Italy. Tests on some of the recovered jars revealed they contained pickled fish, grain, wine and oil. The contents of the jars were traded in Spain for other goods. The ship was loaded with more than 200 clay pots which likely contained fish, wine, oil and grain.