Wreck of ancient Roman cargo ship found off the coast near Rome

ROME (Reuters) – The wreck of an ancient Roman cargo ship from more than 2,000 years ago has been found off the coast near Rome, the arts squad of Italy’s Carabinieri police said on Friday.

The ship was located off the port of Civitavecchia, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) north-west of the Italian capital, on a sandy seabed at a depth of about 160 metres (525 ft), a statement said.

The vessel, estimated to be more than 20 metres long and dating from the 1st or 2nd century BC, was carrying hundreds of amphorae — a type of ancient Roman jar — that were mostly found intact.

“The exceptional discovery is an important example of the shipwreck of a Roman ship facing the perils of the sea in an attempt to reach the coast, and bears witness to old maritime trading routes,” the Carabinieri said.

The relic was located and filmed using a remotely operated robot, they said. It was not immediately clear whether any attempt would be made to recover it or its cargo from the bottom of the sea.

(Reporting by Alvise Armellini; Editing by Keith Weir)