Tags: ancient | roman | cargo | recycling

Ancient Roman Cargo on Way for Recycling Pulled From Sea

Image: Ancient Roman Cargo on Way for Recycling Pulled From Sea
Caesarea, IsraelItems, which the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) estimate to be around 1600 years old, are displayed after it was recovered from a merchant ship in the ancient harbor of the Caesarea National Park May 16, 2016. ( Baz Ratner/Reuters)

Wednesday, 18 May 2016 05:20 AM

An ancient Roman cargo on a merchant ship that sank in the Mediterranean off Israel's coast some 1,600 years ago has been brought to the surface by divers and archaeologists, and includes rare metal statues and thousands of coins, reported Reuters.

The haul suggested the large ship was carrying a cargo of metal to be recycled somewhere, said  the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Two divers made the discovery several weeks ago in the ancient harbor of Caesarea in the eastern Mediterranean and successive dives recovered archaeological finds that included a bronze lamp depicting the image of sun god Sol, a figure of moon goddess Luna, fragments of life-size bronze cast statues as well as two lumps of thousands of coins.

The authority said the remains of the ship were "left uncovered on the sea bottom" and included iron anchors and fragments of jars used for drinking water by the crew. 

"A marine assemblage such as this has not been found in Israel in the past 30 years," Jacob Sharvit and Dror Planer of the IAA's Marine Archaeology Unit said in a statement.

"Metal statues are rare archaeological finds because they were always melted down and recycled in antiquity."

The IAA said the vessel had probably hit a storm as it entered the harbor and had drifted before hitting rocks and the seawall.

The IAA said the range of items reflected a "period of economic and commercial stability" in the late Roman Empire. It said past marine excavations in Caesarea had uncovered a small number of bronze statues but this haul was much bigger and the sand-protected statues were in "an amazing state" of preservation.

Last year divers found a haul of 1,000-year-old gold coins inscribed in Arabic on the sea bed off Israel.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
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An ancient Roman cargo on a merchant ship that sank in the Mediterranean off Israel's coast some 1,600 years ago has been brought to the surface by divers and archaeologists, and includes rare metal statues and thousands of coins that were headed for recycling.
ancient, roman, cargo, recycling
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2016-20-18
Wednesday, 18 May 2016 05:20 AM
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