Monday, May 2, 2011

Roman Ship Emerges Near Ancient Port

A 2,000-year-old Roman ship in the middle of a plain near the ancient port of Rome has been unearthed by Italian archaeologists.

The wooden vessel was found at a depth of 13 feet (4 meters) during repair work on a bridge that links the modern town of Ostia with Fiumicino, where Rome's main airport is located.

Measuring 36 feet (11 meters) in length, the ship is the largest ever excavated near the ruins of Ostia Antica, a port city near the mouth of the Tiber River that rivals the riches of Pompeii.

“The bow and stern are still missing. From the way the ship is built, we can date it to the first imperial age,” Anna Maria Moretti, archaeological superintendent for Rome and Ostia, said.

A thick layer of clay has basically sealed the vessel, leaving the wood intact.

Described as "spine-tingling" by culture minister Giancarlo Galan, the discovery shows that when the ship sailed the Mediterranean, the coastline was some 2-2.5 miles (3-4 kilometers) farther inland than it is now.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

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