Sunday, May 20, 2012

Smuggled Cargo Found on Ancient Roman Ship

A Roman shipwreck, dating to the third century AD, has revealed signs of smuggling. Click to enlarge this image.
Sebastiano Tusa
Evidence of ancient smuggling activity has emerged from a Roman shipwreck, according to Italian archaeologists who have investigated the vessel's cargo.

Dating to the third century AD, the large sunken ship was fully recovered six months ago at a depth of 7 feet near the shore of Marausa Lido, a beach resort near Trapani.

Her cargo, officially consisting of assorted jars once filled with walnuts, figs, olives, wine, oil and fish sauce, also contained many unusual tubular tiles.

The unique tiles were apparently valuable enough for sailors to smuggle them from North Africa to Rome, where they sold for higher prices.

An image of the smuggled interlocking tiles found on the Roman shipwreck. Credit: Sebastiano Tusa