By Federico Cornetto
Two lucky scuba divers have stumbled upon a lost cargo of ancient pottery stolen by a Roman ship and then dropped in the Mediterranean sea.
Edoardo Sbaraini and Gabriele Succi, from Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy, where surveying the waters outside the city of Portofino in late November last year when they noticed the 15 200-year-old Gallic amphoras half-submerged in the sand.
The divers immediately informed the local Soprintendenza Archeologica [Department of Antiquities], and the first ceramic jug was picked up from the ocean floor on January 10, 2019.
Footage taken by the divers shows the ancient jars, of inestimable value, lying 50 metres [164ft] under the surface.
While most of them are perfectly intact, one is shattered and its remains provide shelter to all sort of sea life, including two lobsters.
Edoardo said: “Thanks to our underwater scooters we were able to conduct a wide survey of the waters outside of Portofino, and we found the amphoras in a place divers don’t normally get to.
“The first thing we noticed was the necks and flat bottoms of some of the jars popping out of the sand.
“When we realised what we’d found we were shocked, it’s every diver’s dream to find historical relics and for us it was an incredible experience.
“We told the Soprintendenza about the jars and they were on the place basically on the same day.”
According to Edoardo, new statements from the Department of Antiquities are expected to come out in next weeks to shed more light on the precise origin of the relics.
Edoardo said: “The archeologists are as excited about these findings as we are.
“They have said it’s a very unique occurrence, and they took one of the amphoras out of the water to use it as a sample and study it.”