TIRANA, Albania - A US-Albanian archeological mission said yesterday it has found the well-preserved wreck of a Roman cargo ship off Albania’s coast, complete with some 300 wine jars.
The 30-yard-long wreck dates to the 1st century BC and its cargo is believed to have been the produce of southern Albanian vineyards en route to western European markets, including France.
A statement from the Florida-based RPM Nautical Foundation said the find was made 50 yards deep near the port city of Vlora, 90 miles southwest of the capital, Tirana, early this month.
The foundation, in cooperation with Albanian archeologists, has been surveying a swath of Albania’s previously unexplored coastal waters for the past five years. So far, experts have located 20 shipwrecks, including several relatively modern ones.
Officials said most of the jars, known by their Greek name of amphoras and used to transport wine and oil, were unbroken despite the shipwreck. However, the stoppers used to seal them had gone, allowing their contents to leak into the salt water.
Team members retrieved one amphora for examination before restoring it to the wreck.