Archaeologists Uncover Sunken Roman Ship Full of Fish Sauce

An enormous haul of ancient Roman fish sauce was found underwater
Roman jars


Archaeologists discovered a sunken Roman ship full of fermented fish sauce off the coast of Italy.

Archaeologists have uncovered an exciting sunken Roman shipwreck off the coast of Italy, but instead of gold or jewels or antiquities, the boat is full of 3,000 jars of ancient fermented fish sauce.

Ancient Roman cuisine had some interesting elements, and one prized product was a condiment called garum, which was made of fermented salted fish intestines. According to The Local, the ship found off the northeastern coast of Italy dates to the first or second century, and archaeologists were unsure of where the boat might have come from until they realized that it was carrying an enormous load of fish sauce.

“After we filmed the wreck and analyzed an amphora [clay jar] and some fragments that a robotic craft brought back to the surface, we realized the ship was carrying a huge quantity of fish sauce when it sank," said archaeologist Simon Luca Trigona.

The ship was also carrying some jars of wine, but considering that it and the fish sauce jars are about 2,000 years old, there is probably nothing left of the contents by this point, since it all most likely disappeared into the sea.

The researchers identified the fish sauce by the shape of the jars, and the fact that the boat was carrying fish sauce and wine gave them a good idea of where the boat had come from and where it had been going when it sank.

"She most likely sailed out of Rome along the Tiber and sank a couple of weeks later while making the return journey, weighed down by all that fish sauce," Trigora said.

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