Diver finds ancient Roman cargo from 2,000-year old shipwreck off Taranto

Fabio Matacchiera, a diver and an environmental activist, made an exceptional discovery in Italy when he located the sinking site of a Roman ship that is thought to have sunk some two thousand years ago, uncovering the cargo of the ship.

Using his cartographic GPS, Mr Matacchiera, a history professor and archaeology lover, found several hundred tiles and objects under the sand and hidden among the rocks off the coast of Taranto, in the southern region of Apulia.

The data collected by the diver were then analysed by archaeologists who confirmed the theory of the sinking of a ship that can be traced back to the imperial Roman period, between the 1st and 4th centuries AD.

According to archaeologists, the ship’s cargo was presumably used for the renovation of some coastal villas as the Taranto coastline was dotted by rustic villas and farms with luxurious private residences by the sea.

During his dive, Mr Matacchiera also found an iron anchor with a fracture in the spindle, suggesting that before sinking the ship was in great distress, probably due to a violent swell that pushed it towards the coast.

The coastal villas were generally owned by rich or influential people and were equipped with reception rooms decorated with mosaics, porticoes, spa facilities, servants’ quarters, and cisterns for water supply.