Archaeologists believe that they have uncovered and identified a large shipyard near the city of Rome. Originally thought to be a simple warehouse, re-examination of the building suggests that it was used to maintain ships.
If it in fact it is a shipyard, it is a significant find that could provide new insight into Roman shipping and trade.
“Few Roman Imperial shipyards have been discovered and, if our identification is correct, this would be the largest of its kind in Italy or the Mediterranean.”
Last year, historians and archaeologists were excited and curious when the ground zero excavations uncovered an 18th century ship wreck. Now the material has all been removed and put into storage, preserving the delicate timbers, allowing scientists to begin their investigations on the mysterious artifact.
The ship has been dubbed the USS Adrian, after the lead excavator of the site. In spite of all of the attention and effort in its investigation, little is known about the ship including its origin and purposes.
“This shipwreck gives us a glimpse of the past—the last chapter in a complex story. We can start rebuilding and rewriting those other chapters of a ship’s life by doing things like dendrochronology,” says tree-ring specialist Pearce Paul Creasman of the University of Arizona, in Tucson.
Specialists are working on identifying its age and original provenance. Read more about the excavation in this article in Scientific American and view the slideshow here.