The discovery was first made by students in 2013 while investigating underwater shipwreck remains near the ancient port of Sanitja on the island of Menorca, one of a number of picturesque islands that make up an archipelago of Spain in the western Mediterranean Sea.
They were ancient Punic amphorae, more than 150 of them, lying in situ, still at rest where a seagoing vessel identified with the site known as the Binisafuller wreck gave up its cargo more than 2,000 years ago. Archaeologists date the amphorae to between 325-275 BC. It makes the shipwreck the oldest documented one in Menorca.
It is a significant discovery because the remains of the port of Sanitja have been most often associated with the adjacent Roman period city of Sanisera. Read more.
Wine flowed freely from ancient Greece during its golden age, but new work suggests nuts and various herbs were also in demand.
With the help of DNA analysis, scientists are getting a present-day look at centuries-old trade in the Mediterranean. Such studies may help debunk some long-held assumptions, namely that the bulk of Greek commerce revolved around wine.
During the fifth through third centuries B.C., the Mediterranean and Black seas were major thoroughfares for ships loaded with thousands of curvaceous jars known as amphorae, thought from their shape to contain a drink made from fermented grape juice.
But only recently have researchers peered through the lens of 21st century genetics to identify the actual remnants of the jars’ long-disappeared cargo. Analyses of DNA fragments from the interior of nine jars from Mediterranean shipwrecks now reveal various combinations of olive, ginger, walnut and herbs in the rosemary family, along with the expected grapes. Read more.