The Department of Antiquities of the Republic of Cyprus announced yesterday the discovery of a shipwreck off the coast of the town of Protaras, southeast of the island, by members of the Maritime Archaeological Research Laboratory of the University of Cyprus.

A team of archaeologists and university volunteers is already working on the documentation and protection of the site, led by Dr. Stella Demesticha, a professor of maritime archaeology, in collaboration with the Department of Civil Engineering and the Department of Antiquities of the Cypriot University.

The shipwreck corresponds to a Roman ship loaded with amphorae carrying products, probably from Syria and Cilicia.

Location of Protaras southeast of Cyprus

Amphorae are ceramic containers with two handles and a long, narrow neck, used since the 15th century BC to store and transport products such as grapes, wine, olives, oil, cereals, or fish.

This would be the first intact Roman shipwreck found in Cyprus, and its study will shed new light on the extent and magnitude of maritime trade between Cyprus and the other Roman provinces of the eastern Mediterranean.

In 2007, another shipwreck was found off the coast of the town of Mazotos, this time corresponding to the late Greek classical period of the mid-4th century BC, with a cargo of wine amphorae from Phoenicia.

The Mazotos shipwreck / photo University of Cyprus

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