By Rey Gambe (media@latinospost.com) | First Posted: Oct 29, 2014 05:27 AM EDT
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Roman Empire Artifacts from Panarea III (Photo : Global Underwater Explorers)

Like an early scene from the movie "Titanic," divers have discovered on Wednesday a sunken ship off the coast of Italy that transposed them back in time, some 2,000 years ago.

The ship, or whatever remains of it, was laden with well-preserved artifacts that were primarily identified with the time of the Roman Empire, reports ABC News.

The shipwreck appears to be that of a former Mediterranean trade vessel that used to transport goods between Rome and Carthage between 218 and 210 BC, notes the Science Recorder.

Italian researchers have discovered the shipwreck as early as 2010 through sonar and a remotely-operated submersible. They have long wanted to reach the sunken ship through robotic technology but at 410 feet below sea level, the depth prevented them from doing so, details ABC News.

With the help of technical divers of Global Underwater Explorers based in Florida, the researchers finally hit bottom and saw the ship first hand, the report added.

The divers are also members of Project Baseline, a non-profit organization which documents cultural and environmental resources so it was easy for the Italian researchers to convince them to join the exploration, reports Headlines and Global News.

Up close, the researchers discovered the name of the ship as Panarea III, a 50-foot wooden vessel believed to have been used as a cargo ship for either a rich merchant or the Roman military.

Archaeologists working with the divers have discovered terra cotta jars scattered across the ocean floors near the shipwreck. Known as amphora, they believe that the jars were used to carry wine, olive oil and other cargo, ABC News said.

Researchers were able to recover and identify a total of 16 different artifacts from the sunken ship, which the Sicilian government requested for study and preservation, notes Headlines and Global News.

ABC News finds it surprising for a 2,000-year-old shipwreck to remain intact but believes that its deep location on the ocean floor was the main reason why it escape detection by fishermen and looters.

"This shipwreck is a very important (discovery) to understand more about the daily life of the ancient ship, as well as the real dynamics of ancient trade, says Sebastiano Tusa, one of the Italian archaeologists studying the site.

Tusa said that there may be other shipwrecks elsewhere worth looking into but what makes the Panarea III different is that it is very well-preserved, which makes tracking of history easier.

Watch the video how the team from Global Underwater Explorers reached the Panarea III and the Roman Empire artifacts on the ocean floor:


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