Throughout Roman times (and through all times) there were shipwrecks. While many of these shipwrecks are not all that interesting, some are found to be loaded with all sorts of treasures. Still if one is interested in real treasure hunting, then hunt sunken Spanish treasure ships - that is now big business.

It also hoped that the wreck will reveal more about the ancient shipping routes and trade. Wrecks can be snapshots in history that can tell a lot about the region at that time - including how economically prosperous a place was and people's date to day lives. Here are some of the notable Roman shipwrecks that have been discovered.


The New Ses Fontanelles Wreck In Spain

One wreck reported in The Guardian was just discovered three years ago in a storm that uncovered it and has only been studied in 2022. This 1,700-year-old wreck is particularly interesting because it was carrying a full load of cargo when it succumbed to the waves. It was carrying hundreds of amphorae of wine, olives, oil, and garum (a fermented fish sauce that the Romans loved).

On the amphorae, there are also a number of inscriptions and they still contain the remains of their contents.

  • Amphorae: Large Terracotta Pots Used In The Roman Empire For Moving Wine and Olive Oil

The merchant vessel made a stopover in Mallorca in Spain's Balearic Islands while it was (probably) en route from southwest Spain to Italy. After it sunk it was lost to memory and was buried in the sands of the shallow seabed.

  • Location: Mallorca In Spain's Balearic Islands

It rested in just 2 meters or 6 feet of water. The sand did an amazing job at preserving the wreck from oxygen and preserving its cargo. Some of the researchers have described the preserved state of the wood as though it's from yesterday.

  • Sank: 1,700 Years Ago (In The Fourth Century)
  • Depth: 2 Meters (6 Feet)
  • Boat Size: 12 Meters Long and 5 to 6 Meters Wide
  • Situated: 50 Meters Off The Beach

For 1,700 years its treasures remained preserved and untouched - even though this was a favorite swimming spot for tourists.

Now the wreck has a name - the Ses Fontanelles wreck  - and is the subject of archaeological research. Researchers are uncovering its archaeological, historical, and gastronomic secrets that give insights into an ancient world and way of life long since passed.

Other discoveries in the wreck include a rope shoe, a cooking pot, an oil lamp, a leather shoe, and a drill. That drill is especially significant as it is only the fourth such Roman carpenter’s drill found in the region.

The aim of the three-year Arqueomallornauta project is to preserve the wreck and its contents. There are very few wrecks with such a singular cargo and now they are looking at ways to recover the wreck's hull.

Related: A Spanish Treasure Fleet Is Shipwrecked Just Off Vero Beach

Large Roman Wreck In Greece

Another remarkable Roman wreck find was reported by CNN. This Roman vessel was once carrying a full load of cargo of amphorae that was also doomed to a watery grave. It sunk around 2 thousand years ago and it has now been rediscovered by archeologists. It was carrying a very impressive cargo of 6,000 amphorae.

  • Age: Somewhere Between 100 BC and AD 100
  • Size: 110 Feet (or 35 Meters)
  • Depth: 167 Feet (or 60 Meters)
  • Number off Amphorae: 6,000 Amphorae

This ship was much larger than the boat outlined above and was around 110 Feet (or 35 Meters) in length. It is also much more difficult to reach as it is around 60 meters or 167 feet deep. It is so far the fourth largest shipwreck from that period found in the whole Mediterranean Sea.

It was discovered using modern underwater archeology technics where the researchers found it during a  sonar-equipped survey. Incidentally, the survey also discovered three wrecks from the World War Two period.

The wreck was discovered in the stunning Greek islands - but in the Adriatic Sea (not the Aegen Sea). It was found just off the coast of Kefalonia -- one of Greece's Ionian Islands.

Like the Roman wreck in Spain, its amphorae cargo was found to be in a very good state of preservation.

Today one can see a replica of the boat in the Ionian Aquarium in Kefalonia.

Related: Cape Canaveral Is A Hotspot For Sunken Treasure Ships

Ancient Roman Wreck Off The Coast Of Sicily

Another recent discovery reported by Smithsonian Magazine has been found off the coast of Palermo, Sicily.

It was also laden with amphorae and has been dated to the second century BC . It was carrying a very large cargo of wine. Sicily’s wine trade was “one of the most profitable of trades and was wildly popular for its wine (even by Julius Caesar).

  • Depth: Around 302 Feet
  • Cargo: Sicily Wine

The find points to a period of peace and prosperity in the Mediterranean—referred to by the Romans as Mare Nostrum (Latin for “Our Sea”).

Still if one is looking for the most valuable wreck in dollar terms - that the Spanish treasure ship the San Jose - the mother of shipwrecks.

Next: Sunk In Kansas City: This Shipwreck Was Lost For 132 Years