The remains of the trading vessels, dating from the first century BC to the 5th-7th century AD, are up to 165 meters underwater, a depth that preserved them from being disturbed by fishermen over the centuries.
“The deeper you go, the more likely you are to find complete wrecks,” said Annalisa Zarattini, an official from the archaeological services section of the Italian culture ministry.
The timber structures of the vessels have been eaten away by tiny marine organisms, leaving their outlines and the cargoes still lying in the position they were stowed on board.
“The ships sank, they came to rest at the bottom of the sea, the wood disappeared and you find the whole ship, with the entire cargo. Nothing has been taken away,” she said.