Eastern Mediterranean shipwreck reveals exciting cargo

Israel Antiquities Authority

A team of Israeli archaeologists has discovered a huge cargo of 1,800-year-old marble artifacts from a shipwrecked merchant vessel, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said in a recent statement.

The artifacts, which were found at the bottom of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, about 200 meters off Israel’s western coast, near the city of Netanya, include Corinthian capitals adorned with vegetal patterns, partially carved capitals, and marble columns up to six meters long.

The IAA, which led the excavation, said the cargo is the first of its kind to be found in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The IAA assessed that the valuable architectural elements were destined for a magnificent temple or a theater.

The marble cargo probably came from Türkiye or Greece and was destined for one of the ports along the southern Levantine coast, such as Ashkelon or Gaza, or Alexandria in Egypt.

The researchers believe that the vessel, which was able to bear at least 200 tonnes, was wrecked after encountering a storm in the shallow waters when the crew dropped anchor in a desperate effort to prevent the ship from grounding.

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