Top Ten Underwater Discoveries of 2014

By Chicco Spaggiari

An archaeological team equipped with a mini-submarine made a spectacular discovery while exploring in deep water around the Aeolian Islands of Pantelleria, Lipari and Panarea – a 2,000-year-old sunken ship, complete with dozens of amphorae, plates, bowls, and anchors.  One of the most exceptional discoveries was a well-preserved sacrificial altar on a pedestal containing decorative carvings of waves. While historical sources have referred to sailors making sacrifices to the gods to ensure a safe journey or to give thanks for having navigated a difficult passage, this is one of the first examples of an altar on a ship that may have been used for such purposes. Thrilled with the results, the Superintendent of the Sea, Sebastiano Tusa, said [translated]: “I have seen and touched dozens of ancient and modern wrecks in my long career as an archaeologist, but to be able to reach a wreck of a ship sunk 2,000 years ago, which is in the dark and in the silence of 130 feet deep, gave me an indescribable feeling.” The wreck, along with the recovered artifacts, are currently undergoing further analysis to further understand the origin, destination, and life on board the ancient ship. See more at: