By Amargi Hillier
(Quseir City) Trade affairs represents the oldest way of relations between countries and civilizations. In an attempt to map the trade route between Rome, India and Egypt, an American-British expedition has eagerly started a venture to unravel the secrets of a sunken Roman ship near the shores of the Quseir City in the in the Red Sea. The trade route existed in the time interval between 1st century BC and 1st century AD.
The 2,000 year old merchant ship is believed to have carried goods like wine and oil. However the ship might be carrying precious merchandise like gold, silver and other precious metals. Officials say that this ship belonged to the fleet of Augustus, the famous Roman Emperor, who ruled over Egypt after defeating the allied forces of Cleopatra and Anthony. The ship had sunk right after it set sail on course to India. This assumption is because the ship is still very near the coast.
The ship was found in good condition as it was beneath the sand at the bottom of the sea. The quest is in finding the cargo it carried, which is a great possibility due to the preservation of the ship. In fact, the expedition has announced the discovery of huge canisters. Studies have shown that these canisters held oil and wine.
The ship is almost 200 feet deep. This is a major problem since this great depth will allow only 30-minute dives. However, besides manual methods of excavation, sonar is being utilized to locate strewn about pieces of pottery. The scientists in the expedition believe that this ship was one of the largest in the Roman trade fleet. Excavation is expected to go on for four years.