It would have remained undiscovered at the bottom of the sea outside the Spanish harbour but for the sharp-eyed marine explorers of the Aurora Trust. After spotting the Roman wreck on a sonar map of the area, they sent down a Saab Seaeye Falcon ROV to investigate.
Their remarkable discovery was the sight of thousands of amphora of wine, the clay jars still carefully packed in the hold of the ship where they had lain undisturbed for over 2000 years.
The ship could have lain there for another 2000 years but for the work of the Trust who are undertaking a large scale study of the area outside the harbour of Cartagena in southern Spain.
Working with the National Centre for Underwater Archaeology of Spain, they have created a map of the submerged cultural heritage on the seabed outside the harbour, and have set about targeting various items of interest.
The ancient Roman ship was one such item, which the team from Aurora Trust were able to film and photograph thoroughly using the highly manoeuvrable Falcon which can hold steady for such work, even in strong currents. A photomontage was created using a Kongsberg stills camera with flash mounted in a specially built skid slung beneath the ROV.
The Aurora Trust, a not-for-profit oceanographic exploration, education and archaeological organisation has their logistics base in Malta. The Trust has undertaken a number of projects throughout the Mediterranean over the last five years, working with government agencies, academic institutions and fellow non-profit organisations.
For the Trust, the highly successful Falcon ROV has proved a vital tool in their ocean exploration work. It is an ROV that has carved out its own niche in the world of marine science and archaeology after winning respect in the fields of oil and gas and defence.