ROV investigates 2,000 year-old Roman wreck

Paul Boughton

A Saab Seaeye Falcon ROV has been used to investigate the wreck of a Roman ship outside the Spanish harbour of Cartagena. The wreck is believed to be 2,200 years old. Its cargo included thousands of amphora of wine. The clay jars were still carefully packed in the hold.

The discovery was made by explorers working for the Aurora Trust, a not-for-profit oceanographic exploration, education and archaeological organisation based in Malta.

Working with the National Centre for Underwater Archaeology of Spain, the Aurora Trust has created a map of the submerged cultural heritage on the seabed outside the harbour, and have set about targeting various items of interest.
After spotting the Roman wreck on a sonar map of the area, they sent down a Saab Seaeye Falcon ROV, widely used within the oil and gas industry, to investigate.

The Aurora Trust team were able to film and photograph the wreck 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 Trust has undertaken a number of projects throughout the Mediterranean over the past five years, working with government agencies, academic institutions and fellow non-profit organisations.
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