Israeli divers find ancient Roman treasure in shipwreck remains

A team of Israeli divers have discovered a cache of ancient Roman treasure within the remains of a shipwreck, the nation has announced. A pair of divers made the discovery back in April, finding the remains of a shipwreck in an ancient Roman port, and further investigation by the Israel Antiquities Authority revealed a cache of ancient treasures...most of which is in surprisingly good shape considering how long it spent underwater.

The shipwreck is about 1,600 years old, and it is located in the ancient Roman port of Caesarea, which is on the Mediterranean Sea. Within the shipwreck's hold were many small treasures, including a bronze lamp in the shape of the Roman god Sol, a statue of Luna, the moon goddess, pieces of what appears to have been larger creations, and more.

In addition to statues and pieces of statues, the team found large clumps of ancient coins that had fuzed together into two large masses, the total of which weighed about 40 pounds. According to the IAA, these coins have the visage of Emperor Constantine on them, while other have images of Licinius, his rival.

The ship itself is described as having been a merchant ship, which explains the large cache of items. While precious to us, the coins and other artifacts were nearly destroyed by their original transporters — researchers say they were deemed to be recycling materials, and had been on their way to an ancient recycling center for destruction. A storm caused turbulent waters, though, and the ship ultimately sank in shallow depths, being covered with sand that ultimately helped preserve the items.