Provence & Côte d'Azur: Construction workers have made an "exceptional discovery" in the port of Antibes
Antiquity returns to Antibes
Work at the port's new underground carpark had been halted as archaeologists continue to gently and slowly unravel centuries of history. "This is an exceptional discovery," the regional director of archaeological finds, Xavier Delestre, told reporters at the unveiling of the site yesterday.
While experts are estimating that the boat could be much bigger than expected, archaeologists have so far revealed the hull which is eight metres wide and 14 metres long.
Site manager for INRAP Isabelle Daveau took journalists on a tour of the precious area on Thursday 21st and shared her hunch that the boat dates from the second or third century, "if you consider the items on board." A number of water and wine vases were discovered along with broken ceramic pieces and ancient tablets depicting local history.
The wooden vessel was almost certainly transporting its cargo around the Mediterranean but it remains unknown as to how the boat came to be lost under a thin layer of sand and silt.
"Outside of Marseille, we have never found anything like this on the Mediterranean coastline," said Delestre.
As part of the National Days of Archaeology (22nd, 23rd and 24th June), people can visit the site for free this weekend between 10am and 12pm then 2pm and 5pm.