architecture

Ancient Roman artifacts discovered by police in Spanish seafood store

Updated 23rd July 2020
Ancient Roman artifacts discovered by police in Spanish seafood store
Written by Rob Picheta, CNN
Authorities inspecting a seafood store in Spain have discovered a collection of ancient Roman containers, called amphorae, some of which could have been created in the first century and recovered from shipwrecks off the Mediterranean coast.
A total of 13 Roman amphorae were found, alongside a metal anchor from the 18th century.
They were uncovered by surprised officers during a routine check of the storage and marketing of frozen fish products at the store in Alicante -- and the shop's owners now find themselves under investigation for breaking laws on possessing historical artifacts.
Police officers found an ancient Roman amphora while doing a routine inspection of a seafood shop in Alicante, Spain.
Police officers found an ancient Roman amphora while doing a routine inspection of a seafood shop in Alicante, Spain. Credit: Spanish Civil Guard
"Officers observed several ceramic amphorae at various points in the facility, a metal anchor and a limestone plaque with an inscription that, at first glance, could be of considerable age," the Civil Guard said in a statement.
They brought the finds to the attention of Spain's Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, which determined that they were likely from the Roman Empire and could date back to the first century.
"In particular, one of them could be of significant importance, due to its exclusivity," the statement said. The items were then taken to the nearby Sea Museum in Santa Pola, where experts confirmed the findings.
Most of them were oleic amphorae, which were used to transport oil to Rome, the Guardia Civil said, while others would have been used to carry wine and fish sauces.
Police officers found an ancient Roman amphora while doing a routine inspection of a seafood shop in Alicante, Spain.
Police officers found an ancient Roman amphora while doing a routine inspection of a seafood shop in Alicante, Spain. Credit: Spanish Civil Guard
"The Guardia Civil is now investigating the owner of the establishment and his son as alleged perpetrators of a crime against historical heritage," and another covering the "possession of objects knowingly of their dubious or illegal origin," the statement said.
Officers said they believe the items came from shipwrecks and would be protected by heritage law if they had been found off the Mediterranean coast.
CNN's Laura Perez Maestro contributed reporting.