Ancient sunken treasure found

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EXCEPTIONAL DISCOVERY: Divers examine the wreck of the Bou Ferrer

A ship that sank off the coast of Villajoyosa has received special protection for cultural interest as an archaeological site.

The wreck of Bou Ferrer, a merchant vessel which sank in the first century AD, has been declared a site of cultural interest by the regional government. It lies off the beaches of La Vila and was discovered in 1999 by sport divers Viler and Antoine Joseph Bou Ferrer, whose surname was given to the site. The law decree was signed into the state official bulletin by regional Valencian president Ximo Puig and the Minister of Culture Vicent Marza. It aims to protect the site and ensure it is studied and scientifically documented. Activities have also been regulated in the area surrounding the site.

These include restrictions on anchoring of boats, scuba diving and prohibition of underwater equipment of any sort, prohibition of fishing and prevention of unauthorised archaeological works. The wreck is said to be the remains of a Roman merchant ship, still in excellent condition, which was used for carrying cargo, consisting of jars used for transporting fish sauces and lead bullion.

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It is said to have measured approximately 30 metres in length and weighed close to 230 tons. It is a ship intended for trade connecting the southern Iberian peninsula with the ports of Narbo, Rome and Neapolis. The ship was wrecked about 1,000 metres from the coast and is an exceptional discovery, since it was not documented and is at a depth that allows for easy scientific research

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