ARLES IV

This site, discovered in October 1988 by the submarine Cyana, and subsequently appraised by DRASSM in March of 1990, is located in the Gulf of Lions, about 40 nautical miles (74 km) from the mouth of the Rhône. In 1993, it was the object of an archeological expedition called Nautilion.

The ship, originating in Bétique, in the South of Spain, sank between AD 25 and 40. It has gradually been "digested" by the sea. What remains is a vast field of amphoras, extending about 30 meters in length an 10 meters in width.

A virtual excavation counted circa 950 amphoras. However, the height of the barrow suggests that they were deposited in several layers, and that the ship actually transported between 1000 and 2000.
The various types of vessels making up the cargo are arranged very systematically, with a large group of amphoras with pickling brine and preserved fish in the center.
Around this central portion, oil amphoras are placed, and each extremity is occupied by small, flat-bottomed wine amphoras.

Pottery and copper ingots, also placed at the extremities, complete the ship's cargo. To the north, accompanying the amphoras and pottery, the leaden stock of an anchor and an iron anchor indicate the position of the prow.

Some amphoras, typical of the region of Ibiza and the Baleares that were deposited at the periphery of the site attest to a port of call in that archipelago.

Photo DRASSM/IFREMER.
Authorized reproduction only