Scientists have discovered 12 incredible shipwrecks in the eastern Mediterranean

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Ricky Joseph

A group of British archaeologists has found 12 shipwrecks in the Mediterranean. The ancient ships were laden with hundreds of artifacts such as Chinese china, jugs, coffee pots, peppercorns and illegal pipes.

An expedition led by Enigma Recoveries, found a cluster of 12 ships on the sea floor. The wreck was 1.9 km below the surface of the western Mediterranean Sea. Researchers explored the wreck and collected artifacts using sophisticated robots.

The 12 wrecks reveal ancient trade route

According to the research team, the ships reveal a trade route from China to Persia, the Red Sea and the eastern Mediterranean for food and porcelain on ancient 'shipping routes' that served spice and silk trades of the Greek, Roman and Ottoman empires from 300 B.C.E.

The ancient shipwrecks are filled with hundreds of artefacts such as Chinese porcelain, jugs, coffee pots, peppercorns and illegal pipes. (Image: Enigma Recoveries)

Some of the ancient ships are the largest ever found in the Mediterranean. They were unearthed in a muddy part of the bottom of the eastern sea between Cyprus and Lebanon.

"Impossible to get better than this," Sean Kingsley, an archaeologist with the Enigma Shipwreck Project (ESP), told BBC Radio 4.

"To an archaeologist, that's the equivalent of finding a new planet," he added.

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According to Kingsley, inside the ships they found the oldest Chinese porcelain, belonging to the Ming Dynasty. These are rare pieces, very hard to find, and they are in great condition.

"Compared to the western Mediterranean, where you have these wonderful piles of amphorae, you don't get that in the eastern Mediterranean, because a lot of the wrecks are hidden under the mud," the researcher said.

The discovery of these wrecks revealed a previously unknown maritime "road" of silk and spices connecting China to Persia, the Red Sea and the eastern Mediterranean.

The Great Colossus

One of the wrecks is a colossal Ottoman merchant ship from the 17th century. 42 meters long, it is large enough to fit two normal-sized ships on its deck. The ship is not only one of the largest ever found in the Eastern Mediterranean, it also carried a treasure trove of artifacts. In it are goods from 14 different cultures and civilizations.

A huge 8-metre iron anchor in the arches of the Ottoman colossus lost around 1630, surrounded by green-coloured storage jars. (Image: Enigma Recoveries)

Called the Colossus, believed to have sunk in 1630 while sailing between Egypt and Istanbul, the ship is a time capsule.

A treasure trove of artifacts

The great colossus was loaded with the first Chinese porcelains recovered from a Mediterranean shipwreck, vases painted in Italy, 12 coffee pots and chili peppers.

"The 12 copper coffee pots, most likely were made in Egypt or Turkey," Kingsley told MailOnline.

"They are coffee pots are of Ottoman tradition - and it is very likely that they were personal property of the crew members, because each one has a different shape and style," he said.

READ ALSO: Mysterious ancient technology found in Antikythera wreck

The coffee pots found in the shipwrecks are of Ottoman tradition. (Image: Enigma Recoveries)

Chinese porcelain on board the 17th century ship, meanwhile, comprises 360 decorated cups, plates and a bottle made during the Chongzhen reign from 1627 to 1644, used for drinking tea.

The huge ship is loaded with the first Chinese porcelains recovered from a Mediterranean shipwreck, vases painted in Italy, 12 coffee pots and peppers.

In addition, the wreckage also contained the first Ottoman clay tobacco pipes ever found, which were probably illicit due to the rules against smoking at that time.

The team used a robotic vehicle to carefully search and carry the artifacts deep beneath the sea floor and find the treasures among the mud.

The team used a robotic vehicle to carefully plough the depths of the seabed and find the wreck treasures among the mud. (Image: Enigma Recoveries)

Ricky Joseph is a seeker of knowledge. He firmly believes that through understanding the world around us, we can work to better ourselves and our society as a whole. As such, he has made it his life's mission to learn as much as he can about the world and its inhabitants. Joseph has worked in many different fields, all with the aim of furthering his knowledge. He has been a teacher, a soldier, and a businessman - but his true passion lies in research. He currently works as a research scientist for a major pharmaceutical company, where he is dedicated to finding new treatments for diseases that have long been considered incurable. Through diligence and hard work, Ricky Joseph has become one of the foremost experts on pharmacology and medicinal chemistry in the world. His name is known by scientists everywhere, and his work continues to improve the lives of millions.