A campaign of underwater archaeological excavations has uncovered 17 amphorae dating from the 3rd century BC at a depth of twenty metres, not far from the Lérins islands off the Bay of Cannes.

According to Anne Joncheray, archaeologist and director of the Saint-Raphaël Museum of Archaeology, the 2,300-year-old amphorae are remarkably well-preserved and were likely used to transport locally produced wine to the Greek trading posts of the Mediterranean.

"Bringing these objects to the surface was not an easy task, as everything was entangled in a mixture of sand and organic matter, which also preserved them for more than two millennia."

However, there is no trace of the ship that carried them and the arrangement of the scattered amphorae suggests three possible scenarios: either the boat had capsized without sinking and part of the cargo fell out, or it ran aground further afield, or the objects were simply thrown overboard.

One thing is certain: such a deposit is extremely rare as the Mediterranean basin was far from peaceful in the 3rd century BC and the infrequent trade was controlled by the Greek trading posts.

Only four wrecks dating back to this period of history have been discovered to date.
The amphorae will be preserved and then exhibited to the public in a museum in the Alpes-Maritimes department.