Wreck of Punta Cera (250-300 AD)

Elba Wrecks of trade routes and sunken ships Elba Island

The wreck of Punta Cera was identified in 1961 near Porto Azzurro , approx. 200 m from the inlet formed by the modest promontory of Punta Cera, between Punta di Calanova and Punta Buzzancone , on a depth of 35 m. The massive looting that followed the discovery led to the disappearance of a large part of the cargo, but the seizure of three amphorae, carried out in 1963, and the intervention of the Experimental Center of Underwater archeology of Albenga with the recovery of another ten amphorae, allowed the acquisition of sufficient data for a correct framing of the wreck.

The amphorae of the wreck of Punta Cera

Amphorae Wreck of Punta Cera Elba

It has been ascertained the existence of a “field of amphorae” measuring 16 x 14 m, with no apparent trace of the wooden structure of the hull, of which some copper nails have been recovered. The amphorae, all belonging to the same shape (African II A), point to a provenance of the cargo from Proconsular and Byzacena Africa, and to a dating of the wreck of Punta Cera within the second half of the third century. A.D. According to data collected at the time of recovery, it seems that the amphorae contained wheat and were closed with pine cones (see photo). The only preserved stamp CPC, hitherto not associated with this form, is well known from a series of Roman specimens, perhaps however referable to Hispanic productions. The on-board furnishings are very scarce, limited to an olpe (jug) of gray clay and fragments of a casserole with an ashy patina.

The ship’s route

The material found suggests the presence of the wreck of a ship, of moderate size, which had sailed from Africa to Italy following the route of the islands and then that of the Tyrrhenian coast , of which Elba is a transit point.

It is possible to observe various artifacts found with the wreck at the Civic Archaeological Museum of Linguella Portoferraio