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A Roman Shipwreck in Rio de Janeiro? The Amphorae in Guanabara Bay.

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posted on Nov, 13 2014 @ 09:49 PM
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I was doing some research this afternoon into pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact for a thread idea I was working on and I came across a reference to some OOPArts that were unknown to me and I ended up spending a couple of hours compiling what information I could dig up.

The following is excerpted from a 2002 article on Dockwalk, a boating e-zine/website. The original link I found is no longer good and the website's search feature seems to be broken but the full text can be found reproduced on several forums and blogs.


In the middle of the - Bay is a large submerged rock lying 3' below the surface called Xareu Rock (named after a local fish that congregates here). The ship appears to have been travelling at a high rate of speed when she struck the rock. She broke into two pieces and settled in 75' of water near the base of the rock.

In the late 1970's, a local fisherman using nets around Xareu Rock kept "catching" some large (3' tall), heavy earthen jars which tore his nets. He mistakenly thought these were "macumba" jars, which are used in local voodoo ceremonies and then thrown into the sea. So, as the jars were hauled up, he smashed them with a hammer and threw the small pieces back into the water in an attempt to prevent tearing his nets in the future. If he had only known what treasures he was destroying! In recent years, a scuba diver was spear fishing around Xareu Rock and found eight similar jars that he took home. He sold six jars to tourists before the Brazilian police arrested him with the two remaining jars for illegally selling ancient artifacts.


An article in the June, 1983 issue of Omni identified the diver as Jose Roberto Texeira and the year as 1976. Six years later, pioneering scuba diver, treasure hunter, lecturer, self-taught marine archaeologist, sometimes maritime museum curator and prolific author Robert Marx was called in to investigate. Upon arrival, he was presented with the two jars which are umistakenly amphorae, the most popular shipping containers of antiquity.

Robert Marx in 1982 with Guanabara Bay amphora. Image: MIT Museum Collection

Amphora were used to transfer dry goods and liquids, particularly wine and were so commonplace and inexpensive that they were often discarded at the destination. They are found in vast numbers of ancient shipwrecks, sometimes still sealed with their contents intact. In fact, finding the seafloor is one of the telltale signs of an ancient shipwreck.

Diving into the bay, Marx reportedly discovered a field of potsherds, including necks, from what were estimated to be more than 200 amphorae. Archaeologists from the Brazilian Institute of Archaeology sent photographs of the amphorae to the Smithsonian who reportedly identified them as Roman. Samples were sent to the late Dr. Elizabeth Lyding Will, a foremost expert on amphorae, at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The following is from the end of an article she authored in the Jan/Feb 2000 edition of Archaeology Odyssey (archived on The Way Back Machine), The Roman Amphora — Learning from Storage Jars:


Just how far did the Romans go? Is there a Roman ship off the Azores, as some say? Are there thousands of Phoenician and Roman amphora fragments on Salt Island in the Cape Verdes, as reported by the underwater salvor Robert Marx? Is the "Rio Wreck," at the bottom of Guanabara Bay near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a Roman ship that in ancient times was blown off course?

Twice a year London's Sunday Times phones me to ask if I know anything more about the Rio Wreck. The highly publicized amphoras Robert Marx found in the ship are in fact similar in shape to jars produced in kilns at Kouass, on the west coast of Morocco. The Rio jars look to be late versions of those jars, perhaps datable to the third century A.D. I have a large piece of one of the Rio jars, but no labs I have consulted have any clay similar in composition. So the edges of the earth for Rome, beyond India and Scotland and eastern Europe, remain shrouded in mystery.


Image: David Pratt

She alludes to the hypothesis held by Marx and others that the wreck could be that of an a ship destined for the Cape Verdes that was blown off course in a storm and carried far out to sea by the Harmattan, a strong Sahara trade wind that blows through the region. Some articles and forum posts also mention the discovery among the amphorae of a fibula (as in the Roman brooch, not the bone) and some sort of marble pieces which were also believed to be Roman.

Here's where things get all conspiracy(-y?)! The NY Times reported on June 25, 1985 that Robert Marx had been expelled from Brazil and told not to return and that ALL underwater exploration permits had been revoked (not just his):


A DISPUTE between the Brazilian Navy and an American marine archeologist has led Brazil to bar the diver from entering the country and to place a ban on all underwater exploration.

The dispute involves Robert Marx, a Florida author and treasure hunter, who asserts that the Brazilian Navy dumped a thick layer of silt on the remains of a Roman vessel that he discovered inside Rio de Janeiro's bay.

The reason he gave for the Navy's action was that proof of a Roman presence would require Brazil to rewrite its recorded history, which has the Portuguese navigator Pedro Alvares Cabral discovering the country in 1500.

The Brazilian Navy has denied that it covered up the site and has in turn charged Mr. Marx with ''contraband'' of objects recovered from other wrecks in this country. Because of this, Navy officials said, the Government had issued an order ''to prohibit him from entering Brazil.''

To substantiate these charges, the Brazilian officials showed a catalogue of an auction held in Amsterdam in 1983 in which, they said, gold coins, instruments and artifacts removed from shipwrecks in Brazil were offered for sale on behalf of Mr. Marx and his associates. The officials said many of these objects had not been reported on the divers' inventory, contrary to an agreement with Mr. Marx.

edit on 2014-11-13 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)




posted on Nov, 13 2014 @ 09:49 PM
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Robert Marx is a certainly a colorful character. His support of the White Gods hypothesis and his reputation as a publicity hound and a treasure hunter, more concerned with making a buck than archaeology, don't engender a favorable opinions from many mainstream academics. However, what's undeniable is that he is an expert in the field of underwater exploration and particularly ancient shipwrecks. He's supposed to have located an astounding 5,000+ shipwrecks in 60 countries.

Even if one doubts Mr. Marx, though he's never as far as I know been accused of a hoax, he didn't discover the original intact amphorae. The credentials of Dr. Will are beyond reproach. Amphorae are known to have been used by the Spanish for transporting wine into the 16th or 17th century but pottery style is highly datable — entire cultures are identified by it — and one would assume an expert of Dr. Will's caliber would be hard pressed to make a misidentification of that magnitude.

In my opinion, the jars are legitimately ancient and quite probably from a Roman shipwreck. Does that prove Romans reached South America 1,700 years ago? Could the myths of "White Gods" have some basis in reality? It doesn't seem implausible to me at all. Evidence of pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact by the Polynesians with indigenous South Americans has made credible what was once considered a far-fetched hypothesis. It could also be that the shipwreck is Roman but the ship was derelict. There are enumerable accounts of ships (and even piers from Japan!) being carried thousands of miles by the sea.


Additional Information:

People Magazine, April 1983
2012 post in the blog, The Mathisen Cororllary
Skeptical 2004 post from the blog rogueclassicism
edit on 2014-11-13 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 13 2014 @ 09:58 PM
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Fantastic post!

The ancient Egyptian mummies have been found to have residues of coc aine, which was only known to be found in South America....



posted on Nov, 13 2014 @ 10:10 PM
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a reply to: signalfire

Thanks! As I was putting together this post, I kept thinking about the Tecaxic-Calixtlahuaca head which has interested me for a long time. What's really interesting — and I'm not saying there's a connection — is that the Tecaxic-Calixtlahuaca head has been dated to the 2nd or 3rd century AD!



posted on Nov, 13 2014 @ 11:55 PM
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I think the uncircumstantial evidence is really more circumstantial that a worldwide advanced civilization existed and a cataclysm wiped it out. Basically language, mathematics, and simple astronomy all owe their roots to some unknown society that was advanced enough to know the exact size of the earth correlates to how we perceive the speed of light to give us the 1 inch measurement system that is still a mystery as to its unique origin. Basically our measurement system is an insight to the speed of light which you would assume, would come after the said measurement system, but instead it defines it.

How was ancient man capable of this? Even most modern people couldn't figure this out.



posted on Nov, 13 2014 @ 11:56 PM
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double post oopps
edit on 13-11-2014 by nrd101 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 13 2014 @ 11:59 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian
Holy moly antidilluvian
If it's all good, that is pretty solid evidence.

What strikes me the most is that the head, is represented wearing a "freedom cap", when a Roman slave was freed they were given a freedom cap as a sign of their freedom. Only a freed slave was allowed to wear one.
The freedom cap was such a symbol of freedom in imperial Rome, that it became the fashion of the day during the French revolution, and the statue of "Freedom" that adorns the US Capitol was carved wearing one.
If intact amphora were found, like you said , it would be a solid piece of evidence.

And yes , oceanic drifts are a well documented phenomenon, my favorite examples
from the historic record, and thank you Hanslune for initially pushing me down that path of study, are Asian drifts to the new world. In the early sixteen hundreds a Chinese junk ran aground on the coast of Baja CA , a handful of sailors survived the journey.
I most love that story because I have been to a very old trail, in Baja, called "the Chinese sticks. It follows and old Indian trail that links the pacific and gulf of California coasts.
It's in the middle of nowhere, on the pacir side, but it does start at a very good surf spot, as the currents and wind focus there, so j could see it getting it's name from that event.
Japanese havie been washing washing up in Hawaii for centuries.

The idea that Romans made it here is not out od the question, just as it is for the Phoenicians, or anybody sailing out there.

edit on 14-11-2014 by punkinworks10 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 12:50 AM
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Just saw this on fb. Haven't checked it out but it made me think of this post. Where there were ocean going trade networks there were ocean going trade networks so my link doesn't prove anything but food for thoughts.

Roman Vase Found In 5th Century AD Japanese Tomb


edit on 14-11-2014 by nukedog because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 02:41 AM
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Good find... never heard of this either... so thanks for the post.

Where I live, artifacts were found dated from 800 A.D. with a story about Roman Jews who shipwrecked and crossed North America to Arizona... the Tucson Artifacts.

It was treated as a hoax, but my little research points to it not being a hoax and likely dating to 1200 years ago.

I'd think that many crossed the oceans in the immensity of history, and thinking we know about all who crossed is hubris.



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 01:28 PM
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a reply to: Baddogma

I was actually reading a "research paper" (the author is actually a professional musician) about the Rochester Creek petroglyphs (Utah) and a supposed connection to Berbers when I came across the bit about the Rio jars. While I'm open to the possibilities, I'm far more skeptical when the purported evidence is so far inland. What are the chances that a band of shipwreck survivors would desire to trek that far into the interior let alone survive the journey?



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 01:48 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian
I too am extremely skeptical of such things so far inland, with out being adjacent to a navigable river.
In Utah, I would say that it is nearly impossible, as the people were just as inhospitable as the environment.
Read the journal of Cabeza de Vaca, it details the journey from Florida , overland , to Mexico City, in the 1520's by a group of stranded Spanish. It's a good illustration of what one would have to go through to journey inland in the southern US.



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 03:53 PM
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a reply to: punkinworks10

Yes! An expedition of hundreds quickly dwindles to a handful of survivors. It's an amazing and epic story. The flip side is that he did in fact survive and traveled for what eight years so there's some precedent for believing that a group could make it even more or less transverse the width of the entire continent. It's also interesting that he came to be regarded as something of a shaman and that they picked up a coterie of native followers.



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 05:43 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

Yeah, same thoughts here... I guess as far as the Tucson relics... bunch of lead objects -some with writing and dates- they were found in a layer of caliche that conforms to the general time period found in the writing.

My own investigation points to the finder as legit and trustworthy... and several anthropologists vouch for him and the find.

The main controversy comes when its' manufacture date is broached. Most wrote it off as relatively recent ... but weathering on the objects and the layer it was found in point to it being from the 800 A.D. era... odd as that is.

The story etched into a Jewish ceremonial piece tells of a wreck -likely in the Gulf of Mex- and a trek, under a "King Theodoric" to find hospitable lands... interesting find and story... and it might be "real." I thought it was total bunk until I looked a little closer and read the file in the historical society. Who knows, though...



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 06:38 PM
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a reply to: Baddogma

I'm somewhat familiar with the lead crosses. I know that there have been a few respectable archaeologists in the past who were of the opinion that they were authentic but if I recall the inscriptions largely appeared to be a mashup of word-for-word fragments from various historical sources that had been published in Latin primers. The lack of original content throws up a big red flag for me because it means a potential hoaxer wouldn't need to even actually know Latin.

Sometimes though, what first appears to be a hoax turns out to be anything but, particularly when it comes to opinions of inscriptions. I can think of two examples that I've posted threads about recently:

The Glozel Tablets
The Phaistos Disc

The Glozel finds in particular were extremely controversial because of their crude nature. There was even a lawsuit by a curator from the Louvre claiming the tablets and the other hundreds of artifacts (3,000+ in total) recovered at the site were forgeries. Then starting in the mid-70's, thermoluminescence dating was done on dozens of the artifacts, proving their authenticity.



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 06:49 PM
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a reply to: punkinworks10

I was going to respond with an example of the sea carrying a boat far across the sea earlier and I completely forgot. I wrote about the Sarah Joe in this thread. Basically in Hawaii in 1979, five friends left for a day of fishing and a huge storm came out of nowhere and they were lost. Almost a decade later, the wreckage of the boat and the remains of one of the men were found about 2,000 miles away in the Marshall Islands.

2,000 miles across open ocean from one speck of land to another. The belief is that all of the men perished during the storm but one was caught up in some sort of rigging and his corpse traveled with the boat all that way. Every time I think about it, a chill runs up my spine.



posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 10:47 PM
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As you noted the finder was somewhat suspect. If A Roman ship did make it to SA it appears to not have made it back!

I would suspect that Mr. X found pottery used by Portuguese and the Spanish (they didn't switch to barrels for some time after the Americas were discovered) and he sent to Wills an actual Roman sample from elsewhere to be ID.

I cannot think of a single reason why there would be any attempt to 'hide' a Roman ship, it would be a great find and in reality while interesting wouldn't change much.



posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 10:49 PM
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originally posted by: punkinworks10
a reply to: theantediluvian
I too am extremely skeptical of such things so far inland, with out being adjacent to a navigable river.
In Utah, I would say that it is nearly impossible, as the people were just as inhospitable as the environment.
Read the journal of Cabeza de Vaca, it details the journey from Florida , overland , to Mexico City, in the 1520's by a group of stranded Spanish. It's a good illustration of what one would have to go through to journey inland in the southern US.


Absolutely; overland exploration was tough, many colonies failed and many expeditions were lost. Hostile lands with hostile people are difficult to move thru.



posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 10:54 PM
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a reply to: punkinworks10

My pleasure.

People were floating around all over the place the problem is that in almost all cases they had little or no effect, didn't write it down (if they could write at all - most fisherman and sailors could not write) and any such contacts were extremely sporadic - one way - and terminal.

We only found out about the Vikings by the luck of the sagas being written down and the extremely lucky find of L'anse Aux Meadows and the penny - we have some new evidence now but LAAM was an unusually powerful slam dunk.



posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 11:14 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

Until someone can give a proper explanation for the Olmec heads which are clearly out of place amongst artifacts, all the rest is hypothesis as well, one might have to think Pangaea happened was intact not so long ago in terms of history or the distances between the continents was closer than than what exists now so when you put the great distances traveled in perspective, today according to Wikipedia, 1,600 mi (2,575 km) separate Africa and South America , Imagine even if 3-5000 years ago it was only half that or less, this would not be unthinkable....more re-examination of those theories would probably need to occur.



posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 11:48 PM
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a reply to: Hanslune
Hans,
Yes, in this case I would say the proposed voyage was one way, the amphora ended up in the bay, as they were want to do even in home waters.
And contatc doesn't imply interaction. The best evidence for there not being interaction between these far flung societies, is the lack of spreading diseases, in either direction.
It happend where the Europeans first showed up , and it was two directional.
Not only did the Europeans bring diseases , they also brought back syphilis and tb, which caused terrible epidemics I'm Europe.
If the Romans, Phoenicians, Minoans, Greeks, Muslims or ancient Chinese had trade relations then it would show in the record from the exchange of diseases. It shows in north America when cultural contact from meso America introduced agriculture and also brought new diseases to the people of the Mississippi drainages.



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