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Italian archaeologists have retrieved a sunken treasure of 3,422 ancient bronze coins in the small Sicilian island of Pantelleria, they announced today.
Discovered by chance during a survey to create an underwater archaeological itinerary,the coins have been dated between 264 and 241 BC.
2,000-Year-Old Shipwreck Creates Deep Sea Mystery
At that time, Pantelleria, which lies about 70 miles southwest of Sicily, in the middle of the Sicily Strait, became a bone of contention between the Romans and Carthaginians.
Rome captured the small Mediterranean island in the First Punic War in 255 BC, but lost it a year later. In 217 BC, in the Second Punic War, Rome finally regained the island, and even celebrated the event with commemorative coins and a holiday.
"They decided to hide the treasure on the bottom of the sea, in relatively low waters, in the hope to recover it later. Indeed, near the coins we found a large stone anchor," Abelli said.