13 Aug 2010

Olives top food for ancient mariners

7:39 am on 13 August 2010

Researchers in Cyprus say a huge quantity of olive stones on a shipwreck more than 2000 years old, has provided valuable insight into the diet of sailors in the ancient world.

The shipwreck, dating from around 400BC, was discovered off the southern coast of Cyprus.

Excavation on the site, which started in November 2007, has determined that the ship was a merchant vessel of the late classical period.

Cyprus's antiquities department said on Thursday that the pips must have been part of the crew's food supply.

It said the excavation is shedding light on seafaring in Cyprus in antiquity, commerce between the island and the Aegean and the sizes of the period's cargo ships.