Resting at a depth of 150 feet in the waters off Santa Teresa Gallura, the vessel is 60 feet long and 23 feet wide and dates to the first or second century A.D.
It was found by Italian police divers, working in collaboration with the Superintendent for Archaeological Heritage.
“The ship was loaded with terracotta roofing tiles, possibly produced in or around Rome,” the Italian police said in a statement.
The police statement added the find is of “great scientific value,” as the intact and well preserved cargo provides clues on how such vessels were loaded before they left ports.
“The flat tiles were packed one next to the other like decks of cards. Near the center of the ship, the curved tiles were stored, one on top the other,” archaeological superintendent Rubens D’Oriano told reporters.
The ship was carrying an entire roof to be built according to the “imbrex and tegula” Roman pattern of curved and flat tiles.
According to this roofing system, which is still in use today, a flat tile (tegula) is laid upon the roof, while the semi-cylindrical roofing tile (imbrex) is placed over the joints between the flat tiles. In this way, rain channels are created on the roof.
“The ship was crossing the Strait of Bonifacio that separates Sardinia from Corsica and likely was heading to Spain when it sank,” D’Oriano said.