Italian archaeologists have recently excavated a 3rd century Roman shipwreck off the coast of Marausa Lido, a beach resort near Trapani. On board they found eveidence of smuggling in the form of unusual tubular tiles, taken from North Africa to Rome. (photo)
"They are small terracotta tubes with one pointed end. Put one into the other, they formed interlocking, snake-like tiles. Rows of these so-called fictile tubes were used by Roman builders to relieve the weight of vaulting," Sebastiano Tusa, Sicily's Superintendent of the Sea Office, told Discovery News.
The shipwreck, the most complete Roman ship ever found, also carried a typical cargo of "jars once filled with walnuts, figs, olives, wine, oil and fish sauce."