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Keywords:

  • dolia;
  • Roman Period;
  • hull remains;
  • Corsica;
  • Tarraconensis amphoras

During the early the Roman Empire, large quantities of olive oil and wine were exchanged between Rome and its provinces of Spain and Gaul. The majority was transported aboard ships in amphoras. There was also a short-lived type of vessel, known as a cistern-boat, that held large, globular jars, referred to as dolia. The jars were presumably placed in the hold as the ship was being built and were intended for bulk transport. About 10 dolia shipwrecks have been found in the western Mediterranean, including the La Giraglia wreck, located at the northernmost point of Corsica near the small island of La Giraglia, which lends its name to the wreck. The ship was carrying at least eight dolia and possibly four smaller doliola probably manufactured near Rome, several Spanish amphoras, and a lead anchor stock. This type of vessel was an innovation in ship construction, intended to respond to changes in the production and transportation of wine brought about by Roman expansion. The relatively short period of production for this ship-type suggests that there were problems with its design which caused it to be abandoned. The excavation of the La Giraglia wreck provided answers to some questions about their build and how they contributed to new patterns of trade in the western Mediterranean.