Divers make ‘extraordinary find’ exposing Roman Empire secret in ancient underwater ruins.

Neapolis was a major ancient hub, established as a trade port by the Greeks of Cyrene in the fifth century before it became a port when the Roman Empire conquered North Africa. Now, a city known as Nabeul stands where the metropolis once was, built on top of most of the remains, making them inaccessible and likely mostly destroyed. However, researcher Mounir Fantar was convinced a large portion of Neapolis was permanently submerged in the ocean when a tsunami hit the city on July 21, 365AD, meaning the Mediterranean could be hiding an underwater city.

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The ruins were first discovered in 2017, but its secrets are now being exposed after a team of divers plunged below the Mediterranean during Channel 5’s “Ancient Mysteries”.

The Narrator said in November: “Dr Mounir Fantar believes Neapolis earned much of its wealth and status from something that everyone wanted across the Roman Empire.

“And a clue can be found among the ruins on dry land, an intricately decorated ceramic basin.

“For Fantar, this depiction of the god Oceanus reveals the coastal city flourished thanks to the bountiful stocks of fish in the Mediterranean.

A Roman Empire secret was exposed
A Roman Empire secret was exposed
Nabeul now stands were the city once was
Nabeul now stands were the city once was

Divers found something extraordinary

Ancient Mysteries

“But there’s no evidence that Neapolis made its fortune by catching and exporting fresh fish.

“In fact, the archaeological site reveals only their rotting remains laid out in a collection of stone tanks.

“Fantar believes that these tanks and the rotting fish inside were the secret to success, used to make a fish sauce called garum.”

The series went on to explain why Dr Fantar believed there could be more of these tanks hidden below the ocean.

The narrator added: “Archaeologists have found ancient garum-making tanks, across the Roman world, all with similar design and engineering to the tanks uncovered at Neapolis.

READ MORE: Astounding' ancient ruins discovered by Mediterranean drone flight

Evidence of a Roman city was found in 2017
Evidence of a Roman city was found in 2017

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“Dead fish were left to ferment with salt in the higher tanks and as they did, the pipes drained the resulting liquid into the lower reservoir capturing the juice which would become the final product.

“The large quantities of salt used in the fermenting process meant the sauce would keep for years.

“The result was a tasty protein-packed shake that provided much-needed nutrients to the mainly cereal-based.

“In the land-based ruins of Neapolis, experts counted around 100 garum-making tanks, suggesting a substantial scale of garum production.”

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These huge tanks were found in the city
These huge tanks were found in the city
Bow they have been found underwater too
Bow they have been found underwater too


The series saw a team of divers head below the sea, making an incredible find.

It concluded: “In the underwater remains divers found something extraordinary.

“There were at least another 100 tanks hidden beneath the waves.

“It’s a discovery that reveals why there was such a large commercial port here.

“Neapolis was actually the epicentre for the mass production of fish sauce.”

Dr Fantar exclaimed: “This number proves that Neapolis was the biggest centre for garum production in the Roman Empire.”

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