Travelers can explore ancient Roman shipwrecks

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This summer travelers can become underwater explorers to aid subsea archeologists to document and photograph three ancient Roman shipwrecks that sank some 2,000 years ago near Panarea in the Aeolian Islands off Italy.

Eight one-week missions begin June 20 and continue through Aug. 21.

The not-for-profit Aurora Trust Foundation, in conjunction with SubSea Explorers, a marine archeology expedition company, and U-Boat Worx, a Dutch mini-submarine manufacturer, offers the program. The air-conditioned sub safely travels to depths up to 1,000 feet, but maximum mission dive depths are 500 feet.

"This is a real bucket-list adventure," said Aurora co-founder Ian Koblick. "Participants will become authentic explorers and examine ancient Roman shipwrecks only a few have ever witnessed."

Each week participants can undergo three two-hour missions in the $3 million submarine built with 360-degree views. The sub can carry two guests who will work with a marine archeologist and the sub’s pilot. Together, they will have the opportunity to uncover the mysteries of the wrecks, whose wooden structures have long since deteriorated but whose amphora/cargo remains intact.

Under supervision of the Sicilian government, some artifacts are to be removed from the seafloor to be curated and displayed in regional exhibits.

Program cost for individuals is $19,700, which includes villa accommodations and meals.

For $240,000, up to 10 people can participate in the weeklong program while staying on a luxury yacht. The cost is $140,000 for a group of up to 10 that stays on their own yacht.

More details are at www.subseaexplorers.com