Grain barge dating
Recovered from the lake bed in 1929, the ships were destroyed by fire during World War II in 1944.(0.64 sq mi) and a maximum depth of 33 metres (108 ft).There is considerable speculation regarding why the emperor Caligula chose to build two large ships on such a small lake.From the size of the ships it was long held that they were pleasure barges, though, as the lake was sacred, no ship could sail on it under Roman law (Pliny the Younger, Litterae VIII-20) implying a religious exemption.His finds included bricks, marble paving stones, bronze, copper, lead artefacts and a great number of timber beams.He had all of the wood made into items such as walking sticks and boxes.This phenomenon is the source of the Roman name for the lake, Speculum Dianae (Diana's Mirror).Local fishermen had always been aware of the existence of the wrecks, and had explored them and removed small artefacts, often using grappling hooks to pull up pieces, which they sold to tourists.
When he returned, he found that the locals had dismantled his platform to make wine barrels. In 1895, with the support of the Ministry of Education, Eliseo Borghi began a systematic study of the wreck site and discovered that the site contained two wrecks instead of the one expected.
In 1927, the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini ordered Guido Ucelli to drain the lake and recover the ships.
With the help of the Regia Marina, the Italian Army, industry, and private individuals, an ancient Roman underground water conduit linking the lake to farms outside the crater was reactivated.
The timbers he recovered were discarded and lost while no contextual referencing was documented for any of his finds.
Felice Barnabei, director general of the Dept of Antiquity and Fine Art claimed all of the artefacts for the National Museum and submitted a report requesting the recovery cease due to the "devastation of the two wrecks".
In 1446, Cardinal Prospero Colonna and Leon Battista Alberti followed up on the stories regarding the remains and discovered them lying at a depth of 18.3 metres (60 ft), which at that time was too deep for effective salvage.