Archeologists worldwide were said to be in a state of "near orgasmic excitement" today at the discovery of a shipwreck on the Mediterranean Island of Zakynthos. Members of the University of Afpuddle's Classics, Ancient History, Archeology and Social [Gender] Studies Department, several of whom have spent a lifetime awaiting news of the "holy grail of shipwrecks" were said to be "cautiously optimistic that the find was genuine" and certain that further tests would "prove beyond reasonable doubt that we have now found the remains of the galley on which St Peleon of Ossa was sailing when it went aground in heavy seas". The SS Pontius Pilate [a fully licensed but wholly uninsured vessel] was last reported bouncing off the Zakynthos rocks in 3AD.
The SS Pontius Pilate was bound for Rome in June 3AD, when it was blown off course by severe weather [semi-tropical storms Scylla and Charybdis [later downgraded by the Tempestas Officium Imperium Romanum [Roman Imperial Weather Service] to heavy squalls]. According to the ancient historians Pliny the Elder, Tacitus and Livy [Suetonius, typically, elaborates unconscionably] the shipping company had forewarned passengers that Peleon - who made a habit of traveling on vessels destined to splinter on the rockier promontories of Mediterranean islands and who was, in consequence, an unwelcome sight amongst embarking passengers throughout the ancient world - was likely to be onboard and several, sensibly, had "made alternative arrangements". Ignoring SPQR Radio's navis praenuntientur [shipping forecast], the captain set sail and soon found his ship in difficulties. Having heaved several 3rd class passengers overboard in order to try to improve stability and thereby save his ship, he had subsequently "rolled forward onto his bonce" [Cicero], losing control of the navis longa which later foundered on the rocks and came to rest on the seabed ["Cecidit in profundum maris"]. There were no survivors save Peleon who was later beatified by St Peter for "services to mariners"*.
* There is a potential irony here. Peleon was not supposed to be on the 11.35am from Piraeus to Zakynthos. Having missed his 12.45pm connection from Iraklion [Crete] due to an ox-cart log-jam on the busy road from Chora Sfakion, he missed the 6.15 sailing of the SS Sweet Baby Jesus on which he was pre-booked [starboard cabin, full-board, no nuts] by more than 4 hours. Had he made the 6.15am, apostolic history might have been very different.
A CONTROVERSIAL FIND
Asked whether it was unusual for a 1st century AD vessel to be constructed from iron and to have an en suite boiler room, bilge pumps and 20th-century toilet facilities, chief marine archeologist Jacques Custáard declined to be drawn. He was also clearly less than pleased when one of the journalists present noted that the vessel was on the beach in a cove rather than deep underwater, suggesting only that "a mixture of complex tectonics, freak weather conditions, unexplained chemical reactions and climate-change-derived-sea-level fall" might account for the vessel's state and sudden appearance in a wholly unexpected location. He noted, in addition, that the classical historical record was notoriously vague and sometimes too flawed to allow for direct interpretive comparisons. "Nuanced deconstruction of the site together with an archeologist's gut instinct are generally the best way of establishing the facts", he opined. "And anyway, who's to say the ancients knew what they were talking about; I mean did they have GPS or Google to consult?"