Carbonated drinks recovered from a vessel sunk off the coast of Sri Lanka have been confirmed to be 168 years old, say Ocean Archaeology officers conducting research on items found in the wreck of what has been dubbed the “Bottle Ship”.
The vessel - 23 metres long and six metres wide - was discovered two months ago. It is located 26 km off Kirinda, and lies at a depth of six metres. Iron, brass and brick props have been used to support the vessel, whose woodwork has deteriorated over the years. Nine types of bottles of varying size, shape and colours, including several unopened bottles containing a carbonated lemon beverage, were found among the recovered items.
The trade-marked bottles indicate they were manufactured by Clarke Romer & Co. Ceylon in 1840. The company had branches in Colombo and Kandy. Advertisements appearing in the “Examiner” of 1846.10.07 and “Prodens Fone Selanika” on display at the Colombo Museum suggest that the company’s product was in demand during a cholera epidemic.
The research team was led by W. S. Palitha Weerasinghe, A.M.A. Dayananda, W. M. Chandrasena and S.M. Nandadasa.