A lifeguard at work on a beach in Central Italy did double duty this weekend when he took on the role of amateur archaeologist after a beachgoer came across a 2nd-century amphora during a leisurely walk, according to the Italian news outlet Il Messegarro.
The conditions along the beach in Latina, the capital of Italy’s Lazio region, were perfect for a stroll: the day was hot, in the low 80s, and the sea was exceptionally clear. Incidentally, those are the same conditions that make finding an artifact from antiquity as easy as skipping stones.
The flaneur was enjoying his walk along the shore of the Pontine beach when he spotted something not normally seen among the shells, umbrellas, and bits of driftwood that usually pepper a beach—a tall, thin jar known as an amphora, used in ancient times to transport wine and oil, among other things, along the shipping routes that border Italy.
The man called the closest lifeguard, an unnamed 19-year-old stationed not far away. The lifeguard, “with extreme caution,” lifted the amphora out of the sand by its neck. He then called the Coast Guard who sent Commander Samuel Sasso to retrieve the artifact.
According to Ansa, the amphora will likely be housed in a museum in Latina founded by Benito Mussolini in the 1930s, after the draining of the Pontine Marshes.