World's oldest intact shipwreck found in Black Sea

Nellie Chapman
October 23, 2018

The preservation of the Black Sea shipwreck is owed to the conditions of the water, which is oxygen-free and allows organic material to be sustained for thousands of years, the group said.

"A ship surviving intact from the classical world, lying in over [1.2 miles] of water, is something I would never have believed possible", Jon Adams, lead investigator on the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project, told The Guardian.

An global team of maritime experts has discovered what is being dubbed the "oldest intact shipwreck" known to mankind.

A sample from the site has been carbon dated by the University of Southampton, reportedly confirming it to be "the oldest intact shipwreck known to mankind".

The ship, which is lying on its side with its mast and rudders intact, was dated back to 400 BC - a time when the Black Sea was a trading hub filled with Greek colonies.

The global team of boffins has been on a three-year mission studying sea-level changes throughout history and their impact on the Black Sea, which is in Eastern Europe and surrounded by Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.

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The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project says it found the wreck of the Greek trading vessel off the coast of Bulgaria at a depth of 1.2 miles.

"This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world", he added. It has discovered over 60 shipwrecks, including a 17th-century Cossack raiding fleet and Roman trading vessels carrying amphorae.

It also showed the accuracy of the Siren Painter, an ancient Greek who decorated wine vessels, including one now in the British Museum showing Odysseus tied to the mast of a remarkably similar ship. Incredibly, modern eyes have only seen this type of ship before as an illustration on the "Siren Vase", a stunningly decorated vase depicting the ship of Odysseus, which is now in the British Museum.

It's among more than 60 shipwrecks uncovered by the global team of maritime archaeologists and scientists working on the $19 million, three-year mission to explore the Black Sea's depths.

A film documenting the discovery will be revealed on Tuesday October 23rd, at the British Museum.

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