Scientists discover oldest intact shipwreck in Black Sea

Oct 24, 2018, 01:49
Scientists discover oldest intact shipwreck in Black Sea

Researchers from the University of Southampton's Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project have found the world's oldest intact shipwrecked vessel, which is reportedly ancient Greek in origin and has remained undisturbed for over 2,400 years.

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. Experts have spent three years surveying over 772 square miles of the Black Sea in a search for shipwrecks.

"This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world", said the project's principal investigator Professor Jon Adams.

Oxygen-free conditions in the water have preserved the ship, which the group says has been carbon dated to more than 2,400 years ago.

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The 23-metre vessel was uncovered as part of the Black Sea Maritime Archaeological Project, with the global group of archaeologists, scientists and marine surveyors concluding that the vessel had been laying untouched for over 2,4000 years.

The ship, laying more than a mile below the surface of the Black Sea, appears to be of the same construction.

"The project as a whole was actually looking at sea level change and the flooding of the Black Sea region. and the shipwrecks are a happy by-product of that", she told BBC radio. The group says ships of the design they found last year had previously only been found in artwork such as the Siren Vase, an artifact dated several decades earlier than the ship.

The University of Southampton in the United Kingdom announced the discovery on Tuesday.

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The team found a Greek trading vessel during a survey in 2017.

Over the past 600 years, Europe's Black Sea has been one of the maritime areas hit hardest by war and nationalism.

Archaeologists believe they have found the world's oldest intact shipwreck. That includes a 17th-century raiding fleet launched by the Cossacks, a people who had by that time settled north of the Black Sea, near the border of modern Russian Federation and Ukraine.

Various outlets have been reporting that the British Museum is showing a two-hour documentary about the discovery today, but The Reg rang BM and a patient chap named Owen told us it was a "private screening".

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