Shipwreck found in Black Sea is ‘world’s oldest intact’

Shipwreck found in Black Sea is 'world's oldest intact'

Shipwreck found in Black Sea is ‘world’s oldest intact’

A team of marine archaeologists, scientists, and surveyors have uncovered, off the coast of Bulgaria, more than 1 mile below the shore of the Black Sea, what could be the oldest intact shipwreck in the world — a Greek trading vessel of 75 ft. of carbon-dated over 2400 years ago.

The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology project reports that the wreck has been found in oxygen-free conditions, which protect its components. Its design was only seen before on the side of ancient Greek pottery.

Ottoman period wreck discovered by the expedition team

The ship was found lying in a “shipwreck graveyard” that has already exposed more than 60 other vessels, with its mast, rudders, and rowing.

The ship was found approximately 50 miles off the coast of Bulgaria by a remote-controlled submarine, which can preserve the organic materials for thousands of years if the water is anoxic (oxygen-free).

A little part of the vessel, which is the oldest intact shipwreck known to mankind, was examined and confirmed as originating in 400  BC.

“A ship surviving intact from the classical world, lying in over 2km of water, is something I would never have believed possible,” said Professor Jon Adams, the principal investigator with the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (MAP) told The Guardian. “This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world.”

The ship has only previously been seen “on the side of ancient Greek pottery such as the ‘Siren Vase’ in the British Museum.”

Odysseus Sirens

Its similarity to that vase is prompting speculation about Odysseus’s ship, and how close to reality it could have been. The vase’s design shows a ship with a mast identical to the one now found on the seabed.

The Siren Painter, as he is known, has his most famous work exhibited in the British Museum, said the Daily Mirror. His real name is unknown, as are the date of his birth and death.

The vase shows Odysseus tied to the mast of a similar ship as he resisted the Siren’s calls.

Odysseus and the Sirens, Roman mosaic, second century AD (Bardo National Museum)

In the Odyssey, Odysseus was returning from the Trojan War. It was written some time in the 8th century BC.

This shipwreck was found during a three-year survey of the area using technology previously available largely to oil companies. It reportedly discovered 60 shipwrecks, including a 17th century Cossack raiding fleet and Roman trading vessels carrying amphorae.

The team reportedly said they intended to leave the vessel where it was found, but added that a small piece had been carbon dated by the University of Southampton and claimed the results “confirmed [it] as the oldest intact shipwreck known to mankind,” reported the Guardian.

Replica of Trireme Olympias of the Hellenic Navy.

The team said the data would be published at the Black Sea MAP conference at the Wellcome Collection in London in late October 2018.

Reconstruction of ancient Greek galleys.

Professor Adams said in an interview that the ship, both sail, and oar-powered, probably sank in a storm, with the crew unable to bail water in time.

The archaeologist believes “it probably held 15 to 25 men at the time whose remains may be hidden in the surrounding sediment or eaten by bacteria.”

He said he plans to leave the ship on the seabed because raising it would be expensive and necessitate taking the pint joints apart.

It was chiefly used for trading but the professor believes it may have been involved in ‘a little bit of raiding’ and probably based at one of the ancient Greek settlements on what is now the Bulgarian coast.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *