Oldest intact shipwreck known to mankind found in Black Sea

24 October, 2018, 01:47 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • The ship is similar to that depicted on an ancient vase

The ship was found roughly a mile underwater near the Bulgarian coastline and appears to be a Greek trading vessel similar to the design on the British Museum's famed "Siren Vase" artifact.

The recently discovered shipwreck reveals details that are similar to the ship on this famed Ancient Greek vase, which dates to the 5th century B.C. and depicts Odysseus tied to the mast to fearless the sirens.

The ambitious project, which includes maritime archaeologists, scientists and surveyors, aims to unlock the mysteries of the Black Sea.

The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project says the intact shipwreck was discovered at a depth of more than one mile, where the scarcity of oxygen helped preserve the ancient vessel. Scientists have now carbon dated the shipwreck to 400BC.

"A ship, surviving intact, from the Classical world, lying in over two kilometres of water, is something I would never have believed possible", said Professor Jon Adams from the University of Southampton in southern England, the project's main investigator.

The team reportedly said they meant 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".

File photo - Stamnos (vase) depicting Odysseus tied to the mast listening to the songs of the Sirens, Greece.

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The ship is thought to have been used as a trading vessel.

The lack of oxygen in the water at the depth it was found at have meant that many features of the ship, such as the rudder, rowing benches, and some artefacts of cargo remain in a remarkably good condition.

"Normally we find amphorae (wine vases) and can guess where it's come from, but with this it's still in the hold", Helen Farr, of the expedition, told the BBC.

The team is releasing a documentary on its findings Tuesday at the British Museum, offering a glimpse into what archaeologist Fredrik Hiebert called "an incredibly rich museum of human history".

"The Black Sea is considered to be one of the world's finest under water laboratories", the team wrote on its website.

Dr Kroum Batchvarov who worked on the project said: "It is the first of its kind, an absolutely incredible find, it is unique".

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