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World’s Oldest Intact Shipwreck Discovered at the Bottom of Black Sea

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Archaeologists confirmed the boat sank more than 2,400 years ago, and has lain undisturbed ever since.

Since 2015, Jon Adams is a Professor of the University of Southampton in England. He has been leading a number of expeditions in previously unexplored areas of the Black Sea, covering over 800 miles of the seafloor.
Their main purpose was to discover the trail of a long forgotten era, with getting insights on the life of ancient communities.

Professor Adams (tallest, grey-haired man in the middle) and his researcher team. Source: blackseamap.com

The complete expedition brought success beyond expectations.
The team found more than 60 shipwrecks, small and big. Most of them were preserved in an extraordinary good condition, due to the lack of oxygen at that depth. The wrecks date back to the 17th century, or even all the way back to the Hellenistic and Roman era, from complete raiding fleets to ancient trading vessels.

Each of the findings is a unique historical gem, revealing structural features and fittings specific to the era they were built in; however, during the 3rd season of the mission, in late 2017, sea researchers have found a real treasure: a 23-meter (75ft) vessel. What made it so special? Its age and that it remained perfectly preserved. It has sunken all the way to the bottom 2,400 years ago, still, even its mast and rowing benches were intact.

Discovering the shipwreck with a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). Source: Blackseamap.com

Scientists saw such type of ships only on antique pieces of art before, like on the ‘Siren Vase’ that illustrates Odysseus and the sirens. The ship is believed to have been a trading vessel, that most likely got caught in a heavy storm and its crew of 15 to 25 men couldn’t bail the water quickly enough from the board.

3D recreation of the shipwreck with the key data. Source: BBC.com

The assumptions of its age got soon proven by a carbon dating test. “An ancient ship surviving perfectly preserved so that its mast and rowing benches were still intact, lying in over 2 km (1.5 miles) under the sea, is something I would never have believed possible,” said Adams Professor. “This will change our complete knowledge and understanding of shipbuilding in the ancient world.”

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