Team finds world′s oldest intact shipwreck in Black Sea | News | DW | 23.10.2018
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Team finds world's oldest intact shipwreck in Black Sea

Marine archaeologists have discovered the intact shipwreck of an ancient Greek trading ship on the floor of the Black Sea. The vessel is thought to be the oldest ever to be found in one piece.

Ältestes Schiffswrack gefunden (picture-alliance/empics/D. Parry)

Professor Jon Adams of The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology project

The British-led team, which has been scouring the sea floor off Bulgaria for the past three years, on Tuesday said it had found a 2,400-year-old Greek ship intact on the sea bed.

Carbon dating was used to confirm the vessel's age, and that it was the oldest known intact shipwreck. The wreck was found at a depth of more than 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) where the water has no oxygen — meaning that organic material can be preserved for thousands of years.

The design used to construct the ship was previously only seen in pictures on Greek pottery.

Team leader John Adams, from the University of Southampton, said researchers could learn a lot from the find.

"A ship, surviving intact, from the Classical world, lying in over 2 kilometers of water, is something I would never have believed possible," Adams said. "This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world."

New search methods

The team, which includes British, Bulgarian, Greek, Swedish and US marine researchers, used geophysics, sediment core sampling and underwater exploration to study changes in sea level after the last ice age.

Read more: Australia's first submarine found after vanishing in WWI

The project has taken three years and used technology — including specialist deep water camera systems — that was only previously available to oil companies. The researchers discovered some 60 shipwrecks in all, including a 17th century Cossack raiding fleet and Roman trading vessels loaded with amphorae — pot containers used to carry goods.

An early Bronze Age settlement was also found near a former shore of the sea.

rc/msh (dpa, AFP, AP)

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