This is the world's oldest intact shipwreck

A wreck discovered on the Black Sea floor in 2017 is over 2,400 years old. Scientists say it was used as a Greek trading vessel.

Posted: Nov 19, 2018 6:20 AM
Updated: Nov 19, 2018 6:31 AM

More than a mile below the surface of the Black Sea, researchers have found a ship so old they never expected to see one like it.

The members of the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project successfully radiocarbon dated a small piece of the ship to 400 BC. That makes this the oldest intact shipwreck ever discovered.

"A ship, surviving intact, from the Classical world, lying in over 2 kilometers of water, is something I would never have believed possible," said University of Southampton professor Jon Adams, the Black Sea MAP's principal investigator. "This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world."

The ship was a Greek trading vessel, which researchers matched to ancient Greek pottery like the "Siren Vase," on display at the British Museum.

"There are ships down there that have never been seen apart from in murals and paintings and in books, and this is the first time they have been seen since they were afloat," said Edward Parker, CEO of Black Sea MAP.

Over the last three years, the global group of researchers have used remotely operated underwater vehicle surveyors, equipped with high-resolution cameras, flashes and lasers to map the floor of the Black Sea. The kind of technology they used has previously only been available for oil, gas and renewable energy companies.

"The purpose of the entire project is to study sea level rise throughout the past 10,000 years through the perspective of human societies that lived along the shores of the Black Sea and the way that humans reacted to a changing environment," said Dragomir Garbov, team member and maritime archaeologist at the Centre for Underwater Archaeology. "We have discovered fantastic evidence for seafaring in the Black Sea."

Overall, they have found more than 60 shipwrecks, including a 17th-century Cossack raiding fleet and Roman trading vessels still laden with goods. The ships that sank here are from multiple locations because of trade routes.

The Greek ship is remarkably well-preserved because the depths of the Black Sea lack oxygen.

"We have a complete vessel with the mast still standing with the quarter rudders in place," said team member Kroum Batchvarov, assistant professor of maritime archaeology at the University of Connecticut's anthropology department and the Maritime Studies Program. "It is [an] incredible find. The first of its kind ever. We even have the coils of rope still as the bosun left them in the stern when the ship went down."

They were even able to recover medieval rope from a ship.

"We're talking entirely preserved shipwrecks that literally look as if they had sunk yesterday," Garbov said. "We're looking at a snapshot of a moment in time, probably as long as a thousand years ago. We're looking at the last moment in the life of a ship."

The ship itself will stay on the sea floor, where it can remain preserved. The data gathered by the remotely operated underwater vehicles was sent to 3-D printers, which were able to create a small-scale replica of the wreck. This will enable future generations with even better technology to use their skills to learn even more about the ship, according to Dani Newman, the team's primary science mentor.

"This shows how amazing our maritime heritage is," Newman said. "It really is the story of all of us, of how we got to where we are in this world."

But the team has found more than just ships, including an early Bronze Age settlement at Ropotamo in Bulgaria, which is now more than 8 feet below the seabed itself. When the sea level was lower, this would have been the ancient shoreline -- likely abandoned when the water rose. House timbers, ceramics and hearths were found.

"We've discovered where the Paleo landscape was in about 9000 BC," Parker said. "That's where men and women were living, and now its buried under the sea."

The team believes what they can learn from these ships could fill in some of history's gaps.

"We the archaeologists are in the role of Sherlock Holmes," said Batchvarov. "We're gathering the clues, and the more accurately we gather them and the relationship between the clues, the more probable it is for us to reverse-engineer what happened."

Huntsville
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 69°
Florence
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 71°
Fayetteville
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 66°
Decatur
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 66°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 63°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 22566

Reported Deaths: 364
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Davidson504062
Shelby4943111
Trousdale13924
Rutherford119623
Sumner88145
Hamilton79415
Bledsoe6071
Williamson55210
Putnam4795
Robertson4653
Tipton4423
Out of TN4184
Lake4140
Wilson4078
Knox3755
Bedford2834
Montgomery2693
Rhea2100
Hardeman1960
Madison1752
Loudon1430
McMinn14114
Macon1363
Cheatham1230
Bradley1221
Fayette1152
Cumberland1121
Dickson1090
Unassigned920
Blount913
Maury890
Sevier812
Washington750
Coffee730
Wayne640
Gibson631
Monroe622
Sullivan602
Hickman580
Lauderdale561
Franklin531
Greene502
Dyer500
Marion401
Anderson401
DeKalb370
Hamblen362
Smith341
White330
Hawkins332
Lawrence310
Grundy311
Haywood312
Marshall311
Obion301
Henry300
Jefferson280
Carroll271
Overton260
Meigs260
Weakley260
Lincoln250
Warren230
Cannon210
Perry210
Cocke200
Carter191
Campbell181
Morgan170
Jackson170
Crockett162
Roane160
Polk160
Johnson160
Henderson150
Hardin152
Sequatchie150
Humphreys131
Fentress120
McNairy120
Chester120
Giles120
Scott120
Stewart110
Claiborne90
Houston80
Grainger80
Clay70
Benton71
Decatur50
Unicoi40
Union40
Van Buren40
Lewis30
Pickett30
Moore30
Hancock10

 

 

Community Events