Archaeologists Discover World’s Oldest Unbroken Shipwreck

Archaeologists have found an unbroken shipwreck at the bottom of the Black Sea and they believe it to be the world’s oldest undamaged shipwreck. It emerges to have stretched out intact for more than 2,400 years.

The 23-metre (75ft) vessel seems to be ancient Greek which was discovered with its flagpole, rudders and rowing benches all present and correct just over a mile beneath the surface. The researchers said that a lack of oxygen at that depth sealed it.

Professor Jon Adams, the principal investigator with the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (MAP) said that he never thought that it’s possible to find a ship present unbroken from the traditional world, lying in over 2km of water. He further said that this will change their perceptive of shipbuilding and ocean-going in the prehistoric world.

The ship is believed to have been a trading vessel of a type that researchers say has only previously been seen “on the side of ancient Greek pottery such as the ‘Siren Vase’ in the British Museum”.

That work, which dates from about the same period, illustrates a similar vessel bearing Odysseus past the sirens, with the Homeric hero lashed to the flagpole to oppose their songs.

The team apparently said they planned to leave the vessel where it was found. The University of Southampton added a small carbon dated piece on the vessel and claimed the results “confirmed [it] as the oldest intact shipwreck known to mankind”. The team said the data would be published at the Black Sea MAP conference at the Wellcome Collection in London.

It was between more than 60 shipwrecks found by the international team of maritime archaeologists, scientists and marine surveyors, which has been on a three-year mission to discover the depths of the Black Sea to achieve a bigger understanding of the impact of prehistoric sea-level changes.


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