This is the world's oldest intact shipwreck

More than a mile below the surface of the Black Sea, researchers have found a ship so old they never expecte...

Posted: Oct 26, 2018 10:28 AM
Updated: Oct 26, 2018 10:28 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.

Accidents

Accidents, disasters and safety

History and historical discoveries

Humanities and social sciences

Ship and boat accidents

Anthropology and archeology

Black Sea

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Marine transportation

Marine vessels

Oceans and Seas (by name)

Physical locations

Transportation and warehousing

"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."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 49575

Reported Deaths: 2739
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11812690
Lake5337247
Elkhart343257
Allen2867133
St. Joseph202569
Cass16439
Hamilton1629101
Hendricks1439100
Johnson1306118
Porter78038
Tippecanoe7439
Clark67144
Madison66864
Vanderburgh6296
LaPorte59727
Bartholomew59245
Howard58258
Kosciusko5654
Marshall5217
Noble49128
LaGrange4829
Jackson4773
Delaware46052
Boone45944
Hancock45736
Shelby43425
Floyd39144
Morgan32831
Monroe31528
Grant30226
Montgomery29720
Henry29316
Dubois2906
Clinton2882
White26810
Decatur25532
Lawrence25125
Dearborn24723
Vigo2408
Warrick23229
Harrison21722
Greene19132
Miami1892
Jennings17912
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess15017
Wayne1496
Perry1409
Orange13623
Steuben1332
Franklin1278
Jasper1252
Ripley1247
Wabash1152
Carroll1122
Fayette1037
Gibson1032
Newton9910
Whitley995
Starke963
Huntington822
Randolph804
Wells791
Jefferson782
Fulton731
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox650
Clay644
Rush603
Owen511
Adams491
Posey490
Benton480
Spencer461
Sullivan451
Brown421
Blackford392
Fountain332
Crawford320
Tipton311
Switzerland280
Parke240
Martin220
Ohio210
Vermillion170
Warren151
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 61331

Reported Deaths: 3006
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin11122439
Cuyahoga8518383
Hamilton6396206
Lucas2859304
Marion273739
Montgomery228335
Summit2269209
Pickaway220641
Mahoning1885239
Butler172147
Columbiana132460
Stark1171114
Lorain107368
Trumbull101474
Warren91825
Clark78410
Delaware64515
Fairfield61417
Tuscarawas59010
Belmont55822
Lake55122
Medina54832
Licking53612
Miami48631
Portage47759
Wood46151
Ashtabula43844
Clermont4367
Geauga41543
Wayne36752
Richland3595
Allen33841
Greene3009
Mercer29410
Erie26022
Darke25326
Holmes2524
Huron2342
Madison2069
Ottawa16124
Sandusky14215
Washington14220
Crawford1375
Ross1363
Putnam13315
Coshocton1323
Hardin12312
Morrow1201
Auglaize1094
Jefferson952
Muskingum921
Union921
Athens911
Monroe8917
Hancock841
Preble811
Hocking798
Lawrence790
Guernsey763
Shelby724
Williams722
Clinton700
Logan661
Fulton650
Ashland621
Wyandot615
Carroll603
Brown591
Scioto560
Defiance543
Knox531
Fayette510
Highland471
Champaign461
Van Wert430
Perry401
Seneca362
Henry320
Jackson270
Paulding270
Pike270
Adams241
Vinton222
Gallia201
Noble130
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Angola
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Huntington
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 69°
Decatur
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Van Wert
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 70°
Breezy, Sunny Saturday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events