Shipwreck Discovered In The Black Sea Believed To Be 'Oldest Ever'

An ancient Greek ship has been discovered in excellent condition by a team of researchers in the Black Sea.

The team, which is comprised of members from the UK and Bulgaria, discovered the ship lying on the floor of the sea more than two kilometres below the sea. Their discovery has been hailed as the world's oldest shipwreck that is completely intact.

It is thought that the ship could be around 2,400 years old.

The lack of oxygen in the water at the depth it was found at have meant that many features of the ship, such as the rudder, rowing benches, and some artefacts of cargo remain in a remarkably good condition.

Credit: Black Sea MAP/EEF Expeditions
Credit: Black Sea MAP/EEF Expeditions

The depth that it lies at has also meant that it is beyond the reach of divers, and therefore has lain untouched for millennia.

The ship is thought to be a trading vessel and was discovered by a team from the Black Sea Marine Archaeology Project (MAP) that has been searching and surveying the length and breadth of the Black Sea, uncovering 60 wrecks so far.

Whilst the team plan to leave the ship where it is, they did take a piece of it to send to the University of Southampton.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Scientists at the university performed tests on the material and - according to the team - have "confirmed [it] as the oldest intact shipwreck known to mankind"

The principal investigator on the project, Professor Jon Adams, told The Guardian: "A ship surviving intact from the classical world, lying in over 2km of water, is something I would never have believed possible,

"This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world."

Professor Jon Adams. Credit: PA
Professor Jon Adams. Credit: PA

The shape and design of the ship bear great similarities to that of a ship seen on the famous 'Siren Vase' that resides in the British Museum.

The vase depicts a vessel that looks strikingly similar to the Black Sea ship taking Odysseus past the song of the sirens - creatures who entice sailors to their death by singing to them - as the mythological hero is lashed to the mast so as to resist their temptations

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The project has been a great success so far, with significant finds including a Roman ship, as well as a more modern (by comparison) 17th Century Cossack boat.

Of this latest find, Helen Farr, from the expedition, told the BBC: "It's like another world,

"It's when the ROV [remote operated vehicle] drops down through the water column and you see this ship appear in the light at the bottom so perfectly preserved it feels like you step back in time."

Featured Image Credit: Black Sea MAP/EEF Expeditions/PA

Tom Wood

Tom Wood is a freelance journalist and LADbible contributor. He graduated from University of London with a BA in Philosophy before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. He has previously written for the M.E.N Group as well as working for several top professional sports clubs. Contact him on [email protected]

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