Archaeologists believe they have found the world’s oldest intact shipwreck. Discovered at the bottom of the Black Sea, the 75-foot-long vessel has been lying in wait for more than 2,400 years.
Assumed to be a Greek trading vessel, the ship was so well preserved because it was buried deep in the Black Sea in anoxic (oxygen-deprived) water. Without oxygen corroding the wooden hull, the ship has remained more or less the same since it sank around 400 BCE. Researchers are stunned that its rowing benches, rudders, and mast are all intact.
“A ship, surviving intact, from the Classical world, lying in over 2km of water, is something I would never have believed possible,” said University of Southampton Professor Jon Adams, the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project’s principal investigator, in a press statement. “This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world.”
The ship’s design tipped off researchers to its ancient origin. The build is one only previously seen in Greek pottery like the famed “Siren’s Vase,” currently located in the British Museum. Carbon dating has confirmed the ship’s age.
The Black Sea MAP project has found more than 60 shipwrecks in the region, ranging from 17th century Cossack raiders to Roman trading ships. Currently in its fourth year, the project greatly added to the depth and understanding of ancient maritime life. Organizers plan to screen a two-hour documentary about this latest find at the British Museum.