Treasures of gold, oil, wine, and ancient metalwork might be still hidden in the oldest complete shipwreck ever found in the entire world! Marine archaeologists teamed together and discovered this amazing vessel in Europe’s Black Sea. The team of researchers from all over the world found the intact skeleton of a Greek vessel and using carbon dating, they realized they were looking at an ancient ship!
What kept this old ship from disintegrating after thousands of years? What makes this ship to be the greatest discovery ever? Let us find out from the archaeologists who uncovered it!
20. THE BLACK SEA SHIPWRECK
It all started with an international team of scientists, researchers and marine archaeologists that knew the Black Sea must hide impressive vestiges of the past. The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology team had no idea that among the shipwrecks discovered so far, they would find the oldest one in the world!
19. THE OLDEST KNOWN VESSEL
When ships are broken, the cargo is lost and floats on currents or is scattered around the vessel. However, this ship was found intact, so it might still contain some of the cargo! As researchers looked closer at the vessel, they realized it looked similar to a ship found on the Siren Vase in the British Museum.
18. THE ODYSSEY
The wreck which is 23m (75ft) long has a familiar design that has only been seen on Greek pottery of that time. The vase shows Odysseus, the hero of Homer’s Odyssey, who was bound on the mast of the vessel and Sirens circling over the ship, luring the sailors to the rocks.
17. THE SUNKEN TREASURE
As we mentioned before, the team of archaeologists believes that since the vessel looks intact, the goods in the hold should still be there. They are now raising funds to return back to the site and uncover the sunken treasure. What could this ship contain? Here’s what the experts say…
16. AN INCREDIBLE FIND
A marine archaeologist (University of Southampton), Dr. Helen Farr, stated that they usually find vases as the one showed before, but in this case, they should be able to find more in the ship.
“Normally we find amphorae (wine vases) and can guess where it’s come from, but with this it’s still in the hold.” And that’s not all they would find!
15. A TRADING SHIP
Because this ship was designed like a trading vessel, experts think that the cargo could contain grain, gold, wine, oil, or precious items made from metal.
“It’s absolutely incredible. It’s to do with the preservation, we have bits of shipwreck that are earlier but this is intact, it’s lying on its side it’s got its mast, its rudders, it’s just not something you see everyday,” added Farr.
14. LEARNING ABOUT THE PAST
The ship is intact because of the Black Sea, explains Farr. The sea is anoxic, which means that 150 meters under the water there is no oxygen or no living being. That means that there are no bacteria that would degrade the wood. Here is what this shipwreck could reveal to archaeologists…
13. DIVERS FINDING ARTIFACTS
“As archaeologists we’re interested in what it can tell us about technology, trade and movements in the area,” added Farr. This vessel should be one of the many trading ships that would regularly journey through the seas to provide Greek colonies with supplies. Just 50 miles away from Burgas, Bulgaria, divers would stumble upon this vessel…
12. AN ANCIENT GREEK SHIP
Researchers surveyed 772 square miles (2,000 sq km) of seabed using a remote-operated vehicle to find ancient ships, and they indeed got lucky! They found over 60 shipwrecks, but none of them were in such a great condition. Farr said that they saw “this ship appear in the light at the bottom so perfectly preserved.”
11. PERFECTLY PRESERVED
Looking at this exquisite vessel, it really makes you feel like you are taking a step back in time. Among the ships found, there were also Roman trading ships and even a Cossack raiding fleet from the 17th century. However, the most recent work started at the end of 2017, when cameras revealed the Ancient Greek ship…
10. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!
According to Professor John Adams, who was among the leaders of the expedition, this discovery is impossible: “A ship, surviving intact, from the Classical world, lying in over 2km of water, is something I would never have believed possible.”
Yet here it is, keeping its original shape after thousands of years, lying at the bottom of the sea.
9. CHANGING OUR NOTION ON SHIPBUILDING
You can see the mast and rudder in the photos. The team inspected the entire vessel and even made 3D printed versions to better understand it.
“This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world,” concluded Adams.
8. THE WORLD’S OLDEST SHIPWRECK
This ship was carbon dated, and scientists found that it is from 400BC, making it officially the oldest shipwreck ever found, and in a great condition. The ship’s cargo remains to be uncovered as well in the future, and archaeologists also hope to discover one more thing…
7. THE SHIP WILL REMAIN UNDERWATER
Adams explains that the ship must remain on the seabed because raising it to the surface would not only be very expensive, but it would also require them to take some of it apart. They will have to dive and collect samples too because archaeologists think that at the time it was destroyed, it had about 15-25 men aboard!
6. USED ONLY FOR TRADING?
The remains of the crew could be hidden in the sediment that surrounds the vessel if it wasn’t eaten by bacteria, explained experts.
Looking at the drawings and the videos, they also saw that the ship was powered by both sails and oar. But was it only used for trading?
5. ANCIENT GREEK SETTLEMENTS
The professor believes that, even though this ship was mainly used for trading, it could have also been used for “a little bit of raiding” of the cities on the coast.
The base of this ship was probably on today’s Bulgarian coast, where there should have been an ancient Greek settlement.
4. THE “BLUE PLANET”
Andy Byatt, the producer that worked on David Attenborough BBC series ‘Blue Planet,’ saw the footage and the photos of the discovery and said that they “have all been blown away by the remarkable finds that Professor Adams and his team have made,” adding the following…
3. A HIDDEN WORLD
Byatt explained that the “quality of the footage revealing this hidden world is absolutely unique.” And that is because many of the vessels found so far are almost 1,300 years old, but this one is four centuries BC old!
2. THE LOCATION IS SECRET
This vessel was found last year in October, and it is from the Byzantine period. As for the details and locations of all the wrecks, they are being kept secret so that nobody disturbs them.
1. A PEEK INTO THE PAST
The main goal of the project is to perform geophysical surveys. However, these shipwrecks, including this one, which dates back to the Ottoman period, can give researchers new insights on how people on the coast of the Black Sea lived back in history.