Marine archaeologists from the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (Black Sea MAP) have discovered the 2,400-year-old intact shipwreck of an ancient Greek vessel on the floor of the Black Sea.
During the life of the Black Sea MAP project over 60 shipwrecks — varying in age from a 17th century Cossack raiding fleet, through Roman trading vessels complete with amphorae to a complete ship from the Classical period — were found.
It was during the most recent phase in 2017 that the archaeologists discovered a 75-foot (23 m) long Greek trading vessel.
The ancient ship lies in over 1.2 miles (2 km) of water deep in the Black Sea where the water is anoxic (oxygen free), which can preserve organic material for thousands of years.
“A ship, surviving intact, from the Classical world, lying in over 1.2 miles of water, is something I would never have believed possible,” said Black Sea MAP principal investigator Professor Jon Adams, from the University of Southampton, UK.
“This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world.”
In addition to the discovery of the shipwrecks, the researchers excavated the remains of an early Bronze Age settlement at Ropotamo in Bulgaria, near what was the ancient shoreline when the sea level was much lower than today.
As the waters rose, the settlement was abandoned and now the remains of house timbers, hearths and ceramics lie 8 feet (2.5 m) below the seabed.
The valley in which the village had lain became a sheltered bay visited by Greek colonists of the Archaic period, then a harbor for early Byzantine seafarers and finally an anchorage used by the Ottomans.