The wreck has been described by experts as the world's "oldest intact shipwreck" (Black Sea MAP/EEF Expeditions).
Researchers have discovered what they say is the world’s oldest intact shipwreck at the bottom of the Black Sea.
The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project says it found the wreck of the Greek trading vessel off the coast of Bulgaria at a depth of 1.2 miles. Experts have spent three years surveying over 772 square miles of the Black Sea in a search for shipwrecks.
"A ship, surviving intact, from the Classical world, lying in over 2km of water, is something I would never have believed possible," said project co-lead Professor Jon Adams of the U.K.'s University of Southampton, in a statement. "This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world."
Oxygen-free conditions in the water have preserved the ship, which the group says has been carbon dated to more than 2,400 years ago. "The Black Sea is considered to be one of the world’s finest underwater laboratories due to the anoxic (un-oxygenated) layer which preserves artifacts better than any other marine environment," explains the Project, on its website. The conditions can preserve material for thousands of years.
The vessel’s design had previously been seen only on ancient Greek pottery, such as the "Siren Vase" in the British Museum in London.
File photo - Stamnos (vase) depicting Odysseus tied to the mast listening to the songs of the Sirens, Greece. Ancient Greek. c 480 BC. Athens. (Photo by Werner Forman/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)
The shipwreck was discovered during late 2017, archaeologists confirmed Tuesday.
The ambitious project, which includes maritime archaeologists, scientists and surveyors, aims to unlock the mysteries of the Black Sea.
More than 65 shipwrecks discovered beneath the Black Sea going back over a 2,500 year timeline - from the time of Aristotle to more recent times- Professor Jon Adams @unisouthampton @sotonarch @BlackSeaMAP9:19 AM - Oct 23, 2018
Experts have used technology previously available largely to oil companies in their research. It has discovered over 60 shipwrecks, including a 17th-century Cossack raiding fleet and Roman trading vessels carrying amphorae.
A documentary on the project has opened at the British Museum in London on Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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