The World’s Oldest Intact Shipwreck has Just Been Found

The ship has remained two kilometers beneath the surface for more than 2,400 years.

A 2,400-year-old ‘Odysseus’ Greek trading vessel has been discovered at the bottom of the Black Sea, off the coast of Bulgaria, becoming the oldest intact shipwreck known to date.

Thousands of years ago, the ship encountered a storm which caused it to sink, remaining hidden beneath the surface of the Dead Sea, more than two kilometers beneath the surface.

The discovery of the 23-meter vessel took experts by surprise who came across it after exploring the area with an underwater drone, operated by British Scientists.

The ship closely resembles the design of a ship that decorates ancient Greek wine glasses.

The rudder, the rowing benches and even the contents of its hold remain intact.

In the deep waters of the Black Sea, a remotely operated vehicle illuminates a wreck dating to the Ottoman era. Image Credit: Black Sea Map
In the deep waters of the Black Sea, a remotely operated vehicle illuminates a wreck dating to the Ottoman era. Image Credit: Black Sea Map

The reason why the ship, which dates back to around 400 BC, has remained in such good condition for so long is that the water that surrounds it is anoxic or oxygen free.

Located more than 2,000 meters below the surface, it is also out of reach of divers.

The team used two underwater robotic drones to plot a 3D image of the ship and took a sample to determine its age.

So far, the ship’s cargo remains unknown and the team says it needs more funds to return to the site.

“Normally we find amphorae (wine vases) and can guess where it’s come from, but with this, it’s still in the hold,” Dr. Helen Farr, member of the expedition told BBC News

“As archaeologists, we’re interested in what it can tell us about technology, trade, and movements in the area.”

Over the course of three years of research, the Black Sea MAP academic expedition has discovered 67 shipwrecks, including Roman merchant ships and a seventeenth-century Cossack commercial fleet.

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Shipwreck found in Black Sea is 'world's oldest intact'
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