'World's oldest shipwreck' from 400BC revealed on Black Sea bed

Greek Trading Ship More Than 2,400 Years Old Found Intact In Black Sea

A bunch of maritime archaeologists, scientists and surveyors have discovered at the bottom of the Black Sea what is thought to be the oldest intact shipwreck - at a whopping 2,400 years.

An global team of researchers including experts from the University of Southampton found the intact skeleton of the Greek trading vessel which was carbon dated to 400BC and which still has an upright mast and rowing benches.

The Black Sea has always been an important trade route between Europe and Asia, meaning it's been a hub of activity for countless cultures and civilizations, including the Greeks, Persians, Scythians, Romans, Goths, Huns, Crusaders, and Ottomans, to name but a few.

The team intends to let the vessel remain where it has been undisturbed for the past 2,400 years, though a small piece was removed for carbon dating by the University of Southampton which placed the year of the wreck at approximately 500 BC.

Over the past 600 years, Europe's Black Sea has been one of the maritime areas hit hardest by war and nationalism.

Researchers with the university's Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project led an expedition to map the floor of the sea, which touches on Bulgaria, Turkey, the Ukraine and Russian Federation, among other countries. The vase depicts Homer's epic hero Odysseus, tied to the ship's mast in order to resist the sirens' songs. The find could drastically alter our understanding of 'ancient shipbuilding and seafaring'.

Professor John Adams and the University of Southampton helped led the expedition, which also had GCSE students from disadvantaged schools on board. The ship was a trading vessel so could contain grain, gold, wine, oil or priceless metalwork. Over the course of three years, the team discovered over 60 shipwrecks, ranging from vessels from the Classical period to a 17th-century Cossack raiding fleet.

The expansive project is the subject of a new two-hour documentary, premiering tonight at the British Museum, which is hoped to be broadcasted by networks across the world.

Archaeologists believe they have found the world's oldest intact shipwreck.

Dr Kroum Batchvarov who worked on the project said: "It is the first of its kind, an absolutely incredible find, it is unique".

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