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Ancient Mariner: World’s Oldest Shipwreck Discovered in Black Sea

According to the BBC, the vessel is similar in style to that depicted by the so-called Siren Painter on the Siren Vase which is now in the British Museum.

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Updated:October 23, 2018, 3:56 PM IST
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Ancient Mariner: World’s Oldest Shipwreck Discovered in Black Sea
Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais (Reuters)
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After lying submerged and undisturbed in the depths of the Black Sea for over 2400 Years, the intact shipwreck of what is said to be of a trading vessel of ancient Greek vintage has been discovered by an international team of archaeologists.

The Guardian reported that the 23-meter-long vessel was discovered -- with its mast, rudders and rowing benches all present and accounted for -- just over a mile below the surface. Researches explained that the lack of oxygen at that depth is what preserved its form.

While the team said it was planning to leave the wreck where it was discovered, a piece from it had been extracted and sent for carbon-dating to the University of Southampton. The results “confirmed (it) as the oldest intact shipwreck known to mankind”.

“A ship surviving intact from the classical world, lying in over 2km of water, is something I would never have believed possible,” said Professor Jon Adams, the principal investigator with the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (MAP), the team that made the find. “This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world,” he added, while speaking to the publication.

The MAP team has reportedly discovered more than 60 shipwrecks, dating back to several different eras, in the last three years. The team, comprising scientists, archaeologists and marine specialists, has been exploring the depths of the Black Sea to study the impact of pre-historic sea-level changes.

According to the BBC, the vessel is similar in style to that depicted by the so-called Siren Painter on the Siren Vase which is now in the British Museum. Dating back to around 480 BC, the vase shows Odysseus strapped to the mast as his ship sails past three mythical sea nymphs whose tune was thought to drive sailors to their deaths.

The team's research, captured in a two-hour documentary, is to be screened at the British Museum today, while data from the wreck itself will be released later this week.
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