2400yo Greek ship found intact at bottom of Black Sea

The ship is similar to that depicted on an ancient vase

An ancient Greek trading ship dating back more than 2400 years has been found virtually intact at the bottom of the Black Sea, researchers say.

Researchers on the project have mapped the ship using a pair of remotely operated vehicles and it lies at such an extreme dept (1.2 miles down) that the team says it is beyond the reach of modern divers.

It's well preserved condition is due to the Black Sea water being free of oxygen beyond a depth of 150 metres.

The vessel was one of many tracking between the Mediterranean and Greek colonies on the Black Sea coast. The vase depicts Homer's epic hero Odysseus, tied to the ship's mast in order to resist the sirens' songs. The ship isn't expected to continue deteriorating giving the team time to find funding and continue studying it. And on Tuesday, European researchers revealed some stunning details about a period when Greek ships crossed the Bosporus strait, loaded with goods to trade and risking storms and natural disasters.

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"It gives us a completely new insight into the shipbuilding and seafaring of the ancient world", said Adams.

The ship, laying more than a mile below the surface of the Black Sea, appears to be of the same construction. More than 60 other wrecks have also been uncovered.

As a result, there is an extraordinary opportunity for preservation, including shipwrecks and the cargoes they carried.

The Black Sea is a 700-mile-wide body of water on the eastern fringes of Europe, bordered by Romania and Bulgaria in the east, Turkey in the south, and Ukraine and Russian Federation in the north. The contents of the hold are still unknown, making it a bit more hard to determine where the ship was going or where exactly it originated.

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"Normally we find amphorae (wine vases) and can guess where it's come from, but with this it's still in the hold", said Dr Helen Farr, a marine archaeologist from the University of Southampton, which was part of the expedition. And the Black Sea is fed by freshwater from the surrounding land, which floats on top of the saltier water closer to the bottom.

Over the course of three years they have found 67 wrecks including Roman trading ships and a 17th-century Cossack trading fleet.

"So there's no life down there, apart from bacteria that can metabolize without oxygen", said Adams.

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