World's Oldest Intact Shipwreck Found in Mile-Deep Waters Off Bulgarian Coast

World's oldest intact shipwreck discovered in Black Sea

World's oldest ever shipwreck is discovered in Black Sea

The ambitious project, which includes maritime archaeologists, scientists and surveyors, aims to unlock the mysteries of the Black Sea.

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.

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.

"A ship, surviving intact, from the Classical world, lying in over two kilometres of water, is something I would never have believed possible", the project's main investigator, Jon Adams from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, said in a statement.

"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) in a press release. It was discovered more than 80km off the Bulgarian city of Burgas.

The team found a Greek trading vessel during a survey in 2017.

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The artefact shows Odysseus, hero of Homer's epic poem The Odyssey, bound to the mast of a vessel as Sirens circle overhead, trying to lure sailors on to the rocks with their enchanting songs.

"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.

The Greek trading ship was the oldest of dozens of shipwrecks that were discovered off the coast of Bulgaria during the three-year project, which the team claims is the biggest effort of its kind.

The water at that depth is oxygen-free, meaning that organic material can be preserved for thousands of years.

The preservation is so incredible that the bones of the monkfish being eaten by the crew at the time the ship went down have been perfectly preserved on the deck.

A documentary on the project will open Tuesday at the British Museum. Their discovery has been hailed as the world's oldest shipwreck that is completely intact.

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