Scientists discover what they say is oldest intact shipweck

The ship is similar to that depicted on an ancient vase

Image The ship is similar to that depicted on an ancient vase

The Greek merchant ship is just one of more than 60 wrecks in the Black Sea discovered by an worldwide team of maritime archaeologists, scientists, and surveyors over the past three years.

They found a Greek trading vessel whose design had previously been seen only on ancient pottery.

This shipwreck is on the floor of the Black Sea.

Researchers stated that the oxygen-free water had helped preserve the vessel.

The team reportedly said they meant to leave the vessel where it was found, but added that a small piece had been carbon dated by the University of Southampton and claimed the results "confirmed [it] as the oldest intact shipwreck known to mankind".

The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (Black Sea MAP) is a joint venture involving experts from the United Kingdom and Bulgaria. The group says ships of the design they found last year had previously only been found in artwork such as the Siren Vase, an artifact dated several decades earlier than the ship.

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"This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world", said research project team member Jon Adams.

The vase depicts a scene from The Odyssey, in which Odysseus is strapped to the mast as he passes the deadly sirens.

Southampton University joined efforts with the Julia and Hans Rausing Trust, Bulgaria's Centre for Underwater Archaeology in Sozopol, Sweden's Södertörn University in Stockholm, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and America's University of CT.

The team, which includes British, Bulgarian, Swedish, US and Greek marine archaeologists and maritime scientists, said the vessel was found at a depth of more than 2km.

Dr Dragomir Garbov, a maritime archaeologist working on the project, explained that numerous shipwrecks "literally look as if they had sunk yesterday". 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 Greek ship, however, may be the most incredible find of all.

The team that made the discovery have also made a two hour-long documentary that is due to be shown at the British Museum on Tuesday.

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