The World’s Oldest Intact Shipwreck, ‘Odysseus’ Ship,’ Was Discovered In The Black Sea
Archaeologists have discovered what they believe to be the oldest intact shipwreck in the world at the Black Sea where it seems to have lain undisturbed for over 2,400 years.
The 23-meter (75-foot) vessel, thought to be ancient Greek, was found with all its mast, rudders and rowing benches present and correct only over a mile below the surface. A lack of oxygen at this depth preserved it, according to the researchers.
According to Professor Jon Adams, the principal investigator with the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (MAP):
“A ship surviving intact from the classical world, lying in over 2km of water, is something I would never have believed possible. This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world.”
The ship is thought to have been a trading vessel of a type which researchers say has just previously been seen “on the side of ancient Greek pottery such as the ‘Siren Vase’ in the British Museum.”
The work dates from the same period and shows a similar vessel bearing Odysseus past the sirens, with the Homeric hero lashing to the mast to resist their captivating songs.
The team said that they intended to leave the vessel where it was discovered, but added that a tiny piece had been carbon dated by the University of Southampton and claimed the results confirmed the ship was the oldest intact shipwreck known. They also said that the data would be published at the Black Sea MAP conference at the Wellcome Collection in London.
It was among over 60 shipwrecks discovered by the international group of maritime archaeologists, scientists, and marine surveyors, that has been on a three-year mission to explore the depths of the Black Sea to have a better understanding of the impact of prehistoric sea-level changes.