World's oldest intact shipwreck found
The world’s oldest complete shipwreck – a Greek merchant vessel – may be hiding ancient treasures of gold, wine and metalwork, experts say.
A joint UK-Bulgarian expedition found the 2400-year-old boat lying on its side off the coast of Bulgaria, in the Black Sea, reports the UK Telegraph.
The 23-metre long ship which was carbon dated to 400BC retains its upright mast and rowing seats.
The cargo aboard sunken ships usually drifts away on currents or ends up strewn around the wreck. But marine archaeologist think the goods remain in the hold and are aiming to raise funds to return to the site for a treasure hunt.
"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.
“It’s absolutely incredible. It’s to do with the preservation.
“We have bits of shipwreck that are earlier but this is intact, it’s lying on its side it’s got its mast, its rudders, it’s just not something you see every day.”
The wreck was discovered lying more than 2000 metres below the surface – beyond the range of divers.
It’s well preserved condition is due to the Black Sea water being free of oxygen beyond a depth of 150 metres.
In this environment, wood-degrading bacteria is unable to survive.
The vessel was typical of Greek trading ships that sailed the Black Sea coast to supply the empire’s colonies.
It was one of 60 wrecks uncovered by a survey spanning 2,000 square kilometres using remote-controlled underwaters cameras.
Archaeologists say the ship’s design is depicted on Greek pottery from the period such as the Siren Vase in the British Museum that dates to about 480BC.