Scientists discover what they say is oldest intact shipweck

The lack of oxygen in the Black Sea had helped to preserve the wreck an archaelogist explained

"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.

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

The Black Sea MAP project has found more than 60 shipwrecks in the region, ranging from 17th century Cossack raiders to Roman trading ships.

While animals and bacteria would usually decompose a wooden shipwreck's remains within centuries, the 75-foot-long Greek shipwreck lay undisturbed for more than 2,400 years, researchers with the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project said Tuesday. But as they mapped over 770 square miles of seafloor, more than five dozen historic vessels - nearly all of them astonishingly well preserved - appeared before the cameras of their remote-controlled underwater vehicles. Carbon dating has confirmed the ship's age.

"This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world", he added.

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

The lack of oxygen in the water at the depth it was found at have meant that many features of the ship, such as the rudder, rowing benches, and some artefacts of cargo remain in a remarkably good condition. That includes a 17th-century raiding fleet launched by the Cossacks, a people who had by that time settled north of the Black Sea, near the border of modern Russian Federation and Ukraine.

"It's when the [remote operated vehicle] drops down through the water column, and you see this ship appear in the light at the bottom so perfectly preserved, it feels like you step back in time", Helen Farr, an archeologist working on the expedition, told BBC News.

Various outlets have been reporting that the British Museum is showing a two-hour documentary about the discovery today, but The Reg rang BM and a patient chap named Owen told us it was a "private screening". The Greek ship, however, may be the most incredible find of all.

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