The world's oldest intact shipwreck has been found at the bottom of the Black Sea - where it had been laying undisturbed for more than 2,400 years, archaeologists said Tuesday.
The shipwreck design also bears a resemblance to the vessel depicted on the "Siren Vase", which dates back to around 480BC, now displayed at the British Museum. In water that deep, oxygen is hard to come by, and because of that, so too are the organic processes that help drive decomposition.
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".
Professor John Adams, Black Sea Map's principal investigator said: "A ship surviving intact from the Classical world, lying in over 2km, is something I would have never believed possible". The find could drastically alter our understanding of 'ancient shipbuilding and seafaring'.
The ship is thought to be a trading vessel and was discovered by a team from the Black Sea Marine Archaeology Project (MAP) that has been searching and surveying the length and breadth of the Black Sea, uncovering 60 wrecks so far. The team believes that some of the ships were once operated by the Romans, with other vessels dating to the 17th century.
The wreck has been described by experts as the world's "oldest intact shipwreck" (Black Sea MAP/EEF Expeditions).
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 British Museum's Siren Vase depicts a ship like the one found in the Black Sea. And on Tuesday, European researchers revealed some stunning details about a period when Greek ships crossed the Bosporus strait, loaded with goods to trade and risking storms and natural disasters.
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".
Dr Kroum Batchvarov who worked on the project said: "It is the first of its kind, an absolutely incredible find, it is unique".