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World's oldest intact shipwreck discovered in Black Sea (theguardian.com)
251 points by the_duke 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 43 comments

I wonder what happened to the previous oldest intact shipwreck discovered by Robert Ballard in Black Sea: http://press.nationalgeographic.com/2003/01/16/black-seas-ol...

Do researchers from disciplines like history and marine biology ever pool their resources for missions like this, just to explore uncharted areas of the ocean deep to discover what's down there? It seems like there's so much opportunity across so many fields to discover new things by exploring the oceans.

Black Sea is dead below 100-150m due to lack of oxigen - there is no live there, and this is the reason why we can find preserved recks from 2400 years ago.

Edit: so there is no much interest from maritime biology.

One more issue is that it's prohibitively expensive and very challenging technically to explore the bottom of oceans and seas properly. Any exploration needs a lot of support from the surface, equipment that can stand a very taxing environment (perhaps more so than in space), and the water covered parts of the planet are huge.

Unless it's for oil very few bother surveying under those bodies of water.

Well, "dead" as in not much life, but there is an anaerobic ecosystem down there.

Why is there oxygen lacking at such a small depth while oceans provide oxygen for fish at several thousand meters below the surface?

Interestingly, it seems that the reason another old (though not nearly as old as this one) shipwreck (Vasa) was so well preserved is that humans polluted the water too much for life to survive.


There's a lot of ocean and sea out there so 'just exploring' uncharted regions probably won't produce much in a reasonable amount of time. In this particular case, the relative absence of marine biology at certain depths (and, of course, proximity to the settlements of ancient civilizations) is part of what makes the Black Sea interesting to archeologists.

That's how they found this one.

The accompanying video shows divers inspecting a wreck, but I take it this is not the wreck from the article: this lies at over a mile deep.

The photo of the wreck from the article and the wreck in the video are very different. The video has nothing to do with the latest find.

Note also that one of the divers in the video is silting badly towards the end. I don't think that those are professional archeologist divers in the video.

It’s weird, they appear to be tec divers, yet you’re right.. the photographer (two off-camera strobes) goes ahead and ruins viz with a couple of kicks?

2400 years ago? That pretty much coincides with the Late Bronze Age Collapse, a time period we have very fragmentary textual evidence from. This could be a very exciting find.


1200-1150 BC is 3168-3218 years ago, not 2400 years ago.

If the ship is Greek as it appears to be, then it's from the middle of the Classical period – around when Plato and Alcibiades lived. Which is also astounding!

How did they find this? It’s over 1 mile below the surface, so was this some kind of submarine / automated rover or a scan from the surface?

Shipwrecks usually show up well on sonar scans. Lots of the worlds oceans have been scanned looking for good hiding places for submarines, and looking for enemy submarines hiding in said places.

Not many of those scans are public, but sometimes researchers are tipped off where to look for wrecks.

Many believe the real reason behind the Trojan War was the control of the Bosphorus Strait that ships like this had to cross to reach the Black Sea from Greece.

To add: No

It was the Dardanelles (the Bosphorus is quite far off, though just as important).

You can (as usual) read a bit and find some starting articles on the wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dardanelles

The most interesting thing I learned from that wiki hole you just sent me down: Xerxes apparently threw irons at, whipped, branded, and had his soldiers shout at the Dardanelles. That must have been quite a show.

Absolutely right, it is Dardanelles and not Bosporus. Thanks!

Who believe, and why?

Many also believe that there is an uncontacted civilization under the Atlantic ocean, unseen apex primate cryptids in the Himalayas and the Pacific Northwest, and a Paleozoic reptile in a lake in Scotland.


“Whoever controlled Troy, or Gallipoli for that matter, could control all maritime traffic between the Aegean and Black Seas. The wars, in other words, were fought for money and power, not for a woman named Helen.”

That’s the reason I said “many believe” and not “it is proven”. I didn’t even claim it as truth. Not every reply is supposed to be a PhD thesis so please don’t be a dick.

But you do see the difference between believing in what you listed up and believing in what you replied to? There is a difference between "maybe the guy crossed the street over there" and "maybe aliens teleported the guy from the sidewalk". The two suggestions are not equally worth believing in.

That is how false news spread. Yes, there is a difference in that the original comment is much more believable than Bigfoot or Atlantis but offering up a plausible statement without proof or source is how society is misinformed. Eventually someone will trust that comment, and start believing in something like that as well, even though it's not really known to be true, and the comment doesn't even make any claim to truthfulness ("many believe..") Ultimately, it could as well be false because it doesn't really say anything, just that many people believe a thing like that, so it's pointless at best and misleading at worst.

All that may be true, but there was no call to be such a jerk about it. Something like "Interesting, but I'm skeptical--do you have a source for that?" would have worked just fine, instead of implying that OP was as dumb as Loch Ness Monster believers.

I used “many believe” because it is very difficult or impossible to know. Do you know what was the real reason behind the war against Iraq?

If anything “many believe” should nudge you to do your own research.

Or you can complain about “fake news” or “trolls” or whatever is the phrase du jour to discredit strangers over the internet.

Oh, I agree with that (that a reference should be added). The comparision is still not valid though. As to why false news are spread - no, I do not agree that the reason is that somebody is just claiming something. The reason is that people have stopped checking, in a time when checking is easier than ever before (and in this particular case - some checking will find that although there seems to have been a Troy, the Trojan War, as described by Homer, was probably more of a literary work. So it doesn't make much sense to try to figure out the "reason" behind the war. That doesn't take much googling.)

Not to brag about it, but those things get me a little annoyed. Not a single word that this is found near Bulgaria territory, if i am not mistaken. If something is found near Murica or Greatest Britain of all, we will be reading a different titles.:)

"The five metre (75ft) vessel..."

Perhaps fifteen feet?

On the other hand, I'm pretty impressed that they got the correct form of the verb "to lie":

"... where it appears to have lain undisturbed for more than 2,400 years."

Why would you not expect an educated native English speaker to be able to speak English?

Bitter experience.

These days, editors often can't even write a headline correctly.

It's frequently said wrong by the educated and uneducated alike.

If it's frequently said by the educated and uneducated alike, then that's just the right way to do it.

I don't disagree at all! I just understand why someone might be surprised at seeing the proper usage.

Not a common word.

Though here it is an error, it could have been correct: 12 metre yachts (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12_Metre) can be more than 60 feet long. For example, Stars and Stripes was 66ft (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stars_%26_Stripes_87).

Seems they corrected pretty quickly, but yeah funny.

For the record, it was, indeed, 75ft (23m).

At this point these ft and weird date formats are more like just annoying...

Go on, I'll bite. Which date format in the article is weird?

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