In 2015 a group of archaeologists set out on a project to learn about environmental changes in the Black sea near Bulgaria. In order to better understand changes that may have occurred to the area, they decided to map out the sea floor. That is when they made the discovery of a lifetime. When they stumbled upon a total of 60 Ancient Shipwrecks ranging from Ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine and the more recent medieval times.
The discovery of an Ancient shipwreck normally would be quite a find, but what makes these shipwrecks extraordinary is the sea that they were found in. The deeper waters of the Black sea are anoxic (oxygenless) thereby preserving the ships and keeping them from rotting. Conditions are ideal and provide a glimpse into the past that could only before have been imagined or seen in drawings or sketches.
“We have never seen anything like this before,” Kroum Batchvarov, marine archaeologist from the University of Connecticut, who participated in the expedition tells Katy Evans at IFLScience. “This is history in the making unfolding before us.”
The wrecks are not the only discoveries the expedition made. The researchers excavated an ancient settlement in Bulgarian waters that was covered by the rising sea. That Bronze Age village, now submerged under about 13 feet of water, contains timbers from houses, ceramic pots, and hearths. The team also collected geophysical data on hundreds of miles of ancient coast as well as core samples that will help them reconstruct the ancient shoreline of the sea.
While there’s no word on whether the researchers will investigate the wrecks further, Georgiou reports the team was shadowed by British filmmakers, who are putting together a documentary on the project.
This isn’t the first expedition to find remarkable shipwrecks in the Black Sea. Since 1999, famed explorer Robert Ballard found 26 ships in the area, including the Eregli E (pronounced EH-ray-lee), a perfectly preserved Ottoman trading vessel that even included human remains. Combined with a remarkable find of 23 ancient shipwrecks in Greece’s Fourni Archipelago last year, it’s fair to say these discoveries are part of an emerging golden age of ancient shipwreck exploration.