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.
The recently discovered shipwreck reveals details that are similar to the ship on this famed Ancient Greek vase, which dates to the 5th century B.C. and depicts Odysseus tied to the mast to fearless the sirens. Experts have spent three years surveying over 772 square miles of the Black Sea in a search for shipwrecks.
"A ship, surviving intact, from the Classical world, lying in over two kilometers of water, is something I would never have believed possible", said Professor Jon Adams from the University of Southampton in southern England, the project's main investigator.
Researchers with the university's Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project led an expedition to map the floor of the sea, which touches on Bulgaria, Turkey, the Ukraine and Russian Federation, among other countries.
The ship, laying more than a mile below the surface of the Black Sea, appears to be of the same construction. A lack of oxygen at that depth preserved it, the researchers said.
"The project as a whole was actually looking at sea level change and the flooding of the Black Sea region. and the shipwrecks are a happy by-product of that", she told BBC radio.
The ambitious project, which includes maritime archaeologists, scientists and surveyors, aims to unlock the mysteries of the Black Sea.
"This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world", he said. Scientists have now carbon dated the shipwreck to 400BC.
The University of Southampton in the United Kingdom announced the discovery on Tuesday. Now, according to MAP, they know it also depicts a representation of real trading vessels used around the same era as their find.
The group has made over 60 discoveries in the last three years, including Roman trading ships and a 17th century Cossack raiding fleet.