40 ancient wrecks found in Black Sea

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40 ancient wrecks found in Black Sea

Black Sea MAP, an expedition to chart underwater landscapes in Bulgaria submerged by flooding after the last Ice Age, has gained a “bonus” – the location and inspection of more than 40 ancient shipwrecks.

Many of the discoveries are said to provide the first view of ships previously known only from historical writings.

They include vessels from the Ottoman and Byzantine empires, and are said to provide new data on seafaring stretching back into prehistory.

The prime objective of the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project international team is to discover when and how fast prehistoric Black Sea water levels rose and how this affected human populations.

“The wrecks are a complete bonus, but a fascinating discovery, found during the course of our extensive geophysical surveys,” says Professor Jon Adams of the University of Southampton’s Centre for Maritime Archaeology, the principle investigator on Black Sea MAP.

“They are astonishingly preserved due to the anoxic conditions of the Black Sea below 150m.

“Using the latest 3D recording technique for underwater structures, we’ve been able to capture some astonishing images without disturbing the seabed. We are now among the very best exponents of this practice methodology, and certainly no-one has achieved models of this completeness on shipwrecks at these depths.”

Based on the research vessel Stril Explorer, the Black Sea MAP team has been deploying two ROVs, one of which is a new type said to move four times faster than conventional vehicles and equipped with “an entire suite of geophysical instrumentation, as well as lights, high-definition cameras and a laser scanner”.

In the course of the project, the new ROV has covered 1250km and set both a new depth record of 1800m and another for sustained speed, of more than 6 knots.

Black Sea MAP is funded by the Expedition & Education Foundation, a marine-research charity.

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22-Oct-16

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