Black Sea yields two well-kept secrets

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Black Sea yields two well-kept secrets

Roman ship
Mosaic of a 3rd-century AD Roman trader. (Picture: Carole Baddato)

Archaeologists have discovered the wreck of a Greek trading ship dating back more than 2500 years in the northern Black Sea off the coast of Ukraine.

The Black Sea International Underwater Archaeological Expedition, mounted jointly by two Ukrainian and Polish archaeological institutes, has revealed what could be the oldest vessel of its kind ever to be discovered in the region.

13 August 2018

It is thought that the ship, which has been dated to the 5th century BC, could have sailed ancient trade routes from Olbia, the first Greek settlement in the area, or Chersonesos, another ancient settlement near what is now Sevastopol in Crimea. The archaeologists are continuing to survey the ship.

Also in the northern Black Sea a Roman merchant ship, 700-800 years more recent than the Greek trader, has been found near Sevastopol by Russian-funded Neptune Expedition Maritime Research.

Measuring 22m in length with a 6m beam, the ship was found by sonar-scanning at a depth of around 90m and has now been visited by scuba divers Pavel Lapshin and Roman Dunayev.

They reported that it had been preserved largely intact, thanks to the dark, low-oxygen conditions.

Photo and video footage of the well-preserved anchor and other parts of the vessel have allowed archaeologists to tentatively date it to the 2nd or 3rd century AD. The shipwreck is said to be the first Roman vessel to be found off Crimea in such good condition, and further diving is planned to search for artefacts.

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