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Sci-Tech

World's oldest intact shipwreck discovered in the Black Sea

An ancient Greek ship that could have starred in The Odyssey lurks on the seabed.

This shipwreck is on the floor of the Black Sea.

Black Sea MAP/EEF Expeditions

There's a vase in the British Museum decorated with an image of Greek hero Odysseus tied to the mast of his ship as it passes the singing Sirens. It dates to around 480 B.C. to 470 B.C. For the first time, scientists have discovered a real, intact ship just like the one on the Siren Vase. It's a stunning find.

The British Museum's Siren Vase depicts a ship like the one found in the Black Sea.

British Museum

The University of Southampton in the UK announced the discovery on Tuesday. 

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 Russia, among other countries.

The team found a Greek trading vessel during a survey in 2017. It sits just over 1 mile (2 kilometers) under the surface in an oxygen-free environment that's left it in a remarkable state of preservation.

The researchers examined the ship with remotely operated underwater vehicles, collected a sample and carbon-dated it to around 400 B.C. The University of Southampton says this confirms the vessel as the oldest known intact shipwreck in the world. 

"This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world," Jon Adams, the Black Sea MAP's principal investigator, said in a news release. He is an archaeology professor at the University of Southampton. 

The Black Sea MAP has now surveyed over 772 square miles (2,000 square kilometers) of the Black Sea seabed and found more than 60 shipwrecks. The Greek ship, however, may be the most incredible find of all.