back to article I ship you knot: 2,400-year-old Greek trading vessel found intact at bottom of Black Sea

A bunch of maritime archaeologists, scientists and surveyors have discovered at the bottom of the Black Sea what is thought to be the oldest intact shipwreck – at a whopping 2,400 years. Thanks to the lack of oxygen at its depth over 2km below the surface, the 23-metre (75ft) vessel is remarkably unscathed. The boat's mast …

  1. msknight Silver badge
    Joke

    Finally...

    We find out how much wages a 2,400 year old Grecian Urns. (apologies to Morecombe and Wise)

    1. steelpillow Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Finally...

      And of course their unique:

      Eric: "What's Grecian Urn?"

      Ernie: "He's a man from Greece, Eric."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Finally...

        Sutely it was

        Ernie: "What's Grecian Urn?"

        Eric: "About three drachmas a week."

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Don't forget the Goons...

          I can't remember the precise characters, but:

          "What's Grecian Urn?"

          "A jar used by the Greeks to carry water."

          "I didn't expect that answer!"

          "Neither did quite a few smart-alec listeners!"

  2. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Leave it there

    > as the Hellenic wreck will apparently not be removed from the seabed.

    I certainly hope not, as it is the best place to keep it preserved. (They should also keep the exact location secret).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Leave it there

      They should also keep the exact location secret

      Probably a bit late for that. I'd wager that a web based ship tracker would be able to give a fairly accurate

      location based on the course of the survey vessel (perhaps cross referenced to the depth and a location reported as 50 miles off the Bulgarian coast).

      But I don't think you need worry - souvenir hunters may be put off by six and a half thousand feet of water. That's well below the maximum depths of even modern military submarines, so any thieves are going to need a bloody great support ship able to operate down to the better part of two miles deep, and a submersible ROV with a pressure rating to withstand 200 bar, and the ability to identify, collect and recover loot (that may not actually exist).

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Leave it there

        The "loot" in this case is simply knowledge. For instance, how these sort of ships were built is largely conjectural. Direct investigation can provide some proof, which sets the historical record straight.

        There is a possibility that some navigational materials such as instruments might be recovered, which might prove or disprove existing historical theory, and what the cargo is can provide information about the culture's trade links etc.

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Leave it there

        "Probably a bit late for that. I'd wager that a web based ship tracker would be able to give a fairly accurate location"

        Most survey boats turn the gain on their AIS system to as low as they possibly can when they're at work to avoid just this scenario. It's possible that this survey boat isn't required to have an AIS system, or they just turned it off.

        So you might be able to pick up their position, but it's not guaranteed.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Leave it there

        "But I don't think you need worry - souvenir hunters may be put off by six and a half thousand feet of water. That's well below the maximum depths of even modern military submarines, so any thieves are going to need a bloody great support ship able to operate down to the better part of two miles deep, and a submersible ROV with a pressure rating to withstand 200 bar, and the ability to identify, collect and recover loot (that may not actually exist)."

        Titanic is over twelve thousand feet deep, and has been scavanged of some items. Sure the depth may put off some people, but the difficulty in getting there may increase the appeal and the value of any retrieved items.

    2. spold Bronze badge

      Re: Leave it there

      Given the depth, rather than divers etc lopping off bits, it would seem more likely someone drops a whopping power/telco etc. cable on top of it.

      Or the mast may attract so much plastic waste it starts to sail off somewhere by itself.

    3. macjules Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Leave it there

      Wait till they find the golden fleece onboard ..

      1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

        Re: Leave it there

        Assuming that the gold hasn't washed away, of course.

        Tim Severtin recreated the Jason Voyage in 1984 and wrote a great book (1) on the subject. He had a master shipwright in eastern Greece build him a boat in the neotlithic style and he captained a crew that sailed the boat to then Soviet Georgia. And in the mouth of one of the rivers opening onto the Black Sea they came across locals who left sheepskins in the river to collect grains of gold as the river water washed through it.

        (1) https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jason-Voyage-Quest-Golden-Fleece/dp/0099461803

      2. Peter Ford

        Re: Leave it there

        Or better still, an intact version of the Antikythera mechanism...

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Leave it there

          How much would the anoxic conditions inhibit rusting, given that the Black Sea has some salt content? Unless it was kept in something watertight, I doubt we'll ever find an intact Antikythera mechanism. Might find one that's better preserved though.

    4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Leave it there

      I disagree. We should bring it up (*), disassemble it and examine the pieces and how they fit together to perfect our knowledge of their level of shipbuilding. I think that would give valuable insight into why they did things the way they did. I'm sure we'd learn a lot from that wreck.

      * - if feasible, obviously, and given the depth, there may be a bit a challenge.

      1. Grikath Silver badge

        Re: Leave it there @ pascal monett

        Current archeological practice is to leave things as much in place as possible, if possible. Which is the case here.

        The thing is that archeological technology, especially the underwater bit, is still rapidly developing. This means that we can always revisit the site with more accurate equipment in a decade or so, and get much better data on a site that's mostly undisturbed. Between GPR and sonar we can already visualise things that required actually digging up stuff two decades ago. Give it another decade or two, and we can have a much better look at the thing.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Leave it there @ pascal monett

          Give it another decade or two, and we can have a much better look at the thing.

          Won't that always be true?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Leave it there

      Yea, I hear it's hella old, so I'm sure it's pretty fragile.

  3. 45RPM Silver badge

    If it’s intact…

    …why is it at the bottom of the sea? I mean, something must have compromised its buoyancy and, short of it being carefully filled with water by a capricious god, I’d have thought that same something would have broken its intactness. If I break the screen of my phone I wouldn’t describe it as intact - even if I keep all the shards with it and, from the picture, that boat looks rather broken (although, I admit, remarkably well preserved).

    Okay, pedant mode off. This is an impressive find. I look forward to seeing what else they find on it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If it’s intact…

      I mean, something must have compromised its buoyancy and, short of it being carefully filled with water by a capricious god, I’d have thought that same something would have broken its intactness.

      Before people got all logical about ship design, most were fairly open, had little freeboard (distance waterline to deck or openings), and were therefore incredibly vulnerable to heavy waves or wind. Or even an overly quick turn, as the Mary Rose illustrated in calm water over a thousand years later.

      So it is very likely that most of the early vessels they've found are intact.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: If it’s intact…

        Don't spoil the Daily Mash's article with your so-called "facts"

    2. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: If it’s intact…

      "....…why is it at the bottom of the sea? I mean, something must have compromised its buoyancy and, short of it being carefully filled with water by a capricious god, I’d have thought that same something would have broken its intactness. If I break the screen of my phone I wouldn’t describe it as intact - even if I keep all the shards with it and, from the picture, that boat looks rather broken (although, I admit, remarkably well preserved).

      Okay, pedant mode off. This is an impressive find. I look forward to seeing what else they find on it..."

      Source: https://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/environment/worlds-oldest-intact-shipwreck-cant-be-that-intact-or-it-wouldnt-have-sunk-20181023178595

    3. S4qFBxkFFg

      Re: If it’s intact…

      "If it’s intact…

      …why is it at the bottom of the sea?"

      Hmm, it's getting a bit blowy...

      Alexios..., you did get the slaves to put the gold at the bottom of the hold, right?

    4. Jay Lenovo Silver badge

      Re: If it’s intact…

      Fine condition for the world's earliest submarine.

      This attempt obviously, was before they had worked out all the kinks.

  4. Pshoot
    Facepalm

    Divers ...

    at 2 km deep? I thought we maxed out at 300 m or so, even with exotic gas mixes etc?

    Is the article wrong, or am I missing something?

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Divers ...

      am I missing something?

      Yes. The divers shown in the video are exploring a different wreck quite a bit closer to the shore.

      1. Pshoot

        Re: Divers ...

        Thanks, viewed without sound while at work ... I'll keep quiet next time.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Divers ...

      How did this get downvoted?

      You're correct- Yes, divers max out way before that. Even with "The Abyss"-style liquid-breathing systems you'd suffer neurological damage at those depths.

      Modern ROVs are incredible bits of tech.

      1. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: Divers ...

        "...You're correct- Yes, divers max out way before that. Even with "The Abyss"-style liquid-breathing systems you'd suffer neurological damage at those depths..."

        Actually...the record on open circuit SCUBA equipment is deeper than 300m:

        http://divemagazine.co.uk/skills/6777-scuba-diving-records

        Not that you're incorrect about the physical and neurological risks these people expose themselves to.

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Does it also have a mechanical astronomical calculator on board?

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Yep...

      ...the ZX-400.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Yep...

        Would that be the Timex version by chance?

    2. Christoph Silver badge

      Yes, that is what I was wondering. If they aren't going to raise it, are they able to search it carefully enough to check whether there is an ancestor of the Antikythera Mechanism on board?

      Any clue at all about that would be immensely valuable - as it is the thing is utterly unique.

      1. OrientalHero

        cheap Persian knock offs

        perhaps the Antikythera Mechanism was much more popular than we know as the very widespread adoption of the larger cheap wooden Persian knock offs didn't last. The Persian Wars were likely started because the Xerxes model was being forcibly marketed to the Greeks and the introduction of either trade tariffs or an Intellectual Property Rights dispute over the rounded shape of the device being derivative of the Athenian Brass model...

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Depends on the ROV(s) used, but it would be anyway very different from a true archeological excavation of the area, impossible at those depths. Sediments could have covered a lot of relics.

        Anyway the uniqueness of Antikythera Mechanism IMHO doesn't make it a widespread device easy to find in other locations. Probably others existed, but still were special items.

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Chances are that a ship that size would have been following the shore anyway, which would tend to negate any need for navigation instruments.

  6. TseTT
    Joke

    Wood floats...

    ......I still cannot understand how a wooden ship can ever sink!

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Wood floats...

      ......I still cannot understand how a wooden ship can ever sink!

      Ummm, because they're made of witches???

      Sorry, couldn't resist reversing the Holy Grail witch trial sketch

      1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

        Re: Wood floats...

        Or small stones.

    2. Mister Cheese

      Re: Wood floats...

      Not all wood has the same density. Dried wood is less dense than freshly-cut wood. Not all wood floats, unlike a duck.

    3. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Wood floats...

      I float. Fill me with a few amphorae of wine though...

    4. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Wood floats...

      "......I still cannot understand how a wooden ship can ever sink!"

      It will sink of carefully filled with water by Capricious goats gods., apparently.

      Classical education do not be what once it may have.

    5. LDS Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Wood floats...

      If the Romans didn't kill Archimedes (despite orders), maybe they could have made metal ships earlier (ok, ok, maybe the metallurgy was not there yet...) - instead, they just got better bathtubs and swimming pools...

    6. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Wood floats...

      >......I still cannot understand how a wooden ship can ever sink!

      Pull the rudder one...

    7. Maty

      Re: Wood floats...

      Which is why no-one has ever found a trireme wreck. Those things really were buoyancy-positive. Even if you knocked a dirty great hole in the bottom, it wold just get rather swampy inside. (As contemporary Greeks demonstrated in a number of sea battles.)

      OTOH, load a heavy cargo in the bottom, and if the ship stopped displacing water for any reason, and it would go down like a stone - which is why many merchant wrecks from the Roman period have been found.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wood floats...

        And a lot of sailing ships have heavy rock ballast down by the keel to counteract heeling in strong side winds. That alone could make the ship negatively buoyant without displacement, and certainly a cargo load would make sure that happens.

    8. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Wood floats...

      There are quite a few types of wood that have an SG higher than 1.0; Ipe, Elondo, Quebracho and a lot of Acacia and Eucalyptus plus many more.

      I suppose the same logic dictates that steel boats don't float?

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Wood floats...

        Quebracho

        Which appears to be the wood I know as Kibrahacha, the wood that kills hatchets.

  7. Pennsyjohn

    Ships sink when they their floatation ability is compromised. Perhaps they were overloaded and their freeboard got compromised ( gunnels under water). Weight of load sinks ship, perhaps some of it floats off, but the rest (non-floating) takes it down to the bottom.

  8. Tom 7 Silver badge

    I wonder if the sails are intact?

    I'd love to see if they could sail into the wind. Many claim you had to wait for lateen sails to do so but if you check out the Bayeaux needlework thingy those sails must have had some advantage over the standard square rigs.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: I wonder if the sails are intact?

      The BBC site says the wreck was powered by sail and oars so the answer was probably no.

  9. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Timely...

    I've just picked up Assassins Creed Odyssey as my winter entertainment now that the nights are drawing in, so have my head tilted towards ancient Greece at the moment.

    Personally, as a diver and a sailor I can't wait to see more about this.

  10. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Dive limits...

    In the video, those divers can't be diving on the actual wreck in question. I don't have sound, so not sure if it is of a similar wreck but in much shallower water?

  11. LizaGrey

    An interesting finding! Recently I've watched a movie published on the volunteer Allatra TV Internet channel, which tells about ancient civilizations that had lived long before the Sumerian civilization and the Akkadians - https://allatra.tv/en/video/atlantis-the-elite-in-search-of -immortality

    I liked that a lot of facts were cited, and when you put them together, it becomes clear that more developed civilizations had existed before us.

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