What they’ve found is greater than they had even hoped!
In the Black Sea lies what explorers and scientists are calling a shipwreck graveyard full sunken vessels from centuries ago. While they are not revealing the exact location of this treasure trove of ships, there have been extensive explorations of the ships with cameras, sonar, and scanners to help determine where the boats are and what is left of them.
Photogrammetric model of 978m deep 19th Century shipwreck. More than 3000 images captured by #blackseamap #rov @sotonarch @UoSShipwrecks pic.twitter.com/kCBqPh8KN6— Rodrigo Pacheco-Ruiz (@RPachecoRuizSea) August 17, 2017
A team of scientists and sailors have been exploring the Black Sea in an effort to understand how changing ocean levels have affected the area in the past in the Bulgarian waters. The original goal was to map out the bottom of the seabed looking for clues as to how past civilizations dealt with rising sea levels. But, what they discovered went far beyond what they were expecting to find. The Black Sea MAP project started through the University of Southampton and the Expedition and Education Foundation in 2014 with planning and by 2016 they had found 41 vessels (currently the number is around 60). Who knows if the team will find even more!
Last seen 2,000yrs ago: #Roman #Shipwreck w. in-situ quarter rudders, depth: 2100m! courtesy #blackseamap for @unisouthampton #Archaeology pic.twitter.com/kpONbiMueT— Shipwrecks (@UoSShipwrecks) September 21, 2017
But why are there so many sunken boats in this one area? The history of the Black Sea holds the answer. Once a freshwater body, when saltwater started pouring in from the Bosphorus Straight after the last ice age layers were created in the water. The top layer has less salt (and more oxygen) and the lower lever has more salt and less oxygen (where the shipwrecks are). The anoxic lower level is responsible for keeping the shipwrecks preserved as well as they are. Some of these ancient vessels are so well preserved that you can still see finer elements like rope and intricate carvings from centuries ago!
The detail of decoration and the presence of ropes visible on an Ottoman shipwreck in the Black Sea is jaw-dropping #portuslimen pic.twitter.com/KPRCh6A0Hl— Dr Sophie Hay (@pompei79) January 27, 2017
Most, if not all, of the ships so far appear to have been sunk by storms and not from combat damage, leading researchers to believe that they were not likely to be pirate ships. Reportedly followed by a camera crew, the incredible findings are expected to be part of an upcoming TV series which is fantastic news for all of us who want a closer look at these priceless ships.