Archaeologists have found what they believe to be the world's oldest intact shipwreck at the bottom of the Black Sea where it appears to have lain undisturbed for more than 2,400 years.
The vessel's design had previously been seen only on ancient Greek pottery, such as the "Siren Vase" in the British Museum in London.
But there was a time when trade flourished in the Black Sea.
A small piece has been carbon dated to 400 BC, making it the oldest intact shipwreck known to mankind.
"This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world", he said.
One such ship has now been discovered nearly completely intact at the bottom of the Black Sea at a depth of 1.2 miles, where oxygen levels are so low that marine life is virtually nonexistent. "The Black Sea is considered to be one of the world's finest underwater laboratories due to the anoxic (un-oxygenated) layer which preserves artifacts better than any other marine environment", explains the Project, on its website.
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The project to map the Black Sea floor was set up to research the impact of changes in prehistoric sea levels and flooding in the region.
"This wreck shows the unprecedented potential for preservation in the Black Sea, which has been a critical crossroads of world cultures for thousands of years", he told National Geographic. The vase features the ship of Odysseus passing the Sirens.
Thanks to the lack of oxygen at its depth over 2km below the surface, the 23-metre (75ft) vessel is remarkably unscathed.
Professor John Adams and the University of Southampton helped led the expedition, which also had GCSE students from disadvantaged schools on board.
Numerous ships fit the description of trading vessels described or depicted in ancient literature and drawings, but never seen until now. Over the course of three years, the team discovered over 60 shipwrecks, ranging from vessels from the Classical period to a 17th-century Cossack raiding fleet.
The team is releasing a documentary on its findings Tuesday at the British Museum, offering a glimpse into what archaeologist Fredrik Hiebert called "an incredibly rich museum of human history".