Ancient Ship Found Well-Preserved In Black Sea
- NHNE News List
Current Members: 383
Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message.
ANCIENT SHIP FOUND WELL-PRESERVED IN BLACK SEA
CNN Correspondent David George and AP
Friday, November 3, 2000
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Famed explorer Robert Ballard says he's still numb after
discovering an almost perfectly preserved wreck of a ship that sank 1,500
years ago in the Black Sea off the coast of Turkey.
The ship is about 1000 feet (300 meters) down in water where there's no
oxygen, a situation that's fatal to the wood boring organisms that would
normally devour a wooden shipwreck.
"Basically wood borers are opportunistic organisms," said Ballard at a
Thursday news conference at the National Geographic Society. "When the food
is supplied they multiply very rapidly and they eat the wood supply and then
they literally die at the dinner table."
Cargo seen in 3 other ships
Ballard, who found the Titanic in 1985, led the million dollar expedition
under the Black Sea.
Dealing with such a well-preserved ship presents a problem, Ballard said. In
the past, shipwrecks of that age had all the wood eaten away and only the
"We don't know what to do" to study it, he said. "I think we're still numb."
He said a meeting is scheduled for next month to consider how best to deal
with the ship.
The ship is about 45 feet long, with a 35-foot tall standing mast.
Three other nearby wrecks found nearby are less well preserved. They were
trading vessels believed to date from the Roman or Byzantine period,
probably built between the fourth and sixth centuries A.D.
All three contained large quantities of terracotta jars that carried wine,
oil or other liquids. The carrot-shaped design of the jars was used by
artisans in ancient Sinop, Ward said.
Deep-diving robots view wreck
Scientists from the National Geographic Society discovered the four wrecks
last month with the aid of three tethered, deep-diving robots.
"What we saw was absolutely astounding," said nautical archaeologist Cheryl
Ward. The ship's mast is still standing and stanchions rest nearby, held
together with wooden pegs.
"No archaeologist has even been able to study anything like this," she said.
"We have never been able to look at the deck of an ancient ship."
Carbon dating of the ship's wood indicated it was 1,500 years old, dating
from between 410 and 520 A.D.
"We're already starting to ask new questions about ancient seafaring
practices and shipbuilding, such as, How did they fasten the frames to the
planking?" said Ward.
Ships in those times were built "skin first," with the outside structure
crafted before the inside was filled in. "It's the complete opposite of how
we do it today," Ward said. No cargo was visible in the wreck, so the ship's
purpose is not yet known.
Ballard gave Turkey credit for the new discovery.
"Thanks to the excellent collaborative assistance from Turkish authorities,
we have had a tantalizing peek at the wealth of historical information the
Black Sea holds," Ballard said.
The expedition was supported by the National Geographic Society, the U.S.
Navy's Office of Naval Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration and the J.M. Kaplan Fund.
Expedition participants came from the Institute for Exploration, Woods Hole
Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole Marine Systems Inc., the University of
Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, the Institute of Nautical Archaeology in College
Station, Texas, and Marr Vessel Management Ltd.
Earlier, the same team of scientists found what they said appear to be
remnants of an ancient site where humans might have lived, along the
submerged coastline west of Sinop, Turkey. The find included an apparent
man-made building foundation built when the area was dry land, nearly 8,000
years ago, before a cataclysmic flood.
Items found included wooden logs and stones that appeared to have been
carved into blocks by human hands.
NHNE News List:
To subscribe, send a message to:
To unsubscribe, send a message to:
To review current posts:
Published by NewHeavenNewEarth (NHNE)
NHNE Website: http://www.nhne.com/
Phone: (520) 282-6120
Fax: (815) 346-1492
Appreciate what we are doing?
You can say so with a tax-deductible donation:
P.O. Box 10627
Sedona, AZ 86339-8627