21:24 25 October 2016
The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project, which primary focus was to carry out geophysical surveys while scouring the seabed of the Black Sea, has accidentally discovered over 40 shipwrecks from the Ottoman and Byzantine periods.
The project, which involves an international team led by the University of Southampton’s Centre for Maritime Archaeology, has been scouring the waters 5,900ft below the surface of the Black Sea using an offshore vessel equipped with some of the most advanced underwater equipment in the world.
Professor Jon Adams, principle investigator on the project, said: 'We're endeavouring to answer some hotly-debated questions about when the water level rose, how rapidly it did so and what effects it had on human populations living along this stretch of the Bulgarian coast of the Black Sea.
'The primary focus of this project is to carry out geophysical surveys to detect former land surfaces buried below the current sea bed, take core samples and characterise and date them, and create a palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of Black Sea prehistory.'
He added: 'The wrecks are a complete bonus, but a fascinating discovery, found during the course of our extensive geophysical surveys.
'They are astonishingly preserved due to the anoxic conditions (absence of oxygen) of the Black Sea below 150 metres.
'Using the latest 3D recording technique for underwater structures, we've been able to capture some astonishing images without disturbing the sea bed.
'We are now among the very best exponents of this practice methodology and certainly no-one has achieved models of this completeness on shipwrecks at these depths.'
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