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Weird History: The 2,400-Year-Old Ship at the Bottom of the Black Sea

There is a 74-foot ancient ship sitting at the bottom of the Black Sea, about 50 miles off the coast of Bulgaria. Radiocarbon dating has determined that this vessel, likely Greek, is roughly 2,400 years old and dates back to about 400 BC. You might be asking yourself what makes this weird. Sometimes, ships sinks. It's been happening for centuries. This is a weird history column so where is the weird?

Well, this ship that has been laying dormant for two centuries is entirely intact. According to The Guardian, it is believed to be "the world’s oldest intact shipwreck" and here at Frightful, where our editor has this bizarre fascination with the sea, the world's oldest intact shipwreck is worth talking about.

The vessel was first discovered by the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project in 2018. "The researchers were stunned to find the merchant vessel closely resembled in design a ship that decorated ancient Greek wine vases," noted the BBC. "The rudder, rowing benches and even the contents of its hold remain intact."

So how has this ship stayed so well-preserved over the centuries? The water it sits in is anoxic, which means there is no dissolved oxygen. This prevents organic material from breaking down quickly. says that the Black Sea is "the largest existing anoxic marine basin in the world".

You can watch the CBS news report here.

[Image Credit: screenshot via CBS News]

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