This eerie ship graveyard is over 2,500 years old
How many ships are lost on the floors of the world's unexplored oceans? Where it's so dark that the bottom of the ocean resembles the outer reaches of space, what exists of our old societies, left abandoned, preserved as if in formaldehyde? Well, over 60 shipwrecks have been photographed in the Black Sea, spanning 2,500 years from ancient times, to Byzantine Empire, to the 1800s.
The University of Southampton’s Centre for Maritime Archeology has discovered these ships, in a project they have dubbed the Black Sea Map, an attempting to chart the waters of the Black Sea. Much of the project was focused on finding evidence for climate change in the changing waters, but instead, a whole undersea world of shipwrecks has been discovered.
Here's a replica of one of the wrecks, an insanely well-preserved and mostly intact ship from the Roman Empire, 2,000 years old.
This is a medieval ship, snapped in the dark like the Titanic, with most of its wooden hull still perfectly complete. There are no sails, and a thick coating of green covers the wooden rails and boughs. Algae claims the ships, but the wood is not dissolved by centuries in saltwater. Insane, right?
This is the greenest ship yet, turned into a kind of sea bed forest. It's a Roman ship, over 2,000 years old. The empire's last remnants remain in the Dead Sea, undisturbed, as they have for millennia. High-resolution 3D cameras and lights capture the dark and deep sea ship.
The CEO at the Black Sea Map said: “There's one medieval trading vessel where the towers on the bow and stern are pretty much still there. It's as if you are looking at a ship in a movie, with ropes still on the deck and carvings in the wood."
This Ottoman ship is beautifully still and clear:
This byzantine wreck is observed by a submarine. Almost 500 feet below the surface, the waters become 'anoxic' which means there is no oxygen. No life can survive down here, so the organisms that may feed on a sunken ship and tear it apart, sponges or other animals, don't exist.
What do you think? One day, will we uncover modern icebreakers and even planes preserved so perfectly upon the sea floor? So much history must be hidden in the world's oceans, less of 5 per cent of which we have explored. There certainly awaits so much more to be discovered beneath the surface of the seas.
The fact that so much underwater memory remains intact and findable is inspiring for the future of undersea exploration. Between sea creatures and our own human history, whole new worlds, a proverbial Atlantis, awaits for us to find it.
If you're looking for more fascinating stuff under the waters, check out this list of 5 bizarre sea creatures you probably haven't heard about, including a squid that is 23 feet long and a shrimp that can punch harder than Mike Tyson.