Archeaology: Paestum to award to 'oldest intact shipwreck'

Bulgarian find wins at Med Bourse of Archaeological Tourism

31 October, 17:25

    NAPLES - The International Archaeological Discovery Award ''Khaled al-Asaad'' 2019 will be given to the ''oldest intact shipwreck of the world'', which was found 2 km down in the Black Sea off the Bulgarian coast. The award is named after the Syrian director of the Palmyra archaeological area and museum from 1963 to 2003 and is assigned every year as part of the Med Bourse of Archaeological Tourism, which will be held in Paestum November 14-17. The wreck has been kept intact by the unusual chemical composition of the water and the lack of oxygen below 180 meters. It was found by the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (MAP) on a wooden ship dating back 2,400 years ago with structural elements intact - such as the mast and the planks for the rowers - that had never before been found on ships this old.

    It was named the oldest complete shipwreck known to have been found in the sea. Egyptian ritual boats found in excavations, such as those of Khufu, are older but were not found in the sea. The exploration lasted 3 years and led to the discovery of over 60 historic finds. The ship measures about 23 meters long and was documented via an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) with videocameras.

    It appears similar to merchant ships depicted on Ancient Greek vases. A small fragment of the relic was extracted and analysed using carbon dating techniques, which found that it dated back to the fifth century BC, an epoch in which Greek city states engaged in frequent trade relations across the Mediterranean and with their colonies along the Black Sea coast. The Bulgarian expedition beat four other candidates: an ancient mummification workshop in Egypt's Saqqara, the oldest bread in the world in Jordan's Black Desert, inscriptions and luxury homes in Pompeii, and the oldest metallic hadn't found in Europe in Switzerland. The choice of which discover to award was made by a jury consisting of Archeo, Italy's top archaeological publication, and traditional media parters of the Bourse: Antike Welt (Germany), Archéologia (France), Archaologie der Schweiz (Switzerland), Current Archaeology (UK), and Dossiers d'Archéologie (France). The award will be given to Jonathan Adams, the head of the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (MAP) on November 15 in the presence of Fayrouz, an archaeologist and daughter of Asaad, as part of the 22nd Med Bourse of Archaeological Tourism (BMTA).

    A 'Special Award', for a discovery with the most support via Facebook of the BMTA, has been assigned to the ''oldest bread in the world'' found in Jordan's Black Desert by a group of researchers from the universities of Copenhagen and Cambridge as well as the University College of London. The charred bread is about 14,000 years old.

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