Deepest Wreck

1353 Words6 Pages
A deep-sea salvage company claims to have discovered the deepest ancient shipwreck ever found- a 2,300-year-old Greek trading vessel found nearly two miles under the surface of the Mediterranean. The discovery of the shipwreck between the classical trading centers of Rhodes and Alexandria adds to the collection of evidence that is challenging the long-held theory that ancient sailors lacked the navigational knowledge and skill to sail large distances across open water. It is believed that they were restricted to following the coastline during thier trips. Four other possibly ancient wrecks were discovered nearby. In the spring of 1999, the deep-ocean exploration firm Nauticos Corporation conducted a survey in the eastern Mediterranean in an attempt to locate an Israeli submarine that had mysteriously disappeared in the area 31 years before. Their sonar system detected five closely spaced clusters at a depth of almost 10,000 feet on what is known as the Herodotus Abyssal Plain. Visual inspection of these clusters with a remotely operated vehicle revealed five shipwrecks of possible archaeological significance. There was only enough time to permit the collection of a detailed video and sonar imagery of only one site. This information was sent to the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) at Texas A&M University to determine the ships origin and importance. The shape of several amphoras or containers from the site date back to the end of the third century B.C. or the beginning of the second century B.C. making this the deepest ancient shipwreck yet discovered. Despite its depth, the site is typical for an ancient shipwreck. The vessel came to rest on the bottom and eventually flipped over onto its side. As its wooden hull lost structural integrity, the ship’s side flattened out under the weight of the containers that had tumbled over it. The opposite side of the hull was held upright, unburied by the containers or sediment, succumbed to erosion and decay, and were mostly rotted away. This wreck’s amphora cargo forms a mound approximately 80 feet long and 50 feet wide and tapers in height and width from the center of the ship to the bow and stern, or front and back. At least six or more types of wine amphoras have been identified, including containers from the islands of Rhodes and Kos, there may be as many as 2,500 containers present at the site. The ship’s bow area or the front area of the ship, can be identified by the presence of at least five lead anchors.
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