Before the airplane, before the train. Before trucks and cars and roads of any kind, you had ships. Rivers and lakes and seas—these were the super highways of the ancient world. Cities were set up on the shores of these bodies of water because they gave you the best chance of participating in trade with nations around the world.
We know about this reliance on trading boats thanks to the work of historians and ancient art of societies like Greece, Rome, and Egypt. And occasionally, fragments and artifacts of shipwrecks are found to give us further proof that they existed. But actually coming face-to-face with one of these 2,000 year-old vessels in one piece? Sadly, that's just not possible. The ships are too old, too fragile—the forces of corrosion and rot destroy much of the evidence.
Or so we thought...
Sea-ing is believing!
A team of English and Bulgarian explorers have just announced an unbelievable discovery. They found a 2,400 year-old shipwreck at the bottom of the Black Sea, a massive sea north of Turkey. The 23-metre (75-foot) long ship was a Greek trading vessel—the kind that we've only known from stories and art like this:
That's a lovely vase. But it pales in comparison to being able to see the real thing...
How is it still there?
Right? Didn't we just finish saying that a shipwreck like this eventually breaks apart? (Yes, we did.)
And wasn't there a recent story in the news about how the wreck of the Titanic is about crumble and fall to pieces? (Well, we didn't write about it, but it is absolutely true.) That wreck is barely 100 years old. How is this boat that is 24 times older still intact?
Get ready, folks. It's "word of the day" time!
Anoxic. It means "free of oxygen", which is exactly what the water around this particular shipwreck is. That means that the forces of rot and corrosion are next to non-existent. And at 2,000 metres (6,500 feet) deep, the site is incredibly difficult for your average diver to reach.
But thanks to its high-tech robot diver drones, this archeological team found it! What's inside? That's a good question. Truth is, the team still doesn't know. It needs more funding to be able to inspect the ship's cargo hold. Guess we'll just have to use our imagination in the mean time ...
What do you think is inside this Ancient Greek trading ship?