The remains of tens of thousands of ships litter the floor of the Black Sea, their wreckage telling the stories of war, trade, and the risks of crossing a massive body of water. There are ships on the cold sea floor there that have never been seen before: vessels from the Ottoman and Byzantine empires, from Venetian and Genoan merchant colonies, from slave traders coming out of Central Asia, and more.
A recent expedition using new technology to help map the sea floor has just revealed more than 40 previously unknown shipwrecks, nearly perfectly preserved, since they lie deep on the floor of the Black Sea in a region where there’s no oxygen. For that reason, the wrecks have been kept safe from organisms that would normally chew through ropes and wood.
“The wrecks are a complete bonus, but a fascinating discovery, found during the course of our extensive geophysical surveys,” says Jon Adams, a Professor of Archaeology at the University of Southampton and principle investigator on the sea floor mapping project, in a press release.
The ships are a fascinating bonus historic discovery from a map of the sea floor — and researchers think there’s incredible potential for more to be discovered.
Here’s what they have found.