After three field seasons, the Black Sea Maritime Archaeological Project is drawing to a close, but the things the team has discovered on the sea floor will keep researchers busy for a generation. Over the course of the expedition, researchers found 60 incredibly well-preserved ships from the medieval, Roman, Byzantine and ancient Greek eras, which are rewriting what historians know about ancient trade and shipbuilding reports Damien Sharkov at Newsweek.
The project, begun in 2015, wasn’t originally about finding ancient ships. According to a press release, the team set out to use remote operated vehicles laser scanners to map the floor of the Black Sea off Bulgaria to learn more about the changing environment of the region and fluctuations in sea level since the last glacier cycle. But they couldn’t help but locate ships too. Last year, they found 44 ancient vessels during their survey representing 2,500 years of history. “The wrecks are a complete bonus, but a fascinating discovery, found during the course of our extensive geophysical surveys,” Jon Adams, principle investigator and director of the University of Southampton’s Centre for Maritime Archaeology, said at the time.