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Scientists Studying Sea Levels Stumble on ‘Astonishing’ Graveyard

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Archaeologists mapping the Black Sea floor found more than 40 shipwrecks in the course of their work, Quartz reports. The team, led by Jon Adams, a maritime archaeologist from the University of Southampton, has been trying to analyze how quickly the historic water level rose along the Bulgarian coast. While that might sound like gibberish to most of us, Adams says it’s a “hotly debated” topic in the maritime archaeology community. But in the course of conducting research on the seabed, the team discovered dozens of well-preserved, previously undiscovered shipwrecks. The vessels include ships from the Ottoman and Byzantine empires, and per a press release, “provide new data on the maritime interconnectivity of Black Sea coastal communities and manifest ways of life and seafaring that stretch back into prehistory.”

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“The wrecks are a complete bonus, but a fascinating discovery,” says Adams. “They are astonishingly preserved due to the anoxic conditions (absence of oxygen) of the Black Sea below (500 feet).” Adams says that several of the ships are the first-ever discoveries of ship designs that were known from secondhand sources but had never been seen, making them a valuable object of study for historians. The researchers used an advanced form of composite photography to create 3D models of the ships without disturbing the wrecks or the seafloor. “Certainly no one has achieved models of this completeness on shipwrecks at these depths,” Adams says.

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