Team Finds Ancient Shipwrecks Florida State Teacher Part of Expedition

Article excerpt

TALLAHASSEE -- A ship set off on the Black Sea about 1,500 years ago, just about the time the Emperor Constantine moved the center of western civilization from Rome to nearby Constantinople.

It never reached another port and wasn't seen again.

Until now.

A Florida State University professor was part of a National Geographic Society expedition that found the ship, buried deep in the Black Sea.

And for reasons archaeologists can only theorize about -- reasons that may be linked to the biblical great flood -- the ship is intact.

"It looks as if it had just got off the dock," said Cheryl Ward, a nautical archaeologist with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Florida State.

The ship and three others found buried beneath the muddy surface of the Black Sea were perhaps the best-preserved ancient shipwrecks ever discovered. One had its wooden mast and stanchions still standing about 1,000 feet below the sea.

The find, reported during a news conference earlier this month in Washington, D.C., confirmed scientists' belief that there's a deep layer of the Black Sea that's deprived of oxygen.

Without oxygen to support wood-boring mollusks or other creatures that could consume wood, anything buried there would remain intact.

Some scientists think the presence of such an oxygen-free zone supports hypotheses about a "Great Flood" in the region, such as the one detailed in the biblical story of Noah.

The theory is that such a giant flood -- as temperatures rose after the last ice age -- would have spilled saltwater from the Mediterranean Sea into what was then a freshwater lake, where the Black Sea is. …


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