The world’s oldest intact shipwreck has been found in the Black Sea and archaeologists say it has been there for around 2,400 years. It is thought to be an ancient Greek trading vessel and its discovery, over 1 mile below the water’s surface, is not only an incredible find, it’s also something we’re very excited to know more about, as our award-winning ship ‘Aegean Odyssey’ will be returning to the Black Sea in 2019 on several history-rich sailings. 

The intact wreck – Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (MAP)  © Associated Newspapers Limited

The vessel is believed to be a Greek trading vessel which is very similar to one depicted on ancient Greek pottery, including the Siren Vase which is currently on display in the British Museum. The vase shows Odysseus’ voyage home following the Trojan War.

The find is one of 60 shipwrecks that have been discovered by a research team from the Black Sea Marine Archaeology Project. They have been working on a three-year, $19 million mission to explore the hidden depths of the Black Sea and have come across everything from a 17th century Cossack raiding fleet to Roman trading vessels, complete with amphorae. The 75-foot vessel was found in 2017 but was only confirmed as the oldest intact shipwreck in the world today, through carbon dating by the University of Southampton.

Jon Adam’s, the project’s chief scientist, is quoted as saying that the rudder and tiller of the wreck are still in place and that this find will completely change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world.

What the vessel may have originally looked like

Aegean Odyssey will be returning to the Black Sea in 2019 and sailing the very same waters that are currently being explored by experts. The recent find was made just 50-miles off the coast of Bulgaria, so it’s very possible that guests on our May 2019 ‘Black Sea & Greek Islands’ sailing will be cruising directly above several fascinating pieces of ancient history.

One of our guest lecturers for this sailing is Professor David Braund and since 1996 he has been Professor of Black Sea and Mediterranean History at the University of Exeter. His main area of research is the relationship between the classical cultures of the Mediterranean and the north, across Europe and Asia. He has travelled and lectured extensively all around the Black Sea coastlands. He now researches mostly in Athens and St. Petersburg.

Alex Motyl, another of our expert guest lecturers will also be sailing on this voyage and his talks will place focus on modern Greece and Russia, including Greeks vs. Ottomans: War and Ethnic Cleansing in the Making of Modern Greece and Turkey, 1821-1924, and The Black Sea as an Arena of Great Power Competition in the 19th-21st Centuries. With so many incredible talks on offer and now this fascinating find, which we will also be highlighting on the sailing, guests will be completely immersed in everything from the classical world to the present day.

Our ‘Black Sea & Greek Islands’ itinerary offers 9 included shore excursions and begins with a 2-night hotel stay in the ancient city of Athens, with included tours. Guests will then be transferred to Piraeus to embark Aegean Odyssey. Our award-winning small ship will sail in the early evening on May 4 and call to Patmos, Skiathos, Volos and Lemnos before entering the Black Sea. Guests will then have the chance to visit Odessa (overnight), Constanza and Varna. Disembarkation will be in Piraeus.

Black Sea & Greek Islands cruise

Aegean Odyssey will also be offering the Black Sea on her April 2019 ‘Grand Classical Greece & Black Sea‘ and May 2019 ‘Grand Black Sea & Southern Italy‘ sailings.