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The Greek merchant ship is just one of more than 60 wrecks in the Black Sea discovered by an worldwide team of maritime archaeologists, scientists, and surveyors over the past three years.

The shape and design of the ship bear great similarities to that of a ship seen on the famous "Siren Vase" that resides in the British Museum. Experts have spent three years surveying over 772 square miles of the Black Sea in a search for shipwrecks.

More than 60 shipwrecks were discovered by the global team of maritime archaeologists with the second oldest being carbon dated to 200 AD. "The Black Sea is considered to be one of the world's finest underwater laboratories due to the anoxic (un-oxygenated) layer which preserves artifacts better than any other marine environment", explains the Project, on its website.

Edward Parker CEO of Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project, said: "Some of these ships have never been seen besides on murals and paintings".

"The project as a whole was actually looking at sea level change and the flooding of the Black Sea region. and the shipwrecks are a happy by-product of that", she told BBC radio. The vase depicts Homer's epic hero Odysseus, tied to the ship's mast in order to resist the sirens' songs.

Researchers with the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project are preparing to present the results of their three-year survey at a conference in London this week.

Southampton University joined efforts with the Julia and Hans Rausing Trust, Bulgaria's Centre for Underwater Archaeology in Sozopol, Sweden's Södertörn University in Stockholm, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and America's University of CT.

"This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world", he said.

The ship is thought to have been used as a trading vessel.

Thanks to the lack of oxygen at its depth over 2km below the surface, the 23-metre (75ft) vessel is remarkably unscathed.

The expansive project is the subject of a new two-hour documentary, premiering tonight at the British Museum, which is hoped to be broadcasted by networks across the world.

"Over 60 shipwrecks, varying in age from a 17th century Cossack raiding fleet, through Roman trading vessels complete with amphorae to a complete ship from the Classical period, were found across the 3 year period", the team wrote in a statement.


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