Greek Research Vessel Arrives in Bulgaria’s Port Varna for Underwater Archaeology Expedition in Black Sea

The Greek research vessel Aegeao is seen here anchored in Bulgaria's Port Varna for the start of its underwater archaeology expedition in Bulgaria's exclusive economic zone in the Black Sea. Photo: BGNES

The Greek research vessel Aegeao is seen here anchored in Bulgaria’s Port Varna for the start of its underwater archaeology expedition in Bulgaria’s exclusive economic zone in the Black Sea. Photo: BGNES

The Greek research vessel “Aegaeo" has arrived in Bulgaria’s Black Sea city of Varna for the start of an underwater archaeology expedition that will explore the Bulgarian exclusive economic zone, that is, the southwestern section of the Black Sea.

“Aegaeo" has arrived in Bulgaria’s Port Varna on Thursday, September 10, 2015, reports the Bulgarian news agency BGNES.

The research vessel is operated by Greece’s Hellenic Center for Marine Research (HCMR).

Last month, Bulgaria’s Council of Ministers has granted a formal permission to “Aegaeo" to carry out an underwater archaeology expedition in the Bulgarian territorial waters and exclusive economic zone in the Black Sea.

The Greek vessel “Aegaeo" is going to conduct underwater archaeology research in the southwestern section of the Black Sea which is under Bulgarian jurisdiction.

Its expedition will last from September 10 until October 14, 2015.

The scientists on the Aegaeo will map the Black Sea bottom using contemporary exploration techniques in order to identify any underwater archaeology sites and materials and to extract bottom samples in order to gather information about the evolving marine environment.

The underwater archaeology expedition of the Hellenic Center for Marine Research in the Black Sea is fully funded by the Center for Maritime Archaeology of the University of Southampton and the Education Foundation, a UK think tank.

In May 2015, the Sozopol-based Center for Underwater Archaeology at the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture and the Center for Maritime Archaeology of the University of Southampton started a large-scale Bulgarian-British project for exploring the underwater archaeology of Bulgaria’s exclusive zone in the Black Sea.

The archaeological exploration of the Black Sea could reveal a lot of exciting finds. Some scholars even think that it could provide answers about the story of the Biblical Deluge and Noah’s Arc as the Black Sea is believed to have been a fresh water lake until several thousand years ago.

A major rise in sea levels (some describe it as a one time flooding which led to the Deluge stories not just in the Bible but also in different ancient mythologies) which connected it with the Mediterranean over the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles is believed to have destroyed a high prehistoric civilization living along its west and northwest coast.

What is more, the Black Sea is unique because below 200 meters (60 meters in some parts) it has no oxygen but only hydrogen sulfide, therefore any underwater archaeology sites or sunken ships at greater depths are supposed to have been perfectly preserved.

Check out some of our other stories about underwater archaeology in Bulgaria’s Black Sea section as well as other parts of the Black Sea:

Bulgarian MPs Move to Protect Sunken Black Sea Ships as Underwater Archaeology Sites

Underwater Archaeology Harbors Great Tourism Potential for Bulgaria, Expert Says

Bulgarian, Romanian Archaeologists Find Sunken Wooden Ships, Soviet U-Boats in Underwater Explorations

Large Sunken Byzantine Ship Discovered in Black Sea off the Coast of Sevastopol on Crimean Peninsula