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Wooden Roman vessel found off Crimean coast dates back to II-III centuries

The scientists found an iron anchor which allowed them to make conclusions about the historic period

SIMFEROPOL, August 9. /TASS/. A wooden Roman vessel, found at the bottom off the coast near Crimea’s Balaklava, dates back to the 2nd or 3rd centuries and could have been used as a merchant ship, senior researcher Viktor Lebedinsky told TASS on Thursday.

Earlier, head of the Neptun underwater archeological expedition Roman Dunayev, told TASS that the first well-preserved ancient wooden ship presumably dating back to the Roman period had been discovered off Crimea.

"The discovered vessel, presumably dating back to the 2nd or 3rd centuries, rests at the depth of 85 meters and this is a wooden carcass," said Lebedinsky, who works at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The scientists found an iron anchor which allowed them to make conclusions about the historic period.

At the shipwreck scene there is a big mast with the diameter of more than half a meter. "The size of the discovered object is 22 meters long and 6 meters wide, what conforms to the size and proportions of the so-called "round ships" used during the Roman era as merchant vessels," he said.

The archeologists are surveying the site to find out when the ship sank.

The Neptune expedition, working from early May to late October and sponsored by the fund of presidential grants on the project "Crimea, the Crossroads of Civilizations," is tasked to examine various objects already spotted by archeologists at the Black Sea bottom and search for new artefacts. The expedition has more than 30 members, sonar operators and divers.

General Kotzebue off Crimean coast

Earlier, the expedition found more than ten paintings, some of them preliminarily attributed to famous Russian painter Ivan Aivazovsky, onboard the General Kotzebue steamship that sank some 12 nautical miles off Cape Tarkhankut in the western part of the Crimean Peninsula at the end of the 19th century.

Built in Great Britain in 1866 and named after Novorossia governor Pavel Kotzebue, the General Kotzebue was operated by the Russian Steam Navigation and Trading Company. It was the first steamer to pass through the Suez Canal in November 1869. The ship carried a large Russian delegation, with Ivan Aivazovsky among its members. The painter was supposed to depicture the opening ceremony and the canal. In April 1895, the General Kotzebue collided with another ship off Cape Tarkhankut and sank.