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Well-preserved wooden Roman ship found at Black Sea bottom off Crimean coast

It is the first Roman vessel found in Crimea in such an excellent condition, according to Roman Dunayev, who leads the Neptune underwater expeditions

SIMFEROPOL, August 7. /TASS/. A well-preserved ancient wooden ship, presumably dating back to the Roman period, has been found off the coast near Crimea’s Balaklava, Roman Dunayev, who leads the Neptune underwater expeditions, told TASS on Tuesday.

"We have found an ancient wooden sailing ship with a well-preserved anchor. The anchor suggests that the ship can be preliminarily dated to the Roman period. If it turns true, it is a unique find as it is the first Roman vessel found in Crimea in such an excellent condition," he said.

The ship, in his words, was discovered at a depth of 90 meters at the bottom of the Black Sea near Balaklava. "The ship has retained its shape due to the unusual conditions at great depths in the Back Sea, with almost no light or oxygen," he said.

The site is now being surveyed by archeologists 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.