Conny Waters - AncientPages.com - A spooky, ancient underwater graveyard located thousands of feet below the Black Sea may solve the mystery of the Biblical Great Flood and Noah’s ark.
While conducting oceanographic research, using a pair of underwater remote operated vehicles (ROVs) scientists discovered an ancient site that contains 60 perfectly preserved vessels dating back as far as 400 B.C.
Located off the coast of Bulgaria, near the town of Nessebar, the underwater shipwrecks were discovered in 2016. Research on the ships is ongoing, and advanced imaging technology can now provide a true picture of the bottom of the sea.
Using remote operated vehicles (ROVs), archaeologists have revealed pieces of ancient history never before seen in such vivid resolution. Credit: Model - Rodrigo Pacheco-Ruiz
Archaeologists know ancient civilizations traded along the Black Sea coastline, but some questions still remained unanswered.
“We knew from historical sources that there had been colonization of the Black Sea coast, from Greece, from the Mediterranean, but we hadn’t discovered anything like ships. Why? Where are they? What are the reasons we hadn’t found them?” Zdravka Georgieva, maritime archaeologist at Bulgaria’s Centre for Underwater Archaeology said.
By studying underwater soil samples near the Nessebar shipwrecks, scientists hope to shed fresh light on the Noah's flood theory.
The story of the Biblical Great Flood and Noah has been a controversial topic, but there are many scientists who think these were real events.
Some of the details of the Noah story seem mythical, so many biblical scholars believe the story of Noah and the Ark was inspired by the legendary flood stories of nearby Mesopotamia, in particular "The Epic of Gilgamesh."
These ancient narratives were already being passed down from one generation to the next, centuries before Noah appeared in the Bible.
According to biblical archaeologist Eric Cline, the earlier Mesopotamian stories are very similar where the gods are sending a flood to wipe out humans.
"There's one man they choose to survive. He builds a boat and brings on animals and lands on a mountain and lives happily ever after? I would argue that it's the same story."
The story of the Great Flood can be found among all ancient cultures.
Fascinated by the idea that the story of the great Flood might be true, Robert Ballard, one of the world's best-known underwater archaeologists decided to look for traces of an ancient lost civilization that could reveal more information about the Deluge. Robert Ballard has on several occasions shown he has a talent for discovering "the impossible".
In 1985, using a robotic submersible equipped with remote-controlled cameras, Ballard and his crew hunted down the world's most famous shipwreck, the Titanic.
Between 1999 and 2014, Ballard led an expedition to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean that was the first to comprehensively explore this shadow realm. With his crew, he discovered dozens of perfectly preserved vessels, including an Ottoman trading ship that contained human remains.
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“It was a good 15-year effort of mounting multiple expeditions, trying to show that the [ancient mariners were] much bolder than historians were giving them credit for – that they pursued direct deep-water trade routes, trying to show that they did not hug the coastline, but chose to go across open ocean.”
But both Georgieva and Ballard said deep-sea exploration provides new clues in another, perhaps even greater, mystery.
Some scholars suggest the Great Flood originated in the Black Sea 7,600 years ago. In the 2000 book Noah's Flood by William Ryan and Walter Pitman, marine geologists claimed they'd found the origin of the great flood that legend has it tore through ancient civilizations bordering the Mediterranean and Black Sea.
According to the authors’ theory, about 20,000 years ago the region today known as the Black Sea was a small freshwater lake cut off from the Mediterranean by a giant land bridge.
At the end of the last Ice Age, this bridge started to decay.
As only a few types of bacteria survive in Black Sea’s “anoxic sea”, shipwrecks can be preserved for millennia. Credit: Rodrigo Pacheco Ruiz
The Noah’s Flood theory claimed that as Earth’s last ice age ended, melting polar ice caps caused the Mediterranean waters to rise, which pushed a channel through the mountains to form what is now the Bosporus, resulting in a catastrophic seawater deluge 200 times stronger than Niagara Falls.
In months, it estimated, the Black Sea inundated a land mass the size of Ireland, flooding a mile a day.
Lack of scientific evidence makes most researchers reluctant to seriously consider this theory though.
Ass BBC reports, “Ballard, in 2000, hoped to shed light on Ryan and Pitman’s theory, when he discovered the pre-flood shoreline, and buildings from human civilisations that lived along it, 12 miles off the Turkish Black Sea coast. He believed these findings would back up the flood hypothesis.
Maritime archaeologists discovered the world’s oldest intact shipwreck (pictured), a Greek trading ship from around 400BC. Credit: Black Sea MAP
But Black Sea MAP points in a different direction, explained Georgieva. “The geophysicists and other specialists from the oceanographic centre in Southampton, say there’s no evidence to support this theory,” she said. “What we collected doesn’t prove this catastrophic flood. Data shows a more likely gradual sea level rising.”
With more data to be analysed, it supports the idea that the waters rose unnoticeably, by metres over centuries, even millennia.
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Still, Ballard calls The Black Sea a “magical place”, an area with “an amazing amount of history”, which has more to offer archaeologists and fans of historical legend than the Noah’s Flood connection.
“The Black Sea has that [the biblical connection]; it’s also were Jason and the Argonauts went in search of the Golden Fleece,” he added. “There’s so much more to be discovered in the Black Sea. I think you’re going to see the Black Sea yielding a lot of additional chapters of human history now we know where to look and how to look.”
The ghostly shipwreck graveyard is a "dead zone", where 60 ships from the time of Alexander the Great through to the 19th Century remain untouched by time.
Written by Conny Waters - AncientPages.com Staff Writer