Black sea treasures
Serhiy Voronov is head of the Department of Underwater Archeology of Ukraine; he not only works as administrator but organizes underwater archeological expeditions.
The southern shores of Ukraine are washed by two seas – the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. To scientists and to archeologists the Black Sea is a remarkable feature because its lower levels are, to all intents and purposes, almost biologically dead - not because of modern pollution but because of continued weak ventilation of the deep layers.
Oxygen is dissolved only in the upper water levels; below a depth of about a hundred meters (three hundred feet), there is no oxygen; in those reaches the sea is contaminated by hydrogen sulfide, which results in a saturated, gloomy, “dead” zone frequented only by adapted bacteria.
Such conditions at the bottom of the sea are ideal for preserving in an almost intact condition the ships that sank in the past millennia.
Not only the examination of the wrecks is of a great interest to historians – their cargos are of even a more valuable importance for archeologists and historians.
Underwater archeology in the Black Sea is a rather recent development but it has already rendered many exciting finds.