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Archaeologists discover 3,600-year-old shipwreck that sunk in a storm

Mirror logo Mirror 2019-04-12 Tom Davidson
underwater view of a coral: ANTALYA, TURKEY - APRIL 5: An underwater photo shows a 14 meters long submerged ship with copper ingots in it belonging 1600s BC in Antalya, Turkey on April 5, 2019. (Photo by Tahsin Ceylan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) © Getty Images ANTALYA, TURKEY - APRIL 5: An underwater photo shows a 14 meters long submerged ship with copper ingots in it belonging 1600s BC in Antalya, Turkey on April 5, 2019. (Photo by Tahsin Ceylan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Archaeologists may have found the world's oldest shipwreck after unearthing a trade vessel from 3,600 years ago off the coast of British holiday favourite Antalya.

These pictures show the remains of the 14-metre (46-foot) bronze age wooden boat, thought to date back to around 1600 BC that was found 50 metres (164 feet) off the coast near the city of Antalya in southern Turkey's Antalya Province.

The boat, which contained 1.5 tonnes of copper ingots, was found by frogmen researchers from Antalya University's Underwater Research Department.

a coral in the water: Antalya Governor Munir Karaoglu hailed the discovery as a “breakthrough” © Getty Images Antalya Governor Munir Karaoglu hailed the discovery as a “breakthrough” Archaeologist Hakan Oniz said: "From the typology of the bullion, we determined the shipwreck was one of the merchant vessels of the 16th century BC.

underwater view of a swimming pool: An underwater photo shows a diver is seen at a 14 meters long submerged ship © Getty Images An underwater photo shows a diver is seen at a 14 meters long submerged ship

"We have broken fresh ground in underwater archaeology thanks to these findings."

Researchers determined the amount of bullion on board by carrying out three-dimensional scans of the shipwreck via sonar surveys, photographic mosaic and photo-scanning.

Preliminary research suggests the copper came from mines on the island of Cyprus and was being transported to Aegean shores or the island of Crete when the boat sank.

Mr Oniz said the boat could well be the oldest trade ship ever discovered.

a close up of a coral: The 14-meter (46-foot) shipwreck is loaded with copper ingots © Getty Images The 14-meter (46-foot) shipwreck is loaded with copper ingots

He added: "It was probably caught in the middle of a storm while travelling to the Aegean region from Cyprus.

"It was carrying a cargo of copper bullion and the type of that bullion helped us date the ship."

He said the university now planned to form a team with local and international experts for a five-year project to further investigate the wreck.

Antalya Governor Munir Karaloglu said the discovery was groundbreaking, describing it as the 'Gobekli Tepe' of the underwater world.

a close up of a flower garden: Artifacts from the shipwreck will be carefully removed and eventually put on display © Getty Images Artifacts from the shipwreck will be carefully removed and eventually put on display

Gobekli Tepe, an archaeological site in southern Turkey's Sanliurfa Province, includes the world's oldest known temple which predates Stonehenge by 6,000 years.

Mr Karaloglu said artifacts from the shipwreck would be carefully removed and eventually put on display at a new museum in the Kemer district of Antalya Province.

The Uluburun shipwreck, also found off the shores of Antalya Province, dating back to 1400 BC, was previously believed to be the world's oldest known shipwreck.

a fish swimming under water: The discovery is remarkable © Getty Images The discovery is remarkable If confirmed, the new shipwreck will also be older than a 2,400-year-old Greek merchant ship found off Bulgaria's Black Sea coast last year which has been described as the world's oldest known intact shipwreck. 

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