The Black Sea MAP is now entering its third season of underwater exploration of the Bulgarian area of the Black Sea and will continue its work offshore from the port of Burgas later this year which will see the final deep sea analysis of the sea floor.
The rich archaeological deposits within the Ropotamo area range in date from the late 4th millennium BC through to the 18th century AD. Evidence has been found there of an Early Bronze Age settlement, an Archaic Greek trading post, an Early Byzantine harbour settlement, a Medieval anchorage and the traces of a possible Ottoman Era shipwreck.
The Black Sea MAP team has been investigating all periods of human occupation represented on the Ropotamo site, to tell us how human civilisation has evolved; to determine the site’s changing function throughout its remarkable history of occupation; and to study it in a long term perspective tracing the course of its inundation and examining the relationships of its past human occupants with the sea.
The project is funded by the Expedition and Education Foundation (EEF). The team consists of scientists and students from the University of Southampton’s Centre for Maritime Archaeology, the Bulgarian Centre for Underwater Archaeology, the University of Connecticut, USA and the Södertörn University in Stockholm, Sweden.
High precision technologies are involved throughout every stage of this project. The excavations were preceded by detailed geophysical surveying and interdisciplinary data analysis, which pinpoint the most favourable locations for investigation. Digital photogrammetric recording takes place at each stage of work. Core sampling is occurring on site and along the Ropotamo river in order to acquire further data on coastal evolution and sea level change, particularly in relation to the prehistoric archaeological deposits.
The site was discovered in 1976 and was partially excavated by Bulgarian archaeologist prof. Ivan Karayotov in 1982 and 1989.
Dr. Kalin Dimitrov from the Centre for Underwater Archaeology, says:
“The project has given us the opportunity to explore many fascinating aspects of Bulgaria’s coastal and maritime history.
“The project celebrates the collaboration of multinational experts from various fields made available by an enlightened charitable body.
“We are really looking forward to being able to present our findings to the Bulgarian and international scientific and historical communities in 2018.”
Jon Adams, Professor of Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southampton, and Black Sea MAP’s principal investigator says:
“The Black Sea MAP continues to be the largest underwater archaeological venture of its kind in the world. Furthermore, this is the first time the Bulgarian waters of the Black Sea have been investigated on this scale, allowing the study of sea level change and its effects on past human societies.”
“Deep collaboration between the organisations involved in the Black Sea MAP has been crucial to the project’s successes.”
The Black Sea MAP (Maritime Archaeological Project)
The Black Sea MAP (Maritime Archaeological Project) seeks to further understanding of the origins of the Black Sea boundaries and how sea level change impacted early man. The three strands of the projects are the scientific exploration, promoting STEM subjects and careers, and filming a documentary about the expedition to reach as wide an audience as possible.
The scientific element of the project is led by some of the world’s preeminent marine archaeologists and maritime scientists from the UK, Bulgaria, Sweden, the US and Greece. Using a combination of marine-geophysics, sediment core sampling, and underwater exploration by manned and unmanned vessels, the expedition hopes to uncover the speed at which the sea level in the Black Sea rose at the end of the last glacial maximum.
The expedition’s STEM Scholar programme recruited 16 less advantaged students in 2016 and 2017 from schools in the UK to take part in educational programmes both on and offshore.
The expedition is being filmed by the award winning documentary team of Black Sea Films.