Image: Well-preserved wooden vessel
Petar Petrov  /  AP
Archaeologist Dimitar Nedkov, measures the length of a well-preserved wooden vessel, likely dating back to the prehistoric age discovered at the bottom of the Black Sea.
updated 11/29/2008 12:19:40 PM ET 2008-11-29T17:19:40

A well-preserved wooden dugout canoe, likely dating back to the prehistoric age, has been discovered at the bottom of the Black Sea, scientists said Saturday.

The vessel was discovered by fishermen trailing nets along the sea bottom some 15 miles off the coast, said Dimitar Nedkov, head of the Archaeological Museum in the port city of Sozopol.

"The dugout is 8.5 feet long and 27.5 inches wide, and it is made most probably of oak," Nedkov said.

Bulgarian explorers have found 4 ancient vessels in remarkably good condition in the Black Sea, whose oxygen-depleted deep water preserves wrecks without the worm damage and deterioration that normally affects wooden vessels.

"Nowhere else can you find similar dugouts, as well as any kind of wooden vessels over 300 years old, because water rots the wood away," Dimitrov said. "In the Black Sea, however, there is dissolved hydrogen sulfide below a certain depth which preserves all organic materials."

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