Archaeologists have discovered three Byzantine anchors off the coast of Sevastopol

One and a half thousand years under the water. The expedition of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences discovered three ancient anchors off the coast of Sevastopol. Underwater archaeologists work on the basis of the Center for Marine Research and Technology of Sevastopol State University. Their research area is a section of the North-Western water area of ​​the Crimean coast, from the village of Chernomorskoye to the Sevastopol Bay. Two anchors of the Byzantine period have now been raised to the surface, the researches are being studied and preserved. A month later, scientists have to raise another one from the bottom.

Ekaterina Kolomiets, correspondent: “The ship’s anchor, due to its special purpose – to save lives – has long been considered sacred from ancient times. In Latin there is the saying – sacram ancoram solvere, “save by the sacred anchor”. It seems that for the ships, whose anchors were discovered by underwater archaeologists in Sevastopol, these words turned out to be prophetic – the memory of them is alive even after 1,500 years. ”

It all began with this find, says the head of the expedition, a senior fellow at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Viktor Lebedinsky. The first anchor was discovered by local residents in the Belbek River mouth area a few months ago. The artifact was raised from the bottom and handed over to scientists. The place was examined – it turned out that two more similar ones were lying next to each other. Judging by the form, Byzantine vessels became these anchors.
“We dated from the fourth to the fifth century. That is, it was early Byzantium, 1,500 – 1,600 years ago. Most likely, we are dealing with shipwreck, when the ship was thrown ashore and further destroyed by waves. ”

From modern anchors this differs form. He has a long “spindle” and short “horns”. Discovered recently research expedition another anchor – a similar shape.

“You see, there is a” horn “with such a certain angle that it approaches the” spindle “. He has a certain break, and then comes to the spindle. Just this form and says that this is the early – IV-V century – Byzantine period “.
The anchor is covered with a sarcophagus – a calcareous outgrowth has been formed over many centuries, and this protects the artifact from destruction. Now the anchor is in the sea water, but soon after it is drawn, photographed and weighed, the find will be moved to a special solution of fresh water with sodium carbonate. This will ensure safety, says Victor Lebedinsky.

“These anchors, especially metal ones, in the event that they are raised and not stored in water or in special solutions, they simply collapse. Because the metal that has lain in the water for a hundred years, and even more so, a half thousand, there is simply oxide left from the metal. And it collapses very quickly. The sarcophagus bursts, the metal collapses, and from the find, literally in a few months – up to a year – there is almost nothing left. ”

This anchor was discovered by the master of Sevastopol State University Sergei Ivanov. In 2017, 38 students took part in the expeditions.

Dmitry Tatarkov, director of the Center for Marine Research and Technologies of Sevastopol State University: “We use the technical means already in service with our Center – small-sized boats, we are certified as a station for small boats.
Diving equipment, which we have, which allows you to go down to 60 meters. Also now, according to the university development program, serious technique comes to us – underwater robots of the inspection class, very serious, heavy, which will allow searching objects with depths up to 350 meters. This, believe me, is a serious technique. ”

The researchers will have to raise another, third, Byzantine anchor off the coast of the village of Lyubimovka – they will start work in January. According to Dmitry Tatarkov, the finds will be transferred to the funds of the museum “Chersonese Taurian”.