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Black Sea flood evidence?


(September 2000)


An article in Science in 1998 suggested that there could be a simple historical explanation for the flood legends which abound in cultures located around the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. In 1997, oceanographers William Ryan and Walter Pitman suggested that rising sea levels in the Mediterranean around 7500 years ago may have broken through the Bosporus strait to plunge down into a freshwater lake, lying at a much lower level, producing an apocalyptic flood that may well have inspired legends such as the floods of Noah and Gilgamesh.


Dredging of the Black Sea earlier this year seemed to confirm that suggestion when an ancient beach was dredged at a depth of 170 meters (550 feet) and analysis revealed freshwater mollusks dated to 7500 years ago and saltwater species, dated to 6900 years ago.


A new report during September describes the results of an undersea search. Brief details are available on the Web at the moment through, or more directly at, indicating that the work took place at "more than 300 feet"and "12 miles off the coast of Turkey", in other words, at about 100 meters, some 20 km from the coast of Turkey.


The area of sea floor was chosen by a sonar survey, and Robert Ballard, best known for using the same technology to find the Titanic, the Bismarck and two Phoenician ships, has collected some grainy images of what may be a Neolithic house. Ballard says the pictures show hewn beams, stone tools and ceramics. The searchers have retrieved several objects which will be brought ashore and put to further tests.