London, Feb 16 (ANI): The discovery of one of the world's oldest shipwrecks, dating back to 3,000 years, has shown that European trade was thriving even in the Bronze Age.
According to a report in the Telegraph, the wreck was found in just eight to ten metres of water in a bay near Salcombe, south Devon, UK, by a team of amateur marine archaeologists from the South West Maritime Archaeological Group.
The trading vessel was carrying an extremely valuable cargo of tin and hundreds of copper ingots from the Continent when it sank.
The team has recovered a total of 295 artefacts so far, weighing a total of more than 84kg.
The cargo recovered includes 259 copper ingots and 27 tin ingots.
The discovery reveals the high level of sophistication maritime trade in Europe had reached, even in ancient times.
Tin ingots from this period have not been found in Britain before.
A bronze sword and three gold wrist bracelets, known as torcs, were also found at the spot, not far from the famous "'Salcombe Cannon"' wreck, which was discovered in the 1990s.
The team has not found any of the new ship's actual body, which is thought to have perished.
However, it is likely to have been powered with paddles and had a crew of around 15.
The team first got their first hint about the ancient haul down below when just small pieces of copper were found.
According to engineer Jim Tyson, who took part in the dives, "You have something in your hands that had not seen the light of day in 3000 years. The last person to do so must have died in the shipwreck."
"It shows definite communications and trade - these people were trading as we would these days," he said.
Experts at the University of Oxford are analyzing the cargo to establish its exact origins.
"It is an incredibly exciting find. What we have here is really, really good evidence of trade. We don't get many shipwreck sites," Ben Roberts, A British Museum Bronze Age expert, told the Sunday Telegraph.
"It is very rare to get a snapshot of this level of activity. It is very possible there were also animals and people going across the Channel too," he said.
"We hardly ever get to see evidence of this cross Channel trade in action. It is a huge amount of cargo," he added. (ANI)