In the last days of 2022, on December 23, a team of the Center for Underwater Archeology (CPA), led by the director ch. assistant Dr. Naiden Prahov, managed to retrieve from the bottom of the Bulgarian Northern Black Sea two iron ship cannons and dozens of ammunition more than 200 years old. The rescue expedition took place over thirty hours in difficult conditions such as low visibility, cold waters and complex technical logistics.
The expedition is part of a long-conceived and successfully implemented project of the CPA and the National History Museum with scientific consultant Prof. Dr. Ivan Hristov, deputy director of the museum. The cannons were discovered by Dr. Prahov in 2021 at the suggestion of Dr. Damian Damyanov, but only at the end of last year, thanks to the support of the Ministry of Culture, the ship’s artifacts were saved and transferred to the National History Museum.
For the successful implementation of the project, the Deputy Minister of Culture Assoc. Prof. Dr. Plamen Slavov and Mrs. Ekaterina Djumalieva, director of the Directorate of Cultural Heritage, Museums and Fine Arts in the Ministry of Culture, have personal merit. The team of divers also received assistance from the director of the Historical Museum in Kavarna, Mr. Penko Georgiev, and Border Police officers.
According to initial analysis, the cannons are dated to the end of the XVIII – beginning of of the XIX century. They were part of the armament of a three-masted ship of the line that sank under unknown circumstances north of Cape Kaliakra. For security reasons, the exact location of the objects is being kept secret.
In addition to underwater exploration and retrieval of the cannons from the bottom of the Black Sea, the tasks of the project include radiographic examination and preservation of the shipwrecks in the Central Laboratory of Conservation and Restoration of the National History Museum.
In 2023, the cannons and other parts of the ship’s inventory will be exhibited in the lapidarium of the National History Museum. According to Prof. Ivan Hristov, thanks to the good cooperation between the Center for Underwater Archeology and the museum, the area of the lapidarium, representing the maritime archaeological wealth of Bulgaria, will be enriched and expanded. The National History Museum has the largest collection of anchors and stocks. The latest maritime artefacts mark the beginning of a collection of Western European, Russian and Turkish naval armaments found at the bottom of the Black Sea