Maritime explorer Bob Ballard is combing the floor of the Black Sea in search of the remains of ancient dwellings, which would buttress a new theory that a cataclysmic flood struck the region some 7,000 years ago—swelling the sea and eventually becoming the basis of the Noah story.


• If the thesis is correct, signs of human habitation should lie beneath the Black Sea. A 1998 expedition, says Ballard, reported “a series of features that appear to be man-made structures.”

• Ballard’s 1999 expedition revealed an ancient shoreline. Also found were shells from freshwater and saltwater mollusk species. Their radiocarbon dates support the theory of a freshwater lake inundated by the Black Sea some 7,000 years ago.

• “Now we’ve got to take it to the next level,” says Ballard. Ballard and his team will use sonar and remotely operated vehicles to search for evidence of human inhabitation, including buildings, pottery, and ships.

• producer Sean Markey is searching along with Ballard. Join him on the Black Sea via dispatches on the expedition's progress.


Sonar image courtesy of David Mindell.

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