Expedition: Black Sea Wrecks
By Melissa Camacho,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Historic maritime study locates amazing ancient shipwrecks.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Information about different ships from different historical periods. The process by which shipwrecks are documented, and the way sea beds are studied is also explained.
Hard work and perseverance help researchers find answers.
Positive Role Models
The researchers are mostly male, but there are female scientists on board. They come from different countries and cultural backgrounds.
Violence & Scariness
Brief thoughts about why and how ships sank, and the people who were lost, are shared, but offer little detail.
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Products & Purchases
Underwater discoveries are sometimes referred to as IKEA wrecks because they lay flat and look the same. Logos for Prada, Nikon, Apple, and shipping companies like Reach are visible, but not in a commercial context.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One scene shows someone lighting a cigarette.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Expedition: Black Sea Wrecks is a documentary series about a major scientific survey of the Black Sea, and the shipwrecks that were found as a result. There are brief conversations about how and why ships sink, and scientific facts that reject biblical stories about a great flood. Brand logos are visible incidentally, and a scene showing someone lighting a cigarette is shown. There's not much to worry about here, but the slow-moving presentation may not appeal to younger viewers, or those disinterested in the topic.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Expedition: Black Sea Wrecks
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What's the Story?
EXPEDITION: BLACK SEA WRECKS is a documentary series about an international team of maritime scientists who found the oldest series of ancient intact shipwrecks ever discovered. In 2015, the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (a.k.a. Black Sea MAP), headed up by Southampton University professor Jon Adams, began a three-year field study project designed to survey the seabed and learn more about how the sea went from a small, prehistoric freshwater lake to a much larger body of saltwater. But in 2017 the researchers, with the help of various Bulgarian archaeology institutes, locate and identify 65 intact shipwrecks, including one that dates back to 400BC. Their findings coincide with the history of the region, and offer new insight into ancient seafaring of long lost empires.
Is It Any Good?
This interesting series shows how maritime scientists surveyed the largely unexplored bottom of the Black Sea, which had gone largely unexplored during the Cold War. As they explore different wrecks, viewers can see also the impressive close-up footage of them, which remain well-preserved due to the deep water's lack of oxygen, or anoxic conditions. From 300 year old wrecks from the Ottoman Empire, to a 2700 year-old Greek vessel from the Classic period that is the oldest intact shipwreck discovered to date, each find serves as a historical touchstone from which data can be collected.
It's a bit methodical, and the historical information offered about the actual findings is limited. Some viewers may also take issue with the scientific rejection of the idea that there was a massive flood that led to the creation of this body of water, an event which has served as the inspiration for the Biblical story of Noah's Ark. Nonetheless, Expedition: Black Sea Wrecks reveals the ingenuity of the ship builders of the different periods, and other seafaring information that offers more insight into how people from the past thought, worked, and lived.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the Black Sea MAP. How long does it take to put together the time, equipment, and money to support an expedition like this? What things did they learn during the three year research period? What challenges did the team face throughout?
What does Expedition: Black Sea Wrecks reveal about the role maritime archeology plays in our efforts to understand human history and culture? How is information about ancient sea beds and sunken ships used to inform our understanding of ancient civilizations and how they lived on land?
- Premiere date: October 22, 2019
- Cast: Jon Adams, Kroum Batchvarov, Helen Farr
- Network: Max
- Genre: Educational
- Topics: History, Science and Nature
- Character Strengths: Curiosity, Teamwork
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: February 28, 2022
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