Divers have just uncovered the world’s oldest shipwreck.
A piece of obsidian was found off the coast of Naples.
The ancient volcanic rock gives us huge insight into the past.
Obsidian is not just the name of a stylish paint finish.
The dense, black volcanic glass was treasured in ancient times for making tools.
When fractured, the glass is incredibly sharp, ideal for knives, arrows and spears.
The piece found is the size of a large book and weighs 17.6 pounds (7.98 kg).
It might not seem like a big deal to find a piece of naturally occurring glass in the sea, but it has some exciting implications.
We have evidence that people used to travel by boat in the Neolithic period, which took place between 12,000 and 2,000 BC.
But such evidence is rare, as any wrecks from the wooden ships of the era would have eroded long ago.
As a piece of obsidian is unlikely to be found naturally in this area, we can assume it was being transported by boat.
So these divers have essentially discovered the oldest known shipwreck on Earth.
The artefact has markings on it, clearly showing that humans interacted with it.
Customers would have paid to chip off pieces from the obsidian, choosing a size to suit whatever they needed it for.
Thin pieces would be used for drilling while flat, sharp pieces were for skinning animals or making weapons.
Now, the divers will continue to scour the area for more evidence of a Neolithic shipwreck.
If found, it will be the first of its kind.
“The remains of a Neolithic hull in Mediterranean waters have never been found to date,” Mariano Nuzzo, a representative for the Naples metropolitan area said.
“It would truly be a very rare event, indeed unique.”
The obsidian was found close to Blue Grotto, a sea cave that the Roman emperor Tiberius used to use as a private bathing pool.
But to keep looters at bay, the exact location is being kept a secret.