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nautical news and shipwreck discoveries


  • Ancient cannons discovered in Thua Thien-Huet

    Five ancient cannons, and some cannon balls have just been found in Thuan An port, Thua Thien Hue province.

    According to the Thua Thien-Hue Revolutionary History Museum, these five cannons and cannon balls were discovered by fishermen in Tan An village, Phu Vang district, Thua Thien Hue province.

    Nguyen Huu Hoang, a member of the Vietnamese UNESCO Antique Research and Collection Club, on May 22 bought the four brass copper cannons from fishermen.

    The cannons weigh 250kg each. Each cannon has designs around the top, the middle of the body and the end. The near-end part has Latin letters. Two cannons are 175cm long. The other two are 162cm in length.

    According to researcher Ho Tan Phan, these cannons date back to the Nguyen Dynasty (1648 – 1687).

    Deputy director of the Thua Thien-Hue Revolutionary History Museum theorised that these cannons could have been on ships of French or Spanish origin which were wrecked when attacking Hue imperial city in 1883.

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  • "Cursed" ring found on beach

    By John Garvey - Newbury Weekly News

    Could this mysterious, 3,000-year-old ring be part of the lost - and cursed - treasure of Tutankhamun ?

    It's owner, Markas Dove of Kintbury, certainly believes so. Since the ring was unearthed by a huge storm in 1987, Mr Dove has been offered a fortune for the ring, although bad luck has followed in its wake.

    Mr Dove said: "My dad found the band with a metal detector after the hurricane of 1987 removed about 10 feet off the beach at the Isle of Wight."It was about 18 inches down beneath the shingle, among the bedrock."

    Mr Dove revealed how everything went wrong for his father and mother following the discovery. He said: "Mum developed cancer almost immediately and they lost their home. Dad developed severe depression and nothing seemed to go right for them."

    The ring has since passed to Mr Dove, who took it to the British Museum to be authenticated. Elisabeth O'Connell, the research curator at the British Museum's Egyptology department, said:

    "The inscription suggests it belonged to either Tutankhamun or one of his inner court. "I would not like to try and put a figure on its value."

    She added that an early-20th-century shipwreck of a vessel carrying Egyptian antiquities was the most likely explanation for the find.

    Mr Dove said: "To be honest it has caused nothing but grief. I won't have it in the house now. It's in a friend's safe."

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  • Treasure hunters go bankrupt

    International treasure hunters who have been searching for colonial shipwrecks off the Jamaican coast under a license from the government have declared bankruptcy.

    US-based Admiralty Holding Company announced Thursday that it has ceased operations as it has been unable to get funding to continue its search and recovery efforts. A release from Admiralty states that it is in a dire financial condition.

    It says as of Wednesday it became legally insolvent and its ships have been seized by creditors.

    The release further states that Admiralty Corporation has been notified by its attorney in Jamaica that a conditional license may be granted to perform Verification & Identification of wrecks located on the Pedro Bank.

    In September 2003, the Jamaica National Heritage Trust, on behalf of the Government of Jamaica gave the Corporation the green light to begin an underwater archaeological treasure hunt in the Pedro Cays.

    The area is a known ship graveyard.

    It is believed that some of the richest colonial shipwrecks in the world, laden with gold and silver plus valuable gemstones and artefacts still lie on the ocean floor.

    Jamaica was expected to retain 50 per cent of the artefacts and treasures recovered.


  • £220,000 for scuttle relics

    Relics from German battleships sunk after the First World War were among a treasure trove that made over £220,000 at an auction yesterday.

    A ship's telegraph, clock, searchlight and parts of a porcelain dinner service salvaged from Kaiser Wilhelm II's fleet were sold in Edinburgh.

    They were among items from a huge collection of antiques housed on Orkney by Norris Wood and sold by Bonhams.

    The total of 580 lots went for around £223,680 - more than double the estimated proceeds. Seventy-four German ships were scuttled at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands in June 1919.

    Some salvaged items were stored by Mr Wood at his 17th- century home, Graemeshall House, overlooking Scapa Flow.

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  • Sunken treasure for sale on TV

    By Alan Sayre

    The Franklin Mint has purchased about 360,000 coins recovered from the wreck of El Cazador, a Spanish brig-of-war that sank in early 1784 during a storm in the Gulf of Mexico as it attempted to reach then-Spanish-controlled Louisiana.

    The cache will be offered for sale over a cable TV shopping network by the company, which usually produces its own lines of collectibles.

    Fishermen discovered the wreck off the state's coast in 1993 when coins were snared in a trawl. Franklin Mint acquired the coins from the salvagers.

    "Tales of shipwrecked treasure and dead man's gold have always fascinated us," said M. Moshe Malamud, chairman of Aston, Pa.-based Franklin Mint.

    The trove mostly consists of silver coins denominated in reales, commonly regarded as the predecessor to the peso. In their time, reales coins were an international currency, 8 reales trading equivalent to a U.S. dollar until U.S. currency laws of the 1850s banned them as legal tender.

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  • French court fines 4 divers for pillaging ancient shipwreck

    From the International Herald Tribune

    A court in this southern French city on Wednesday fined four divers for pillaging artifacts from a Roman ship dating back to the second century B.C.

    The divers were each fined €1,500 (US$1,980) for removing 30 objects, including about a dozen Roman vases, from the ship, lying in 57 meters (187 feet) of water off the coast of this Mediterranean port city. Two other divers were acquitted.

    The Roman vessel was transporting about 1,000 vases of wine from the western coast of Italy when it sunk off the town of Ciotat, some 40 kilometers (24 miles) from Marseilles.

    The convicted divers removed the booty between 2001 and 2005, years after the sunken vessel was discovered in 1984. They were not the only ones interested in the antique treasures.

    A 2005 inventory by authorities showed there were only 278 vases and other objects remaining on the boat out of an initial 1,000. Under French law, anyone who discovers a sunken ship must report it to authorities and it becomes part of France's state property.