Festivals, Conferences, Lectures

Festivals, Conferences, Lectures and Marine Presentation News

  • Les secrets révélés par l’épave de Phips...

    L’exposition estivale 2017 de la Société historique de la Côte-Nord sera centrée sur le sort des artefacts prélevés de l’épave du Elizabeth and Mary et les secrets qu’ils ont révélés. Photo Hélène Grenier

    De Charlotte Paquet - Le Manic

    Vingt ans après la fin des fouilles subaquatiques qui ont permis la découverte de l’épave du Elizabeth and Mary à Baie-Trinité, la Société historique de la Côte-Nord prépare l’exposition Phips, 1690 : vestiges de tempêtes pour faire connaitre le sort des artefacts prélevés et les secrets qu’ils ont révélés.

    En collaboration avec le Centre de conservation du Québec, la Société historique a bien l’intention de prouver que même 20 ans plus tard, l’épave continue encore et toujours de raconter l’histoire.

    Le navire Elizabeth and Mary faisait partie de la flotte de l’amiral William Phips. En novembre 1690 et à la hauteur de Baie-Trinité sur le fleuve Saint-Laurent, il avait été frappé durement par une tempête hivernale alors qu’il se dirigeait vers Boston à son retour de Québec. Trois autres navires étaient disparus lors du même événement.

    Tout l'article...







  • Captain Morgan…More than a myth

    Captain Morgan

    By Valerie Milano - Hollywood Today

    “That’s what that shipwreck really does.

    It allows us to kind of have this glimpse of not just Morgan but what was the atmosphere, what was the environment he operated in.”

    – Fritz Hanselmann, Lead Archaeologist on the found shipwreck that was the subject of new documentary, The Unsinkable Henry Morgan.

    This past Tuesday, January 15th, Downtown Independent hosted a special screening of the film chronicling eight women and men on their journey to discover evidence of the infamous Captain Morgan along the coast of Panama.

    Hanselmann is currently the Chief Underwater Archaeologist for Texas State University and was led to seek out the ship by his passion for uncovering the mysteries of history, especially those having to do with vessels lost at sea “It’s really fascinating – we’ve literally just scratched the surface.”

    Fritz Hanselmann on potentially linking items found on the expedition to Captain Morgan.

    Now, most of us have probably had a taste of Captain Morgan rum and noticed the distinguished figure on the label, unknowing of the origins behind it.

    Such was the case for Director Michael Haussman (The Last Serious Thing), who admittedly didn’t realize the spiced rum mascot was an actual person.

    Despite this or perhaps because of it, he was intrigued enough to take the project.

    After further research and assembling a team consisting of photographers, period costume designer and a Captain Morgan expert to name a few, Haussman helped weave a story together out of Hanselmann’s work.

    Full article...

  • Nevisian completes underwater archaeology workshop

    By Monique Washington


    Lemuel Pemberton recently returned to Nevis having completed a Capacity Building workshop for Underwater Cultural Heritage in the Caribbean.

    Pemberton was nominated by the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society to represent Nevis and St. Kitts at the underwater archaeology workshop held in Jamaica.

    The Workshop was sponsored by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in conjunction with the Jamaica National Heritage Trust and was held at Morgan’s Harbor hotel in Port Royal Jamaica from November 5-30.

    Other participating islands were host island Jamaica, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

    Pemberton informed The Observer that the workshop involved the first training of its kind in the region regarding people excavating or studying under water wrecks or any kind of artifact that might be under water in the Caribbean.

    “The underwater heritage of the Caribbean has not been studied in great detail. There is a whole lot out there, apart from the treasure hunting you might hear about; there are still a lot of ships and buildings or parts of buildings under the sea.

    UNESCO is trying to build a core of persons in the Caribbean so that this kind of thing can properly happen a little more in terms of underwater archaeology,” he said.

    Pemberton will collaborate with persons from Texas A&M College who have a wealth of experience in archaeology so that when they visit Nevis to study these wrecks he will be the local person to make sure certain excavating protocols are followed.

    Pemberton said that there are a number of sunken ships in the waters of St. Kitts and Nevis that persons have shown interest in studying.

    He revealed that there is currently a PH.D candidate from Texas A&M studying the underwater ship, HMS Soul Bay.



  • Divers mark end of Queen Anne's Revenge expedition

    Researchers led by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources’ Underwater Archaeology Branch recover a 2,000-pound cannon from the wreck of the pirate Blackbeard's ship

    From Hampton Roads


    A formal ceremony is marking the end of an eight-week expedition to recover artifacts from the ship believed to have belonged to Blackbeard.

    The ceremony is scheduled for today in Beaufort.

    The event highlights the conclusion of the expedition by archaeologists to recover artifacts from Queen Anne's Revenge.

    Since 1997, several of the cannons and more than 250,000 artifacts have been retrieved including gold, platters, glass, beads, rope, the anchor and several ballast stones.

    In 1717, Blackbeard captured a French slave ship and renamed it Queen Anne's Revenge. Blackbeard settled in Bath and received a governor's pardon.

    Volunteers with the Royal Navy killed him in Ocracoke Inlet in November 1718, five months after the ship thought to be Queen Anne's Revenge sank.



  • Shipwreck's jewellery reborn in exhibition

    Mikhail Lermontov

    From Voxy

    Amber jewellery salvaged from the sunken Russian cruise liner, Mikhail Lermontov, is reborn with a Kiwi twist in a unique exhibition at The Museum Hotel’s Billiard’s Room in Wellington from Monday October 29th.

    Lermontov: Lost and Found features 24 works designed by The Village Goldsmith’s multi-award winning creative director, Ian Douglas. Each piece infuses the Baltic amber jewellery with paua and gemstones.

    The Mikhail Lermontov ran aground on rocks near Port Gore, Marlborough Sounds 26 years ago.

    Mr Douglas says his vision of the exhibition is to preserve the character of the jewellery’s past but make original new works with obvious links to NZ.

    "The works are extreme statements; larger-than-life works intended to show jewellery as an art form. We want to create new life from these once lost gems."

    The opportunity to showcase the work arose from Ian’s friendship with the Lermontov’s salvor, respected businessman, Bill Day. Bill dropped the bag of amber off to his mate during the salvage process but, being too busy with other work, Ian put the bag to one side.

    It was some 25 years later, after a phone call from a Swiss client requesting a pendant that infused amber with paua, that Ian remembered his friend’s gift.

    "It was a bit of a ‘eureka’ moment" explains Ian Douglas. "The objects and their history are a wonderful resource for the development of these new pieces. We want to showcase our versatility and creativity with this exhibition."

    Bill Day - founder of company Seaworks and one of New Zealand’s most successful entrepreneurs - comments seeing the jewellery reborn in such an innovative way is fabulous.

    "The amber is significantly ‘Mother Russia.’ I’ve salvaged dozens of boats over the years, but the Lermontov was technically the hardest and deepest dive.

    It took considerable fortitude to do it, so to see this work so many years later brings back memories."

    Full article...

  • WHOI hosts public event - Titanic in 3D: An archaeological exploration


    From The Maritime Executive

    Titanic is an iconic shipwreck that has fascinated the public for a century.  But it also has a scientific and technological story to tell.

    On Saturday, Sept. 8, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will host a public event entitled “Titanic in 3D: An Archaeological Exploration.”

    The free presentations will be held at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., & 3:30 p.m. in Redfield Auditorium, 45 Water St., Woods Hole. Reservations can be made online.

    The program is an opportunity to hear first-hand from members of a 2010 expedition to Titanic, including Jim Delgado, a marine archaeologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Bill Lange, the director of WHOI’s Advanced Imaging and Visualization Lab (AIVL), and his AIVL colleague Evan Kovacs.

    Their presentation will describe the effort to create the most comprehensive map of the wreck site and will include 3D video clips from their work to explore and “virtually” preserve Titanic.

    The work contributes to an effort by NOAA and the National Park Service, two U.S. agencies developing a “site formation plan” to tell the story of how the ship broke apart and where pieces of the ship fell to the seafloor. 

    The stunning imagery they will show was collected by the WHOI AIVL during "Titanic Expedition 2010," an effort funded by Premier Exhibitions, Inc., the parent company of RMS Titanic, Inc., and is part of RMST’s overarching work to advance ongoing efforts to preserve the wreck site as a cultural heritage site.

    Full story...

  • Archaeologists to explain underwater surveying techniques

    From the Saratogian


    National Park Service archaeologists conducting underwater surveys of the Hudson River in early August will be presenting general information about underwater archaeology techniques and equipment at a “discovery tent” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, during the Cardboard Boat Race at Fort Hardy Beach on Route 29 in Schuylerville.

    The team will also present preliminary findings in a public meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13, at the American Legion on Clancy Street in Schuylerville.

    The underwater surveys will take place in the Hudson River between Schuylerville and Saratoga National Historical Park in Stillwater.

    The archaeology team will be using a spectrum of non-invasive surveying techniques, including side-scan sonar, magnetometry and sub-bottom profiling, to assemble valuable data.


  • The story of the discovery of the bronze age boat

    From This Is Kent

    The second of four talks at Dover Museum marking the 20th anniversary of the discovery of the Dover Bronze Age Boat will feature Professor Mark Jones, head of collections at the Mary Rose Trust.

    Professor Jones was responsible for much of the conservation of the 3,500-year-old artifact – the world's oldest known sea vessel – which was unearthed in September 1992 by archaeologists from the Canterbury Archaeological Trust working alongside contractors on the widening of Townwall Street.

    Professor Jones worked with conservators from English Heritage to preserve the boat using techniques including impregnation with wax and freeze-drying.

    During the process the entire boat had to be transported in a refrigerated lorry to and from the Mary Rose labs in Portsmouth.

    Using research and experience gained in the conservation of the Mary Rose Tudor warship, recovered from the seabed off Portsmouth in 1982, Professor Jones and his team successfully stabilised and dried the delicate wet ancient wood of the Bronze Age Boat in about 12 months.



  • 150 years later, sunken ship still fascinates

    Students from the East Carolina University Program for Maritime Studies work on the ongoing conservation of artifacts from the Modern Greece shipwreck at the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the N.C. Division of Archives and History at Fort Fisher 
    Photo Mike Spencer

    By Ben Steelman - Star News Online

    More than 100 scholars and Civil War enthusiasts are expected to gather Tuesday at the University of North Carolina Wilmington for a symposium on one of the Lower Cape Fear's most famous shipwrecks.

    The symposium marks the 150th anniversary of the sinking of the blockade runner Modern Greece off Fort Fisher in 1862 and the 50th anniversary of its first excavation in 1962 by U.S. Navy divers.

    The Tuesday event is already a sellout, said Chris Fonvielle, associate professor of history at UNCW and one of the symposium's organizers. UNCW Media Productions is working to arrange a live feed of the sessions online.

    Members of the public, meanwhile, are invited to an open house at the state of North Carolina's Underwater Archaeology Branch, 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p,m. Wednesday at the branch's facilities, next to the Fort Fisher State Historic Site off U.S. 421 south of Kure Beach.

  • Treasure hunt

    Attending the school from Florida, Kristin Sweeting analyzes a rigging component from the British ship ‘HMS Invincible.’ 
    Photo Jeff Kessler

    By Jeffray N. Kessler - Grand Traverse Insider

    Day one of the 2012 International Nautical Archaeology Field School was described by Dr. Mark Holley as “basic training.”

    This is the third time Northwestern Michigan College has hosted the two-week event, and there is a reason for it.

    “NMC is unique in that it is the only academic Nautical Archaeological Society in the United States.

    We are the only school that teaches freshwater underwater archaeology on the great lakes,” explained Holley.

    For the next two weeks, Traverse City – and particularly the college – becomes the world vortex of nautical exploration education, including the latest in research and technology advances.

    Students come from across the country and cover a broad range of interests and ages. They are exposed to a variety of research disciplines and an international faculty of experts.

    Kristin Sweeting is one of this year’s students. She talked about her reasons for coming up from Florida for the school.

    Full story...

  • 'Jesus boat' archaeologist to speak in Yoakum

    Shelley Wachsmann, a professor of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M, was on the expedition in 1986 that discovered this boat, believed to date back to the time of Jesus. Wachsmann will be the guest speaker at the Aggie Muster in Yoakum on April 21

    By Sonny Long - Victoria Advocate

    A former Israeli paratrooper, an archaeologist and a university professor, Shelley Wachsmann is normally cool, calm and collected.

    But he admits to a rush of excitement that day in 1986 when it became evident a ship that had been unearthed by his excavation team was indeed very, very old.

    "I guess it was an even mixture of awe, joy and intense excitement," Wachsmann wrote of that moment in his book, "The Sea of Galilee Boat."

    "I felt as if the air had been knocked out of my lungs, like the feeling you have standing on a very high and steep snow-swept mountain, with bright sunlight reflecting in your eyes and cold, dry air burning your lungs."

    Wachsmann, a professor of biblical archaeology and the coordinator of the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University, will share his story of finding the biblical-era boat at the Yoakum A&M Club's Aggie Muster on April 21.

    "It was an amazing, and truly humbling, experience," Wachsmann said in an email interview. "Early on, we realized that we were not just discovering history, we were also making it by excavating the first ancient boat in the Sea of Galilee.

    "As the excavator in charge, I was constantly required to make decisions, any one of which could spell the destruction, or damage, to the boat.

    "Additionally, the boat almost immediately became a media event, with film crews from major media outlets constantly filming and interviewing us. This made me feel like I was living in a glass fish bowl," he said.

    Four years after the discovery of what is sometimes referred to as the "Jesus boat," Wachsmann joined the faculty at Texas A&M.

    "At the time, as an Israeli nautical archaeologist, I realized that the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University and its sister Institute of Nautical Archaeology, were leaders in the field," he said. "So when I was invited to join the faculty, first as a visiting associate professor, I thought that I had died and gone to heaven."

    The nautical archaeology program at Texas A&M is a source of pride for Wachsmann, who was named an associate professor in 1999 and promoted to professor in 2010.

    Full story...

  • Workshop to focus on underwater archaeology

    The Anthony Wayne, also known as the General Wayne, which sank in 1850, was found in 2006 about six miles off Vermilion, Ohio

    By Erica Blake - The Toledo Blade

    Before the Lake Erie coastline had cities, it had ships that transported people and goods -- including many vessels that sank to the lake's floor.

    Although this portion of Ohio history is of sight for many, Lake Erie's maritime past is still attainable.

    The Maritime Archaeological Survey Team, or MAST, is a nonprofit group of volunteers who study and document Lake Erie shipwrecks.

    Made up of scuba divers and land-based researchers, the group has a membership of more than 250 who research the ships and preserve the information for others.

    This weekend, the group has scheduled a workshop for those interested in helping survey these pieces of sunken history by teaching the basics in underwater archaeology.

    "It expands our understanding of our submerged cultural heritage," said Carrie Sowden, MAST coordinator and an archaeologist for the Great Lakes Historical Society.

    "That's a fancy way of saying, these areas of Ohio, their expansion doesn't exist without the lakes being there. And incumbent with that are shipwrecks."

    Ohio established a law protecting its shipwrecks in 1992.

    The law governs the management of certain "submerged property" and prohibits the uncontrolled recovery of items from the lake.

    Although the legislation protects the ships, the role of documenting Ohio's shipwrecks has been taken on by volunteers.

    Jack Papes of Akron joined MAST in 2003 during a quest to learn more about area shipwrecks.

    A scuba diver, Mr. Papes said he wanted to learn more about the shipwrecks that he glided above when he was under the water.

    Mr. Papes now shares his knowledge with new members as a speaker at the group's annual workshop.

    Full story...

  • Revisiting the dramatic story of HMS Drake

    From Coleraine Times

    The dramatic story of HMS Drake and its watery resting place off the coast of Rathlin Island is just one of the subjects in the spotlight at Flowerfield Arts Centre on Wednesday April 4, as maritime heritage authority Ian Wilson comes to Portstewart for an illustrated talk.

    The evening, which starts at 8pm, is being offered in association with Rathlin Island Books, who have just published the latest book by Ian, a former history teacher at Coleraine Inst.

    HMS Drake: Rathlin Island Shipwreck tells for the first time the full story of the sinking in October 1917 of the Royal Navy armoured cruiser, now forever associated with Rathlin Island and the north coast.

    Ian Wilson, the foremost authority on Ulster’s maritime history, whose publications include amongst others, Shipwrecks of the Ulster Coast, Donegal Shipwrecks, and Ulster’s Ships and Quaysides has now focused his attention on HMS Drake, arguably the most famous shipwreck in Northern Ireland waters, lying in Church Bay, Rathlin Island.

    Accompanied by historic and contemporary stills and moving images, Ian will be presenting a look back over his career charting the role of ships, shipwrecks and maritime culture in the context of their times, and today’s.

    The dramatic story of the day that some of the horrors of the Great War came to Rathlin’s quiet shores will be vividly brought to life:

    ‘A light westerly breeze is lifting early morning mist over calm waters… Kapitanleutnant Rohrbeck observes with sudden excitement a cruiser through his periscope. She has four tall funnels and two masts.

    Full story...

  • Shipwrecks Symposium draws record crowd

    Mike Babiski, of Grimsby, displays his John Date antique diving helmet at the Niagara Divers' Association's 18th annual Shipwrecks Symposium, held Saturday at Centennial Secondary School

    By Maryanne Firth -The Tribune

    It's the best place for divers — aside from the water, of course.

    The 18th annual Shipwrecks Symposium hosted by Niagara Divers' Association drew a record crowd to Centennial Secondary School on Saturday.

    More than 500 people attended the day-long event, which featured a wealth of impressive speakers well-known to the scuba-savvy community.

    "It's a record day," said organizing committee member Ian Marshall, adding this is the first time in its lengthy history the event has cracked the 500-person mark.

    He chalks it all up to the calibre of speakers that were on this year's program, including the likes of Jill Heinerth, a pioneering underwater explorer and award-winning filmmaker, Robert Osborne, an avid diver and senior field producer for the CTV documentary program W5, and Mike Fletcher, known for his work as dive co-ordinator for the series The Sea Hunters on National Geographic Channel, as well as for lending his expertise to other broadcasters such as History Television and Discovery Channel.

    Presenters covered a variety of topics, including water conservation, underwater photography, and, of course, experiences with the wealth of shipwrecks found in the Great Lakes and beyond.

    Along with the intriguing topics, Marshall believes the unusually warm spring temperatures helped encourage the increase in attendance.

    The warm weather is a reminder the dive season is nearing, he said, and people begin to get anxious.

    Some have even put their wetsuits on and taken a dip already thanks to Mother Nature's warmer-than-normal season opening.

    People travel from as far as Newfoundland, Calgary, and even England to attend the symposium, which Marshall calls the "only one of its kind."

    It's the only symposium that focuses mainly on shipwrecks, he said, and it does so because of its proximity to the Great Lakes — where the "best wreck diving in the world" can be found.

    For many people, the event is an annual tradition that unofficially kicks off the approaching dive season. About 60% of the crowd, on average, returns years after year.

    While there are always a number of recognizable names on the registration list each year, this time around there was an increased number of new faces in the crowd — a sight the association is always happy to see.

    Full story...

  • Shipwreck hunter discusses wrecks he found in 2011

    By Don Gardner - Macomb Daily

    Ross Richardson has spent the last decade searching for and documenting shipwrecks off the coast of west Michigan.

    His hobby has been made much easier with recent advancements in side-scan sonar technology. But that technology, Richardson fears, may, 10 years from now, render his hobby obsolete.

    The Lake Ann resident discovered three still unidentified wrecks off Sleeping Bear Point, near the Sleeping Bear Dunes in 2011.

    They were all discovered about one-half mile from each other in 12-20 feet of water fairly close to the shoreline.

    He believes the wrecks were recently uncovered due to shifting sands in the area that were uncovered during a storm, and he happened to be in the right place at the right time.

    Sleeping Bear Point is subject to numerous landslides, which probably helped bury the wrecks for years. He believes they all wrecked in the area sometime in the 1850s to the 1890s.

    Richardson has not found any cargo at any of the sites, but because the wrecks are in such shallow water, salvagers probably recovered the cargo a long time ago.

    Full story...

  • Deep sea archeologist, explorer recruiting in Chattanooga

    Dr. Robert Ballard, well known as the ocean archaeologist who discovered the shipwrecked Titanic, said the largest areas of our planet have yet to be explored


    By Mary Barnett - Nooga


    Deep sea explorer Dr. Robert Ballard may be best known for his underwater shipwreck discoveries including the Titanic in 1985, the German battleship Bismarck in 1989, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Yorktown in 1998 and the wreck of John F. Kennedy's PT-109 in 2002.

    But he told Chattanooga area high school students Thursday morning during a talk at UTC that he was most envious of the discoveries they would make in their lifetimes.

    "Your generation is going to explore more of our planet than all previous generations combined," he told the students.

    Ballard was in town for two speaking engagements as part of the Tennessee Aquarium's Our Blue Planet speaker series. Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, is the next scheduled speaker on Sept. 6.

    The series is part of a grant the aquarium received from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) three years ago.

    "One of the components of that grant was to conduct a community lecture series that brings scientists from around the country and the world into Chattanooga to expose our community to an awful lot of environmental opportunities and information," Charles Arant, Tennessee Aquarium president and CEO, said in his opening remarks.

    Ballard has spent much of his acclaimed career exploring vast underwater mountain ranges that no one knew existed when he was still in high school. 

    Ballard said his next greatest discovery is the one he is about to make.

    "But I can't tell you what it is because I haven't a clue," he said.

    His message throughout the hourlong talk underscored America's need for future scientists. He opened the discussion by openly stating he was there to recruit.

    Full story...

  • Pyrates to host shipwreck lecture

    From Santa Rosa Press Gazette

    The Blackwater Pyrates are sponsoring a lecture featuring Dr. Della Scott-Ireton of West Florida Archaeology Network and Dr. Brian R. Rucker of Pensacola State College.

    Dr. Scott will speak on shipwrecks of the Blackwater River and Dr. Rucker will speak on lumber mill history.

    Dr. Scott specializes in maritime archaeology and will cover the extensive maritime history of our waterway, the Blackwater River. Blackwater River is home to over 18 sunken vessels. From the Tampa Ferry in the south end of the river to the Blackwater Bethune schooner at the north end you will be transported to the 1800’s when Milton and Bagdad were prosperous mill towns.

    Dr. Rucker will speak on the numerous lumber mills that were once located in and around the Blackwater River basin. Dr. Rucker is a professor of history at Pensacola State College and has authored numerous books including Treasures of the Panhandle: A Journey through West Florida, Arcadia: Florida’s Premier Antebellum Industrial Park and Image and Reality: Tourism in Antebellum Pensacola.

    Several local organizations have been invited to display information and artifacts pertaining to their organization. Scheduled to participate are the Bagdad Village Preservation Association, Santa Rosa Historical Society, Arcadia Mill, Coast Guard Auxiliary and Bagdad Waterfronts Florida Partnership.



  • Yes, he discovered the Titanic. No, he doesn’t want to talk about it

    Robert Ballard, speaking at the Explorers Club in Manhattan on Wednesday, is intimately identified with the Titanic since he found the wreckage of the ship

    By Patrick Mcgeehan - City Room

    Robert Ballard has made quite a few notable discoveries in deep waters around the world in the last 27 years. But most people still want to hear him use the T-word.

    He will do it, as he did for about half an hour on Wednesday at the Explorers Club in Manhattan, but he does not have to like it. Indeed, the stated purpose of his appearance was to promote a coming exhibition in Mystic, Conn., that will be devoted to his discovery on Sept. 1, 1985, of the wreckage of that most famous of ocean liners. You know, the really big one.

    The one that hit an iceberg.

    Oh, all right. Yes, yes, it’s the Titanic again.

    Mr. Ballard, the great explorer of the seas, is lending his name and his expertise to yet another attempt to capitalize on the public fascination with a century-old shipwreck.

    Now 69, he would rather talk about another ship, one that floats and which he plans to use to survey the sea floor of the South Pacific. But he knows that there will be no escaping the Big T this year, the 100th anniversary of its sinking.

    James Cameron is re-releasing his blockbuster movie about it in 3D. There will be a winner-take-all auction of artifacts from the ship at Guernsey’s, the Manhattan auction house. Another attraction dedicated to the ship is about to open in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where the ship was built.

    When the planners of the exhibition in Mystic, which is scheduled to open in April to coincide with the anniversary of the Titanic’s striking an iceberg, approached him for help documenting his find, Mr. Ballard recalled, “I had put a lot of that out of my mind and moved on.”

    Full story...

  • Diver to present show on deadly shipwreck at Maritime Museum in Beach Haven NJ

    From AP

    Mike Boring will give a presentation on the Wilhelm Gustloff at the NJ Maritime Museum at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13.

    The Wilhelm Gustloff was a German liner loaded with refugees and military personnel that was sunk in January, 1945 by a Russian submarine in the Baltic. Between 7,500 and 9,000 perished, making it the deadliest shipwreck in history.

    While Boring was living in Germany a number of years ago, he organized a trip to the Poland to dive the wreck. We ended up making three dives on the wreck and captured some good images.

    “It's a tragic, fascinating story and most people have never heard of the wreck.” he said.

    The NJ Maritime Museum is located at 528 Dock Road, Beach Haven. Reservations are required. Donation in lieu of admission fee requested.

    Light refreshments will be provided.

  • Archaeologists, treasure hunters clash at meeting

    By Larry Bernard - Sun Sentinel

    Marine archaeologists and treasure hunters met Thursday with some bitter words for each other, as the two sides tried to find a middle ground in the salvaging of shipwrecks for personal profit or scientific study.

    Many top names in marine archaeology are at the Pier 66 Hotel in Fort Lauderdale for four days of a symposium that brings together sport divers, scientists and treasure hunters to discuss developments in the field and to air differences.

    Chief among them is the find last month of the Nuestra Senhora de Atocha, which sank in a September 1622 hurricane off Key West. Treasure hunter Mel Fisher, searching 16 years for the Spanish galleon, claimed a mother lode of $400 million.

    But several in the scientific community lambasted Fisher and his chief archaeologist, Duncan Mathewson, for what they described as raping a valuable historical site without proper study.

    ``They say they are trying to do archaeology,`` said Peter Throckmorton, a marine archaeology pioneer. ``They`re not doing archaeology. Have you read Mathewson`s book? It`s a travesty. I wouldn`t give it a pass as a term paper.``

    Throckmorton, who unleashed a virulent attack against Fisher and his crew, called Mathewson the ``Atilla the Hun`` of salvagers. But Mathewson would not be baited.

    ``I`m not going to get into a shouting match. I`d rather do archaeology than talk about it. If that`s all they brought me here for, I`m going home.``

    But he stayed long enough to describe to an audience of mostly sports divers how the search for the Atocha became successful. He said that he has invited a team of outside archaeological consultants to help study the ship before reaping the harvest of gold and silver in its cargo.

    ``It is full of the most wonderful archaeological riches you`ll ever find on the seabed,`` Mathewson said, inviting divers to Key West to help map and salvage the wreck. Fisher, who was in Los Angeles, was scheduled to appear Thursday but could not make it. Instead, he is scheduled to talk at 7:30 p.m. today.

    It is that law that gave Fisher exclusive rights to his treasures, in wrecks off Key West and Vero Beach. Scientists want a new law, one that gives states control over wrecks, preserving those with historical significance. Congress is considering such a change, although experts at the symposium could not agree on how to define whether a shipwreck is significant.

    Full story...

  • Shipwreck hunter to talk in Muskegon

    Ross Richardson explores what he believes is a previously undocumented shipwreck off Sleeping Bear Point

    By Megan Hart - The Muskegon Chronicle

    Muskegon ship lovers can be among the first to hear about three wrecks discovered near Sleeping Bear Point last fall.

    Shipwreck hunter Ross Richardson, of Lake Ann, found three sunken ships he believes were previously undocumented while doing a sonar scan in shallow water last October after a gale.

    He will speak about his successful search for the “Westmoreland” and discovery of the other wrecks during the “Shipwrecks and Technology” day Saturday evening at the Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum, 1346 Bluff. The evening speakers start at 7:30 p.m.

    Richardson announced the discovery Friday at the Almira Township Library in Lake Ann. He said he found four ships in between 15 and 22 feet of water, within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore waters.

    “Only one, the schooner 'James McBride,' is a previously documented shipwreck, according to my research,” Richardson said in a statement.

    Shallow water wrecks are often difficult to find and identify because sand moves to cover and uncover them, and ice and rough waves may damage the ships. Typically, usable equipment was also removed shortly after they sank, Richardson said.

    One of the wrecks defied the odds, though, and has much of its equipment still intact.

    Full story...

  • Underwater treasure talk at Sidmouth

    The Salcombe Hoard, circa 1300 to 850 BC

    By Diana Bowerman - Sidmouth Herald


    A weekend television programme has highlighted the first of a series of talks to be given at Kennaway House in November.

    It was during BBC TV’s Ancient Britain, that Ffiona Eaves, organiser of the series, realised the connection during a trailer for Update on History: South and East Devon, the title for this season’s three talks.

    She said: “Watching shots of divers picking up 3,000 year old copper ingots and a bronze sword from the sea-bed, I realised that these are the very people who’ll be giving the first talk.

    “Devon divers, operating off the south coast, have made discoveries so important that they featured prominently in Neil Oliver’s programme as evidence of international trade routes as far back as 1,000 B.C.”

    Two members of the diving team will talk about these finds, and later sea-bed discoveries such as a 17th century galleon stacked with Islamic coins and jewellery, on Friday, November 4, at 7.30 p.m. at Kennaway House.

    Ron Howell and Andy Elliott of the The South West Maritime Archaeological Group (SWMAG) will talk about 3,000 years of History from the Sea and team members will be present from 7pm to meet the public with display boards showing their work.

    Full story...

  • Under the sea off Maui ... WWII reminders lie

    By Ilima Loomis - The Maui News

    Maui's sunken history, including the wrecks of World War II-era planes and landing craft, will be explored in a presentation Thursday.

    University of Hawaii students learning underwater archaeology have spent the past two weeks diving, surveying and drawing the sites off South Maui, several of which have not been closely studied before.

    Their work could be used to monitor the condition of the sites, and to help local divers learn more about the wrecks and understand why they need to be preserved, said Hans VanTilburg, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maritime archaeologist who has been leading the project.

    "These are great sites, and I'm glad Maui has these kinds of historical resources," he said. "You guys are lucky."

    VanTilburg will give a lecture on "History Below the Waves" at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, located at 726 S. Kihei Road. He will present the results of the students' work as well as photos of the project and sites.

    Through the project, NOAA and UH staff, along with six students from the UH Marine Option Program, have dived to wrecks off South Maui that date to the 1940s. While all of the wrecks are previously known sites, "they haven't really been drawn in detail before," VanTilburg said.

    The drawings and surveys of the sites will be used to establish a "baseline," documenting how the sites' condition changes over time, and how they deteriorate either due to natural causes or human looting.

    "The maps they're doing are a record of the site, a snapshot," he said.

    The students, including two from University of Hawaii Maui College, one from the Big Island and three from Oahu, are studying maritime archaeology field techniques. Before getting to work on the historic sites, they went to a sunken sailboat off Maalaea to practice their underwater drawing skills, VanTilburg said.

    "The rest of the sites are all World War II era," he said.

    They include two sunken aircraft, a Hellcat and a Helldiver, and two amphibious landing craft.

    Because of Hawaii's role as a training site for the U.S. military during World War II, the islands' have a wealth of sunken ships, landing craft and planes, many of which have still not been discovered, VanTilburg said.

    Full story...

  • Underwater archeology

    From The Evening News

    C. Patrick Labadie, Historian for the NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena, will speak at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum on June 18, at 7 p.m.

    The presentation will explore the evolution and importance of underwater archeology, while focusing on the numerous shipwrecks in the vicinity of Whitefish Point.

    Labadie served as the Principle Investigator for the 2008 Shipwreck Society Ghosts of the Shipwreck Coast underwater documentation project.

    Labadie’s role during the project involved a balancing act of precision site mapping, organization of images, video, and the maintenance of archaeological records.

    A native of Michigan, Labadie has served as Director of the museum ship SS Keewatin in Saugatuck, and also was Director of Duluth’s Canal Park Marine Museum for over 30 years. During his museum work, Labadie amassed over 60,000 paper documents in one of the largest collections of Great Lakes maritime history ephemera in the country.

    Bruce Lynn, Operations Manager for the Shipwreck Society explained, “This is the second in our series of maritime history educational programs, and we are honored to have Pat Labadie on the schedule. Pat is renowned as an expert on 19th century Great Lakes’ sailing vessels, and was instrumental in the mapping of many of the more interesting shipwrecks near Whitefish Point.

    This program will be a great opportunity to learn more about the wrecks, while getting an excellent introduction to the field of nautical archeology.”

    The program will be in the Shipwreck Museum gallery; there is a fee to attend.

  • 50th anniversary lecture on survey of the Xlendi wreck site

    Xlendi wreck site

    From Gozo News

    Heritage Malta are organising a lecture to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1961 survey of the Xlendi wreck site. The lecture will be by Prof. John Woods who directed the survey team.

    Visitors will also be able to view the Xlendi wreck material that is on permanent display at the the Gozo Museum of Archaeology and print-outs from digital files documenting the wreck to be donated to Heritage Malta by Prof. Woods.

    The Gozo Museum of Archaeology aims to illustrate the rich cultural history of the island of Gozo from prehistoric times to the early modern period.

    The museum incorporates themes like burials, religion, art, food and daily life, making use of material from various archaeological sites in Gozo.

    The Archaeology Museum is located immediately behind the original gateway to the Citadel in Rabat, Gozo, and is housed in a 17th century townhouse, known as ‘Casa Bondi.’

    The building came to house the archaeological collection in 1986 as part of a reorganisation programme of the Gozo museum collection. Since then, the Museum saw the restoration of its entire exterior and the refurbishment of the majority of its interiors including the main hall on its first floor.

    The Museum’s permanent display is divided into three main sections: Prehistory, the Classical period, and the Medieval and Early Modern periods.

    Items on display range from geological resources put to use by the prehistoric settlers in creating their dwellings and temples, to Phoenician, Punic, and Roman artefacts found in several sites in Gozo and Comino.

    Full story...


  • Public invited to underwater archaeology conference

    From Wire Service

    The Maritime fur Trade, a fascinating and relatively unknown part of our history is the theme of this year’s Shipwrecks conference at Fort Langley National Historic Site on Saturday, April 30.

    The fort is an ideal setting for the conference as its success was directly linked to supporting Russian America. The famous cry “54-40 or fight” came from the fur trade and referred to the boundary between Russian America and British North America.

    “Conference speakers will provide a glimpse into this early history of BC” said Lower Mainland director Nicole Ortmann.

    This is also an opportunity to learn about other misadventures such as the sinking of the Beaver, the first steamship in the North Pacific and the tragic story of the American ship Tonquin , lost 200 years ago. Keynote speaker Shelley Wachsmann will discuss the impact that tools like sidescan sonar, remote-operated vehicles (ROVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) have had for underwater archaeology and the ability of archaeologists to study and record shipwrecks on the previously inaccessible deep-sea floor.

    The remarkable story of the finding and excavating a 2,000 year old Sea of Galilee Boat is the subject of the evening Woodward Lecture and dinner. Dubbed “the Jesus Boat” archaeologist Shelley Wachsmann of the Institute for Nautical Archaeology, Texas A&M University, will tell the tale of finding and raising a fishing vessel that was commonly used during the Roman–period.

  • Shipwreck discovered between Saugatuck and South Haven

    Holland-based Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates made the discovery of the 60-foot, single-masted sloop dating back to perhaps the 1830s in deep water between Saugatuck and South Haven.

    By Jim Hayden - The Holland Sentinel

    Researchers have found the shipwreck of what could be one of the oldest vessels in southern Lake Michigan.

    Underwater video of this new discovery will be shown at the annual Mysteries and Histories Beneath the Inland Seas event at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 16, at the Knickerbocker Theatre in Holland.

    Holland-based Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates made the discovery of the 60-foot, single-masted sloop dating back to perhaps the 1830s in deep water between Saugatuck and South Haven. The group was working in collaboration with author Clive Cussler and his sonar operator Ralph Wilbanks of the National Underwater & Marine Agency.

    During an exploratory dive to the 250-foot deep wreck, the research group made note of three features that are significantly different from sailing vessels dating to the mid- and late-19th-century: the lack of a centerboard, the presence of a raised afterdeck and deadlights (a pair of openings) in the stern that allowed light to reach the cargo hold.

    The shipwreck group’s historians have verified that the vessel’s construction and design is consistent with ships built in the 1820s and 1830s, making it perhaps one of the oldest vessels discovered in the southern basin of Lake Michigan. The vessel sits upright and is in good condition considering it was built nearly 200 years ago.


  • Shipwrecks of New England presented in Union

    From Herald Gazette


    Union Historical Society will present a program on Remarkable Shipwrecks of New England at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6 in the sanctuary of People's United Methodist Church, Depot Street, Union.

    Marine journalist and historian Jon Johansen of Winterport will discuss New England shipwrecks from the loss of the circus ship Royal Tar in 1836 to the sinking of the SS Andrea Doria in 1956.

    Johansen relates that although only 46 people died out of more than 2,000 on board the Andrea Doria, earlier disasters offer horrible stories of rapid sinking, endurance and suffering. Often any women and children on board were abandoned to their fate, as in the 1904 sinking of the General Slocum in the Hudson River, N.Y., when 1,400 women and children perished.

    While the lack of navigational aids contributed to marine disasters, the biggest hazard was the risk of hitting a submerged but still floating vessel which had been carrying a buoyant cargo such as lumber. There were hundreds of these in the Atlantic in the 1880s.

    The modern equivalent is the partially submerged shipping container, but fortunately today's navigational and marine warning systems have drastically cut the number of shipwrecks.

    Publisher of the Maine Coastal News for the past 24 years, Jon Johansen has a lifelong interest in shipwreck history, nurtured by his uncle Brad W. Luther, a shipwreck diver who documented wrecks in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.


  • Annual festival offers rare glimpse of underwater shipwrecks

    Daryl Wright of Dexter offers underwater video services to those looking for shipwrecks, or lost treasures

    By Alana West - Dexter Patch

    Eighteen different programs were offered Saturday at the 30th annual Great Lakes Shipwreck Festival, held at Washtenaw Community College in Scio Township. The event benefits the Ford Seahorses Scuba Diving Club, a member of the Ford Motor Company's Employees Recreation Association.

    Eight of the programs took those attending on a video tour to explore shipwrecks fathoms deep beneath the Great Lakes. Roughly 300 people attended the event.

    Lori Courvoisier of Ann Arbor said that the event was a lot of fun.

    "When you get divers together they tell a bunch of stories and plan trips," she said. "You can learn a lot of neat stuff about the Great Lakes."

    Among the programs offered were presentations on the Lady Elgin, a ship that sunk in 1860, leading to the deaths of 300 people; a 206-foot three-mast schooner called the John Shaw that sunk in 1894 with 1,759 tons of coal in 128 feet of water; and the Marion Egan, which sunk in 1875 when it collided with the schooner E.R. Williams. Divers discovered standing masts and an intact cabin when they dove to investigate the wreck.

    Ric Mixter, a diver and owner of the documentary studio Airworthy Productions based in Saginaw, presented his documentary on the Edmund Fitzgerald, a Great Lakes freighter that sunk in a Lake Superior storm on Nov. 10, 1975. During his presentation he talked about the various groups who have visited the shipwreck, including the explorer Jacques Cousteau in 1980.


  • Nautical archaeologist David Switzer

    From New Hampshire

    The USS 0-9 submarine was undergoing a deep dive drill on June 20, 1941 off the Isle of Shoals when it sank, taking the lives of all 33 crewman.

    The story of the American sub, and how it made it came to its end in New Hampshire, is the subject of a program at 7 p.m.

    Tuesday, Feb. 22, at the Amherst Town Library. David Switzer, consulting nautical archaeologist for the State of New Hampshire, will present “The Discovery of the Remains of the Submarine USS 0-9.”

    The program is part of the February Marine Adventures series for adults.

    During the latter years of World War I the U.S. Navy authorized a new class of submarine to augment the fleet of submarines already on duty in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

    Smaller than the previous class of submarines, so-called “0-class” boats were designed for patrol in waters around Ireland.

    The war ended before the new submarines reached Europe. In the aftermath of the war, the 0 class was dispatched to Panama as training boats, but after a few years the 0 class submarines were mothballed and nearly forgotten when the clouds of war once more gathered over Europe and Asia.

    Too old to serve on active duty, the World War I era submarines were designated for training seamen to serve in the post war submarine fleet. The training was to take place at the New London Connecticut Sub Base.

    Following the first training phase the 0 Class subs underwent deep submersion or “squeeze tests” in order to ensure the strength of the hulls. The 0-8 and 0-9 arrived at the Kittery Navy Base in June, 1941 to undergo the deep dive. The 08 was the first, and completed her test near the Isle of Shoals, where the depth was 200 feet, the limit for the 0 class. The 0-9 left the Navy Yard the next day for her test. She never surfaced.

    An indication that the submarine had met with severe problems was evident when floating debris was seen. It was clear that 0-9 had exceeded the depth limit. Navy divers braving extreme depth found the hull at a depth of 400 feet. Following a memorial service at sea, with the Secretary of the Navy in attendance, the 0-9 tragedy was displaced by concerns about the depredations of Nazi Germany.


  • 30th Great Lakes Shipwreck Festival

    Lady Elgin painting by Robert McGreevy

    By Charles Jackson - WXYZ

    The 30th Great Lakes Shipwreck Festival presented by the Ford Seahorses Scuba Diving Club along with the Detroit historical Society's Dossin Maritime and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum will take place Saturday, March 5th at Washtenaw Community College.

    The festival will run from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Washtenaw Community College's Morris Lawrence Building. On display will be several new shipwreck discoveries that were found in the Great Lakes including the Lady Elgin and Marion Egan.

    The Great Lakes Shipwreck Festival will also have stunning video and still images of colorful and unusual marine life from around the world.

  • Ship Of Gold In The Deep Blue Sea

    From Island Sun News 

    The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum will host a program titled Ship Of Gold In The Deep Blue Sea, presented by Dr. Ronald B. Toll. The audience will be taken back in time to an 1857 hurricane-induced shipwreck.

    The SS Central America is one of the 10 richest wrecks in the western Atlantic.

    This lecture will include extensive deep-sea photographs and videography related to the gold, artifacts and historical lessons associated with one of the greatest adventures in maritime exploration.

    The SS Central America came to lie on the ocean floor at a depth of 8,000 feet after sinking in a hurricane on the evening of September 12, 1857.

    It was discovered after years of searching, using the best technology of the day.

    This story of the recovery of the gold, personal artifacts and historical context associated with the shipwreck is amazing. Dr. Toll, a senior member of the scientific staff associated with the recovery expedition, will talk about the treasure and draw connections to the lives lost during the tragic sinking of the historic vessel, the legal ramifications of the find, and the impact of the expedition upon deep-sea biological research.

    Dr. Toll, a native of New Jersey, is provost and vice president for academic affairs at Florida Gulf Coast University. He holds an AA degree in biology from Union College in Cranford, New Jersey and a BA degree in zoology from Rutgers University.

    He received his doctoral degree in biological oceanography from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science of the University of Miami.

    Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, Dr. Toll assumed his first faculty assignment at the University of the South in Tennessee.

    Dr. Toll has published over 30 peerviewed papers and monograph contributions in the area of marine invertebrates.

    His work has taken him from coastal studies on the barrier islands of Georgia to his participation as associate director of adjunct sciences for the SS Central America Project.

    That expedition led to the successful recovery of nearly $300 million in gold coins and bars from a depth of 8,000 feet.

  • Wrecks of the World II program expanded, June 6-7

    From Marine Link

    The American Salvage Association (ASA) and the North American Marine Environmental Protection Association (NAMEPA) will co-sponsor a conference, “Wrecks of the World: Hidden Risks of the Deep (WOW) II” on Monday, June 6 and Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS) in the Washington, DC area (Linthicum Heights, MD) USA.

    The conference will explore the myriad issues (pollution threat, impact modeling, risk assessment, oil removal and remediation, implications to the environment, legal, insurance and funding issues, next steps) related to the more than 8,500 sunken vessels in the world, many of them World War II-era.

    The program has been expanded to include discussion of the pollution threat posed not just by ship wrecks but also by the tens of thousands of abandoned oil wells that litter coast and offshore waters around the world.

    The problem of potentially-polluting wrecks has long been discussed and recent incidents around the world have caused government agencies and responsible parties to look proactively at preventing catastrophic oil and other chemical releases from long submerged shipwrecks.

    These wrecks may contain as much as 20 million tons of oil and other hazardous materials. Sporadic or continuous leakages or potential sudden massive spillages from these wrecks pose a continual risk across the globe.

    With the work that has recently occurred in the U.S. including remediation of the Beaumont off the Texas coast and the Princess Kathleen on the Alaskan coast, anticipated work on the Montebello off of California and on the Coimbra off of New York among others, as well as oil recovery from the wrecks of the Asian Forest and the Black Rose off the coast of India, not to mention the oil removal projects being considered by the Canadian, Korean and Norwegian governments, among others, wreck oil removal has come to the forefront of marine environmental concerns.  

  • Titanic Festival


    By Lesley-Anne Henry - Belfast Telegraph

    Titanic fever will grip Belfast this week with the launch of the annual Titanic Made in Belfast Festival.

    Hundreds of Titanic and White Star Line artefacts and memorabilia including a postcards written by a passengers on board the doomed vessel, a man’s watch valued at £90,000, and the keys to a family treasure chest that went down with the stricken ship are due to go on display in Belfast today.

    This year the eight-day festival is centred around a variety of events at Belfast City Hall, while special Titanic themed tours, on both land and water, will give visitors an opportunity to learn more about the famous liner's ill-fated maiden voyage to New York in 1912.

    “The Titanic story is probably one of the most fascinating, amazing, poignant, thought-provoking and absorbing tales from the last century, if not the last millennium,” said Lord Mayor of Belfast, Naomi Long.

    “For too long, Belfast’s part in the Titanic story, and the role of the people of Belfast in bringing Titanic to life, has been neglected.

    “Over the past few years, the city that gave birth to the ship, and many others, finally and rightfully acknowledged her part in the tale, and Belfast City Council once again is proud to celebrate the achievement, commemorate the tragedy and educate the world about our city’s role in the Titanic story.”


  • Author, historian to discuss "wrecks" in Port Isabel

    By Carl Phillips - Island Breeze

    In 1554 a fleet of Spanish ships loaded with gold and other treasure encountered a Gulf of Mexico hurricane and shipwrecked just off the sandy shores of South Padre Island.

    What happened to the crew and passengers on those ships makes a fascinating story all by itself, but their trek down the Island searching for what passed as civilization in those days is just one portion of the complete historical record.

    On Thursday at 6 p.m., the Museums of Port Isabel, which displays many of the artifacts from those unfortunate ships, will present Steve Hathcock telling the story in its entirety.

    Hathcock is the author of three books about the history of the area: "Real History," published in 1995; "Looking Back," 1999; and "Behind the Third Dune," 2001. He is working on his fourth book, "Old Indo, Last of the Karawankas, and Other Tales," which he hopes to complete this year.

    A student of the history of the area for more than 30 years, he is chairman of the South Padre Island Historical Preservation Committee, a founding member of the South Padre Island Historical Foundation and a board member of the Cameron County Historical Commission.

    Over the years he has gathered information, photos and artifacts in the area. His Preservation Committee has also compiled a catalog of old buildings on the Island.


  • Antikythera mechanism: The technology behind the world's oldest computer

    The Antikythera mechanism

    From Ana Mpa

    The Antikythera mechanism, one of the world's oldest known geared devices, is an ancient mechanical calculator, also described as the first known mechanical computer, designed to calculate astronomical positions, that has puzzled and intrigued science and technology historians since its it was recovered from an 80 BC wreck off the island of Antikythera in 1901.

    Dated to about 150-100 BC, the intricacy of the way in which the Mechanism works was so startling to scientists that initially they often the device's dating, doubting it could be as old as it really was.

    Technological artifacts of similar complexity did not reappear before the 14th century, when mechanical astronomical clocks appeared in Europe.

    A lecture on the Mechanism was recently delivered by Professor Robert Hannah of the Classical Studies Department at New Zealand's Otago University to a packed audience at Sydney University in Australia, who tried to analyze the workings of the Mechanism and, more importantly, to explain how the ancient Greeks were able to create such a complex, precise and sophisticated instrument more than 2,000 years ago, stressing that scientists are still studying and trying to decipher the device.

  • Rum runners and torpedo bombers at Channel Islands National Park

    Off Anacapa Island

    By Kurt Repanshek - National Parks Traveler

    Who would have figured that Channel Islands National Park has ties to rum runners ? Or that a World War II torpedo bomber lies beneath the waves at the park that is set off the California coast ?

    In December if you're in the vicinity of Santa Barbara, California, you'll be able to learn more about these and other historic shipwrecks and submerged aircraft that rest on the seabed around the Channel Islands during a lecture series titled "From Shore to Sea."

    The presentation, set for December 8 and December 9, will be delivered by Channel Islands' sanctuary and park cultural resource experts Robert Schwemmer and Kelly Minas.

    They will discuss two recently explored wrecks off Anacapa Island—a mysterious shipwreck of a possible prohibition era rum runner and a sunken World War II era torpedo bomber.

    These are among over two dozen wrecks studied around the Channel Islands that document over 150 years of evolving maritime enterprises.

    There are an estimated 150 or more shipwrecks thought to exist around the islands as well as submerged prehistoric sites dating back more than 10,000 years, according to park researchers.


  • 'Shipwrecks as Fossils' at AAAS Pacific Division meeting

    By Judy Holmes - Eureka Alert

    Mariners call the continental margin off the North Carolina coast the "graveyard of the Atlantic." Syracuse University's first Professor of Interdisciplinary Sciences, Cathryn R. Newton, sees the area as rich with fossils for paleontologists, marine archeologists and historians to study.

    Newton was invited to deliver the plenary lecture at the 90th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Pacific Division, in San Francisco.

    She will present "Shipwrecks as Fossils" during a special session on Monday, Aug. 17, at 7 p.m. at San Francisco State University. AAAS is the world's largest scientific organization and publisher of Science.

    The lecture will provide the first view of a new, searchable database she has developed of some 2,038 ships that sank off the Southeastern coast of the United States, the earliest of which dates from 1526.

    "This is the largest database on shipwrecks ever known for this area of the ocean—by a factor of two," says Newton, dean emerita of SU's College of Arts and Sciences. "It is a scientific tool that enables us to look at shipwrecks and what they can tell us in entirely new ways."

    The database includes ship names; type and size of the vessels; dates of sinking; information about the cargoes, passengers, ship departure points and intended destinations; and other information.

    "Shipwrecks can be imagined as large fossils that sink to the sea floor much as deceased whales sink to the ocean floor and become part of the fossil record," Newton says. "Like other marine fossils, shipwrecks provide clues to the part of our history that lies beyond the shoreline."

    Newton created the database from some 5,000 hand-written data cards on shipwrecks compiled by her father, oceanographer John Newton of the Duke University Marine Laboratory, and his research partners—Dorothy Nicholson of National Geographic, Harold "Doc" Edgerton of MIT, Gordon Watts of the state of North Carolina and Robert Sheridan, now of Rutgers University—more than 30 years ago.

    These scientists, two of whom are deceased, were part of the Duke University-National Geographic research team that discovered the legendary Civil War ironclad the U.S.S. Monitor a few miles off Cape Hatteras in 1973. Newton, then a 16-year-old sophomore at Duke University, was a member of that team.

  • Shipwreck artefacts go on display

    Wood carving

    From BBC News

    Artefacts from a 17th Century shipwreck found off the Dorset coast have gone on display. Students and experts from Bournemouth University have worked for two years on the wreck site, in an area off Poole Harbour known as the Swash Channel.

    The ship, which lies about 23ft (7m) under the sea, is thought to date from the 1620s. Its country of origin is unknown.

    The university is holding a Maritime Archaeological Day on Saturday.

    Paola Palma and Dave Parham, the university's maritime archaeology experts, are speaking about their experiences of working on the wreck site.

    Artefacts raised from the seabed and on display include two leather shoes, musket balls, kitchen utensils and an apothecary jar.


  • Society of Bexhill Museums

    From Bexhill-on-sea Observer


    The struggle to get wrecks protected was fascinatingly recounted and illustrated with slides by Dr Peter Marsden, of the Shipwreck and Coastal Heritage Centre, at Hastings at the Bexhill Museum lecture on Wednesday, January 7.

    We heard about four local wrecks - the English warship 'Anne' in 1690 off Pett Level, one of the 30 new ships approved by Charles 11 in 1670; The 'Amsterdam' in 1749, the Dutch East Indiaman, off Bulverhythe on its maiden voyage to Batavia; The Danish ship 'Thomas Lawrence' in 1862 en route to the Caribbean - and how in the 1980s Customs and Excise still wanted the customs duty when 500 bottles of cognac were eventually brought ashore!

    Finally the 'Storaa', originally a Danish merchant ship, torpedoed in November 1943, 10 miles off Beachy Head and in which 21 men died.

    The story of the subsequent struggle through the courts resulted in this being the first merchant ship to be protected as a war grave by law as recently as May 2007.

    The next lecture entitled Four Brothers And A Friend Called Dan about the experiences of a Sussex village whose sons served with the Sussex Regiment during the Great War, is at 2.30 pm on Wednesday, January 21, at St Augustine's Hall, off Cooden Drive.