archaeology

  • Treasures from ancient shipwrecks

    Israel Antiquities Authority


    From Heritage Daily
     

    Underwater archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) have recovered treasures from the survey of two shipwrecks off the coast of Caesarea in Israel.
     

    The survey was conducted by the IAA’s Marine Archaeology Unit, which found the remains of two wrecked hulls and cargoes scattered in shallow depths of around 4 metres along the sea floor.

    A spokesperson for the IAA said: “The ships were probably anchored nearby and were wrecked by a storm. They may have been anchored offshore after getting into difficulty or fearing stormy weather, because shallow open water outside of a port is dangerous and prone to disaster.”

    The shipwrecks date from the Roman and Mamluk periods some 1700 and 600 years ago, in which the researchers recovered a range of artefacts and rare personal items of the shipwrecked victims.

    The team found hundreds of silver and bronze Roman coins from the mid-third century AD and a large hoard of 14th century silver coins from the Mamluk period, including a large amount of smaller ribbon cut like pieces.

    Other finds include a bronze figurine in the form of an eagle, a figurine of a Roman pantomimus, bronze bells, pottery vessels, an inkwell and numerous metal items from the hull of the ship such as bronze nails, lead pipes from a bilge pump, and pieces of a large iron anchor.


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  • Underwater history : 255 artifacts found in Turkish seas

    Divers explore the Dakota C-47 aircraft, which was donated to the Kaş Underwater Association by the Turkısh Air Force and sunken in 2009 for diving tourism

     

    From Daily Sabah


    The underwater archaeological excavation and research ventures of Turkey, which has a coastline of approximately 8,300 kilometers (5,157 miles), were started by foreign teams with the work at the Bronze Age Gelidonya Shipwreck, near the Finike district of Antalya province on the Mediterranean coast, in 1960.

    Turkish scientists and divers have continued to bring important cultural heritage up from the depths of the blue waters ever since.

    While the excavations carried out in Yassıada in 1967-1969, in glass wreck salvaged from the Serçe harbor in 1979, and in the Uluburun Shipwreck off Kaş in 1984 constitute important milestones of Turkish underwater archaeology, a total of 10 underwater archaeological excavations were also conducted this year in the country.

    As part of the archaeological underwater research, 255 artifacts have been handed over to Turkish museums so far.

    The wreckage of the world's oldest trade ship from the Bronze Age contains works of art from the Archaic period and features the only statue examples found in the Mediterranean. The Ottoman shipwreck, which includes findings that will illuminate the Ottoman navy, is among the important discoveries of the latest archaeological excavations.

    Efforts are also underway to establish underwater archaeology museums on the coasts of Turkey's seas so that the artifacts that have been discovered in the scientific, underwater studies can be exhibited on site.

    Harun Özdaş, excavation head of Turkey’s Shipwreck Inventory Project, spoke with Anadolu Agency (AA) about his experience in underwater excavations and research.

    Özdaş, who is also an archaeology professor at the Institute of Marine Science and Technology at Izmir-based Dokuz Eylul University, said that shipwrecks lie at depths varying between 30-60 meters (98-196 feet) and each meter descended during the dive is a journey to the past.


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  • Batavia shipwreck revealing new information

    Archaeologist Dr Jeremy Green photographing the Batavia shipwreck in the 1970s in its resting place near Beacon Island at the Houtman Abrolhos.


    By Natasha Harradine - ABC Mid West & Wheatbelt
     

    The Batavia shipwreck is revealing new details about the Dutch master shipbuilders of the 1600s. The ship sank off the coast of Western Australia on its maiden voyage in 1629.

    In the 1970s it was lifted from the sea bed and is now displayed at the WA Maritime Museum in Fremantle. It is the only surviving 17th-century ship from the Dutch East India Company.

    Lead author, associate professor Wendy van Duivenvoorde from Flinders University, said the vision of the WA Museum to lift and conserve the ship had created an international historic record for tree-ring studies.

    "The Batavia holds basically the only records that we have today that can provide us with information about what the Dutch were doing with their timber imports," she said.

    Dr van Duivenvoorde said the researchers were able to take more than 100 samples from the timber hull.

    "These are really beautiful oak that were easily 300 years old," she said. "I think the oldest tree ring that we have found in a plank comes from a tree that started growing in 1342, and I think from a frame 1340 or so."

    She said a ship like the Batavia would use at least 700 trees. Dr van Duivenvoorde said the master shipwrights of the 1600s were very selective in the timber used, with Baltic oak preferred for the hull, which sat below the waterline.


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  • Indonesia - Omnibus law on underwater cultural heritage

    Tang Cargo - Belitung - Photo by Jacklee


    By Natali Pearson - New Mandala
     

    Indonesia has had a moratorium on the commercial salvage of underwater cultural heritage since 2010. But a new and seemingly unrelated Law has reintroduced the prospect that Indonesia’s waters will again be “open for investment.”

    The Law in question is the Job Creation (or “Omnibus”) Law (Undang-Undang Nomor 11 Tahun 2020 tentang Cipta Kerja), and it resurrects a policy that calls into question how underwater cultural heritage is valued in Indonesia. To understand the relationship between the Job Creation Law and underwater cultural heritage, we need to wade through a lot of laws.

    Let’s start in 1989, when commercial salvage was first legalised in Indonesia. Suharto was President and there were almost no laws in place to protect and preserve the hundreds (some say thousands) of shipwrecks in Indonesia’s territorial waters.

    The only laws in place dated to the 1930s, and, as the Geldermalsen case demonstrated, they had proved completely ineffective in safeguarding the archipelago’s underwater cultural heritage.

    In August 1989, Suharto introduced Presidential Decree No.43 on the National Committee for the Salvage and Utilisation of Valuable Objects originating from the Cargo of Sunken Ships.

    The Decree legalised the salvage (pengangkatan) and utilisation (pemanfaatan) of valuable objects (benda berharga) from the cargo of shipwrecks (asal muatan kapal yang tenggelam) in Indonesian territorial waters. Salvage was defined as the research, survey and recovery of valuable objects from sunken ships, and utilisation entailed the sale of objects and other uses for the benefit of the Government.

    The Decree established the National Shipwrecks Committee, headed by the Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security. Committee membership consisted of representatives from at least nine different Ministries.

    To salvage a site, a salvage company first had to apply for a survey permit. Given the number of Ministries represented on the National Shipwrecks Committee, this involved extensive bureaucratic wrangling as well as numerous fees.

    Then, if their survey identified a site of interest, they could apply for a salvage permit, involving yet more red tape and fees. The company was responsible for all costs associated with the survey and salvage process.

    Foreign salvors could be involved in surveying, salvaging and utilising valuable objects (benda berharga), provided they partnered with a local (that is, Indonesian) company. There were a number of conditions—for example, sites were to be excavated to accepted archaeological standards and Indonesia was to retain unique and scarce artefacts.

    But these provisions were not enforced.


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  • X-rays are revealing new clues about the Mary Rose

    The Mary Rose


    By Rahul Rao - Popular Science


    In 1982, before the eyes of watching television cameras, the wooden remains of the 16th-century English warship Mary Rose were lifted from its underwater grave. Since then, it’s proven a veritable time capsule into Tudor Britain. But, as you might imagine, nearly 500 years under the sea doesn’t do wonders for keeping the ship in shape.

    That’s where some very modern X-ray scanning has now come on board. Researchers have turned to techniques used in chemistry and manufacturing to scan wood from the Mary Rose.

    Unlike previous techniques that rely primarily on finding one specific element, this X-ray technique allows researchers to scan a relic and see any potential contaminants and where they are. The researchers published their work in the journal Matter on October 27.

    “It is vital when dealing with precious materials that you get as much information you can in one go, and this is what this technique offers,” says Eleanor Schofield, one of the study’s authors, and head of conservation at the Mary Rose Trust, the charity that takes care of the ship.

    First, a bit of history. When the Mary Rose was built in 1511, it was one of the largest ships in the English fleet. And the ship was no stranger to battle; early 16th century England, during the reign of King Henry VIII, was a time of frequent wars, particularly with France.

    It was in 1545, amidst one of those wars, that the French were planning to land an invading army on English soil. The Mary Rose was called to help fight them off.

    That brought the ship to the Solent, an offshoot of the English Channel that separates Great Britain from the Isle of Wight. It was there that the Mary Rose would sink, taking most of her crew down in the process.


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  • 130-year-old riverboat shipwreck revealed in Missouri river

    The Abner O’Neal, which is approximately 25 miles north of Bismarck, North Dakota,  was built in 1884 in Freedom, Pennsylvania


    From Chris Ciaccia - Dailymail.co.uk


    A nearly 130-year-old shipwreck has been revealed in the Missouri River as the region experiences a severe drought and river levels have dropped more than two feet.

    The Abner O'Neal was wrecked in 1892 just north of Bismarck, North Dakota, while bringing 9,000 bushels of wheat from Washburn to Mandan, KYFR-TV reports.

    According to Fox 4, nearly one third, or 31.9 percent of land area is experiencing a drought in Missouri. That's up from March, when just six percent of the state was dry, which started to cause an issue for crops.

    More than 1.8 million people, or just over 30 percent of the state's population, are affected. In April, the US Drought Monitor said that nearly 50 percent of the U.S. were experiencing severe drought conditions. Since she wrecked, the steamboat has been submerged in the Missouri River, but history buffs are getting their first look at the ancient wreck.

    The Abner O’Neal is approximately 25 miles north of Bismarck, North Dakota.

    She was built in 1884 in Freedom, Pennsylvania, according to the State Historical Society of North Dakota. She is named after Capt. Abner O'Neal, a well-known shipping figure from the 1870s Steubenville/Wheeling steamboat industry.

    She operated for a number of years successfully, bringing both freight and passengers up and down the region.

    'I thought that would be a fantastic thing to see,' kayaker Nyk Edinger told the news outlet. 'It's pretty exciting being that close to it, seeing how it has maintained its shape,' he added. 'It's just amazing that it's still sitting right where it sunk.'


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  • Digital map of 17th century warship ‘The London’

    The London


    From UK Today


    Academics are creating a digital map of ‘The London‘, an ill-fated 17th century warship, based on remains that have been submerged for 350 years. The impressive 120-foot ship mysteriously exploded in the Thames Estuary near Southend Pier in Essex and sank on March 7, 1665, killing 300 people.

    Divers have been investigating the remains of the vessel, which originally had 76 guns and was one of the most important ships in the Commonwealth Navy.

    The London was one of only three completed wooden second rate ‘large ships’ that were built between 1600 and 1642 – and is the only one whose wreck still survives. 

    The London was a 76-gun ship built for the navy of the Commonwealth of England at Chatham by shipwright John Taylor Built in Chatham in Kent by shipwright John Taylor, it played a significant role in British history, serving in both the Cromwellian and Restoration navies.

    It formed part of the fleet that brought Charles II back from the Netherlands in 1660 to restore him to the throne, to end the anarchy which followed the death of Oliver Cromwell in 1658 and his son Richard Cromwell taking power.

    But it blew up when gunpowder on board caught fire as the ship was en-route to collect supplies after being mobilised to take part in the Second Anglo-Dutch War of 1665 to 1667.


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  • The British shipwreck that changed the world

    A stone memorial marks where Sir Cloudesley Shovell's body was washed up from the wreck of HMS Association


    By Keith Drew - BBC


    Our boat was only half a dozen miles out of St Mary's, the main island in the Isles of Scilly, but the sea had become a different beast entirely.

    The waters that lulled against the harbour walls were long gone, and as we arced around the Western Rocks – a notorious cordon of razor-sharp skerries at the very south-westerly reaches of England – the swell surged.

    Waves slapped against the bow as the boat keeled to and fro. The water was the colour of midnight, and I peered into the darkness for a sign of the HMS Association, one of 1,000 shipwrecks that lie splintering into the seabed around Scilly.

    Two parallel reefs, much of which is submerged at high water, the Western Rocks posed a formidable threat to sailors bound for safe harbour in Tresco or St Mary's. And the names that each cluster of jagged granite has been given over the years – Inner Rags, Tearing Ledge – hint at the devastation wrought.

    "It is doubtful if any collection of rocks in the whole of the British Isles has a worse reputation," said Richard Larn OBE, president of the International Maritime Archaeological & Shipwreck Society and author of Sea of Storms: Shipwrecks of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. "This immense area of hidden danger has been the setting for the worst of the many wreck disasters on Scilly."

    None, though, have been more tragic, nor played a more significant role in history, than the sinking of the Association in the early years of the 18th Century.

    A 90-gun, second-rate English warship, HMS Association was the flagship of Sir Cloudesley Shovell, who had worked his way up from lowly cabin boy to become Admiral of the Fleet in 1705.

    Shovell had distinguished himself in the Nine Years' War and in early skirmishes of the War of the Spanish Succession, but after a summer spent (unsuccessfully) laying siege to the French port of Toulon, he set sail for home, departing from Gibraltar for England in late September 1707.


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  • Ancient Roman shipwreck loaded with wine amphorae

    Researchers used a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to capture photographs of the wreck. (Soprintendenza del Mare)


    By Isis Davis-Marks - Smithsonian Mag.


    Archaeologists off the coast of Palermo, Sicily, have discovered an ancient Roman shipwreck laden with amphorae, or jars used mainly for transporting wine and olive oil.

    The Superintendence of the Sea (SopMare), a Sicilian government body responsible for safeguarding historical and natural objects found in marine waters, uncovered the second-century B.C.E. vessel near the Isola delle Femmine, reports local newspaper PalermoToday.

    The ship rests in the Mediterranean Sea at a depth of about 302 feet. On board the wreck was a “copious cargo” of wine amphorae, writes Lorenzo Tondo for the Guardian.

    Authorities hailed the find as one of most important archaeological discoveries made in the region in recent years. “The Mediterranean continually gives us precious elements for the reconstruction of our history linked to maritime trade, the types of boats, the transport carried out,’’ says Valeria Li Vigni, expedition leader and superintendent of the sea for Sicily, in a statement, per a translation by the Guardian.

    “Now we will know more about life on board and the relationships between coastal populations.’’ Experts used an oceanographic vessel called Calypso South to investigate the sunken ship.

    The boat is equipped with high-precision instruments, including a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that was used to capture photographs of the wreck.

     

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  • Centuries-old shipwrecks found off Singapore

    Wrecks at Pedra Branca

     

    From mail Online


    Two centuries-old shipwrecks packed with ceramics and other artefacts have been found off Singapore in a rare discovery that will shed light on the city-state's maritime heritage, archaeologists said Wednesday.

    The prosperous island nation has long been a key trading hub on global shipping routes connecting the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.

    The wrecks were found off Pedra Branca, a rocky outcrop east of Singapore, according to the National Heritage Board and think tank the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, which worked together on the project.

    The first wreck, discovered after divers accidentally came across ceramic plates in 2015, was carrying Chinese ceramics that possibly date back to the 14th century, when Singapore was known as Temasek.


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  • Centuries-old shipwrecks found off Singapore

    Wrecks at Pedra Branca

     

    From mail Online


    Two centuries-old shipwrecks packed with ceramics and other artefacts have been found off Singapore in a rare discovery that will shed light on the city-state's maritime heritage, archaeologists said Wednesday.

    The prosperous island nation has long been a key trading hub on global shipping routes connecting the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.

    The wrecks were found off Pedra Branca, a rocky outcrop east of Singapore, according to the National Heritage Board and think tank the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, which worked together on the project.

    The first wreck, discovered after divers accidentally came across ceramic plates in 2015, was carrying Chinese ceramics that possibly date back to the 14th century, when Singapore was known as Temasek.


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  • France's new state-of-the-art ship for marine archaeology

    Part of the archaeological riches discovered on the wreck of the Jeanne Elisabeth near Maguelone in the south of France Photo: Teddy Seguin/DRASSM


    By Dale Berning Sawa - The Art Newspaper


    In January, the French department for marine archaeological research—known as Drassm from its French name—launched the Alfred Merlin, the newest member of its highly specialised fleet.

    Built in a shipyard in La Ciotat on the Côte d’Azur, the ship is a 46m-long gleaming white beauty with red and blue stripes running at a slant down its side. Ahead of testing this month and delivery in May, the vessel has been equipped with, among other things, a stern gantry that is tall enough to load a small submarine and a bridge bristling with the latest technologies called “une passerelle du futur”—a bridge of the future.

    The Alfred Merlin is named after the French archaeologist who in 1907 led the world’s first underwater excavation, off the coast of Tunisia. France became the first nation to have a dedicated underwater heritage department when André Malraux, the then culture minister, created the Drassm in 1966.

    Its global leadership in the field has remained unchallenged, not leastbecause it has a lot on its plate. France’s underwater territory is the world’s second largest, with European waters accounting for a mere 5% of that: the nation’s colonial past writ large.

    The Alfred Merlin’s 2021 schedule is already full, with surveys in the Mediterranean and an ongoing search off the coast of Brest for the 16th-century wrecks of the Cordelière and Henry VIII’s Regent.

    The Alfred Merlin will also contribute to the ongoing search for the Leusden slave ship in Suriname and French Guiana waters. Locating the site of this catastrophic 1738 sinking, in which 664 African captives drowned after the Dutch crew imprisoned them in the hold before jumping ship, is crucial as it is both a mass burial ground and a historical crime scene.


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  • Underwater archaeology pioneer George Bass dies at 88

    George Bass, the father of modern underwater archaeology


    By Kristin Romey - National Geographic


    Pioneering archaeologist George Bass, who played a critical role in the creation and evolution of underwater archaeology as a scientific discipline, died on March 2, 2021, in College Station, Texas.

    He was 88. At the time of his death Bass still served as an advisor to the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA), the world’s leading research institute for the study of shipwrecks that he established in 1972. The institute is currently headquartered at Texas A&M University, where Bass, a distinguished professor emeritus, developed one of the first academic underwater archaeology programs.

    “The world has lost a giant in the field, and I have lost a great friend,” said underwater explorer Robert Ballard, a past INA board member, in a statement provided by the National Geographic Society.

    Bass was a graduate student studying archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960 when he was asked to investigate an ancient shipwreck discovered by Turkish sponge divers off Cape Gelidonya in southern Turkey. The 3,200-year-old Cape Gelidonya wreck, carrying a primary cargo of copper ingots, became the first shipwreck mapped and scientifically excavated in its entirety on the seafloor. At the time, it was the oldest known shipwreck in the world.

    That title was superseded by the discovery and excavation of the Uluburun shipwreck in southern Turkey in the early 1980s. With the support of the National Geographic Society, Bass’s team documented and excavated an extraordinary trove of artifacts dating to the 14th century B.C., including precious objects from across the Near East and Europe that illuminated the complexity of trade in the ancient world.


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  • Archaeologists discover 200 ancient Roman amphorae

    Around 200 Ancient Roman amphora have been discovered in an underwater cave off of the coast of Majorca — in the first dive down there in 20 years


    By Bob Miller - ABC 14 News



    Around 200 Ancient Roman amphora have been discovered in an underwater cave off of the coast of Majorca — in the first dive down there in 20 years. Amphorae are ceramic pots — often used to store wine, other liquids, or grain — that have a two-handled design that dates back to the Neolithic Period.

    The artefacts were found in the Fuente de Ses Aiguades cave, which lies in the Bay of Alcudia on the northeastern coast of Majorca, in the Spanish Balearic Islands.Experts from the so-called ‘Underwater Archaeological Research in the Caves of Mallorca’ Project are re-exploring the caves using the latest technology.

    The team believe that the ceramic ware was left in the cave by sailors as some form of ritual offering.

    The Fuente de Ses Aiguades cave was first discovered in 1998, with the last dive down there by underwater archaeologists having taken place in the year 2,000. Although the cave had been explored previously, experts are now able to give it a more thorough examination using modern technologies, with some 200 new amphorae found as result, project leader Manel Fumás told Central European News.

    Modern 3D scanning technology, he said, will allow them ‘fully understand the cave’s layout.’ The cave — which is around 591 feet (180 metres) long and full of stalactites and many air chambers — is accessed by a narrow vertical shaft, once reached using a pulley system.

    ‘The mystery lies in why there are so many amphorae. It is not normal. One could fall, when the pulley broke, but not 200,’ Mr Fumás said.


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  • More than 100 'perfectly preserved' Roman amphorae

    Incredible footage reveals a Roman shipwreck containing more than 100 perfectly preserved amphorae that underwater archaeologists are painstakingly recovering


    By Ian Randall - Mail Online

     

    Incredible footage reveals a Roman shipwreck containing more than 100 perfectly preserved amphorae that underwater archaeologists are painstakingly recovering.

    The wreck — which experts have dated back to around 1,700 years ago — was found off of the coast of Mallorca back in July 2019.

    Based on some of the inscriptions on the long, two-handled jars, the archaeologists believe that the amphorae were used to store fish sauce, oil and wine. The wreck was found off of the coast of Mallorca's Can Pastilla Beach in July after local resident Felix Alarcón and his wife spotted pottery shards on the seabed.

    After investigating, archaeologists found the Roman boat buried in the seabed mere feet from the shore. 

    In a press conference, archaeologist Sebastian Munar of the Balearic Institute of Maritime Archaeology Studies said that the amphorae were perfectly conserved in the ship's hold. However, researchers will not be able to open them to check until they have finished preservation work that will stop the salt in the sea water cracking the jars.


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  • ‘Undisturbed’ ancient Roman shipwreck found

    Archaeologists have discovered the wreck of a Roman-era ship off the coast of Protaras, Cyprus.


    By Stephanie Valera - Geek.com


    Archaeologists have discovered an ancient, Roman-era wooden ship, complete with cargo, off the eastern coast of Cyprus.

    In a statement, Cyprus’ Department of Antiquities said the wreck is the “first undisturbed Roman shipwreck” found in the Mediterranean island nation’s waters. The ship belongs to the period after Rome annexed the island in 58 BC.

    Amphorae found in and around the wreck identify the ship as a merchant vessel that transported cargo between Syria and the southern coast of modern Turkey, known in ancient times as Cicilia.

    The wreck was found near the resort town of Protaras by volunteer divers with the University of Cyprus’ underwater archaeological research team.

    A team from the university’s Maritime Archaeological Research Laboratory (MARELab) was also at the site to document the ship and protect it from looters while archaeologists prepare to conduct a preliminary investigation.

    Aside from being the first undisturbed Roman shipwreck ever found in Cyprus, the find marks a milestone as the expedition was the first underwater project to be fully financed by the Cyprus government.


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  • Archaeology Nile shipwreck discovery proves Herodotus right

    An archaeologist at work on a wreck in the waters around the sunken port city of Thonis-Heracleion


    By Dalya Alberge - The Guardian


    In the fifth century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus visited Egypt and wrote of unusual river boats on the Nile. Twenty-three lines of his Historia, the ancient world’s first great narrative history, are devoted to the intricate description of the construction of a “baris”.

    For centuries, scholars have argued over his account because there was no archaeological evidence that such ships ever existed.

    Now there is. A “fabulously preserved” wreck in the waters around the sunken port city of Thonis-Heracleion has revealed just how accurate the historian was.

    “It wasn’t until we discovered this wreck that we realised Herodotus was right,” said Dr Damian Robinson, director of Oxford University’s centre for maritime archaeology, which is publishing the excavation’s findings.

    “What Herodotus described was what we were looking at.” In 450 BC Herodotus witnessed the construction of a baris. He noted how the builders “cut planks two cubits long [around 100cm] and arrange them like bricks”.

    He added: “On the strong and long tenons [pieces of wood] they insert two-cubit planks. When they have built their ship in this way, they stretch beams over them… They obturate the seams from within with papyrus.

    There is one rudder, passing through a hole in the keel. The mast is of acacia and the sails of papyrus...”


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  • Never too deep to dive

    A scuba diver explores a shipwreck.


    By Aditya Sudarshan - The Hindu


    With many thousand kilometres of coastline, an ocean named after it, and maritime activity dating back to the Harappan era, there’s no question that a lot of India’s history lies underwater.

    The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has had its eye on underwater explorations since the mid-1970s, with an Underwater Archaeology Wing (UAW) officially in existence since 2001.

    But the significant findings, such as the discovery of man-made structures off the coast of Dwarka, have tended to originate from autonomous bodies like the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), where a handful of explorers have always borne a disproportionate workload.

    In 1990, S.R. Rao, named the father of marine archaeology in India, who supervised the Dwarka dives, observed that ‘five diving archaeologists is too small a number for a country of the size of India.’

    Almost 30 years later, even after the UAW sensibly shifted operations from land-locked Delhi to Goa about a year ago, that number is down to a paltry three.


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  • Diving archaeologists find unique lion helmet

    Finding a Montefiorino helmet on the Egadi seafloor


    By Philippe Bohstrom - Haaretz


    A unique bronze helmet discovered in the deep by marine archaeologists off the Sicilian coast, which they have dated to a sea battle of 241 B.C.E. may have been a precursor of the lion-themed helmets used by Rome's Praetorian Guards, the personal bodyguards of the Roman emperors.

    The corps of the Praetorian Guards were established more than two centuries after that battle, by Emperor Augustus. Praetorian helmets also sported a lion-shaped relief, and were sometimes adorned with real lion skin.

    The helmet's dating is based, among other things, on pottery jars and other debris discovered on the sea floor at the site. Recovered from the site of the Battle of the Egadi Islands (Aegadian islands), northwest of Sicily, the helmet is a Montefortino, a Celtic style-helmet that had been worn across Europe, also popularly known as a "Roman helmet".

    These are easily identified: they look like half a watermelon with a knob on top and cheek flaps down the sides that tie at the chin. But this one had a difference: the lion decoration.

    "Montefortinos spread from central Europe, down through Italy then across into Western Europe. Variations were worn by the Roman and mercenaries on both sides of the conflict,” explains Dr. Jeffrey Royal. And indeed, say the archaeologists, all the helmets discovered thus far on the Egadi seabed were of Montefortino type. 

    However, the newly discovered helmet has a unique feature: what appears to be a relief of a lion's skin embracing the central cone adorning its peak. Only one Montefortino helmet is known to have a relief on top, that appears to show a stylized bird.


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  • San Francisco shipwreck: Divers find 'cannonball clue'

    Jun Kimura (left) and Ian McCann (centre) made the underwater discovery shortly before their air was due to run out


    From BBC


    The San Francisco was travelling from the Philippines to Mexico when it sank.

    The galleon was believed to be carrying valuable trade goods which could be worth millions today, researchers say.

    Its location has been a mystery - but the suspected cannonball, thought to be the first artefact ever found from the ship, offers clues about where it sank. Dr Jun Kimura from Tokai University has been leading a team of maritime archaeologists, who have been searching for the San Francisco in waters off Iwawada in Chiba prefecture.

    The cannonball was discovered by Ian McCann, an Australian researcher at the University of New England, during a deep dive nearly 40m (131 ft) below the surface.

    "We were in dark, murky waters," Dr Kimura told the BBC. "Ian just saw an unusual shape on the sandy bed - he recovered it but then we had to go back to the surface as our air had nearly run out."

    He said the team, and archaeological experts they had consulted, were "almost certain" it was a cannonball from the San Francisco, as it was similar to cannonballs found in other Spanish trading ships in the Philippines.

    However, they will be carrying out a chemical analysis to confirm this.


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  • France claims rights to shipwreck

    By Matt Soergel - The Florida Times


    France has filed a legal claim to an ancient shipwreck discovered off Cape Canaveral, saying it was part of the French fleet that in 1565 went to the aid of that country’s doomed colony at Fort Caroline in Jacksonville.

    That follows a claim by the private treasure salvage company that found the wreck, and seems likely to lead to a dispute in U.S. District Court in Orlando over ownership of the artifacts.

    It would be a high-stakes battle: A state archaeology report says the wreck, if it is indeed connected to the French fleet, “would be of immense archaeological significance.”

    The wreckage includes at least one particularly spectacular artifact — a granite monument adorned with a symbol of France’s coat of arms, the fleur-de-lis. It’s similar to the one, never discovered, that French Capt. Jean Ribault left at the mouth of the St. Johns River in 1562 to stake a claim to Florida.

    “That’s your crown jewel there, that’s your holy grail,” said Chuck Meide, a marine archaeologist who led a 2014 expedition that searched for, but did not find, the lost fleet. “I never would have dreamed this.” That marker’s not likely to be the one left at Jacksonville, however, said Meide.

    Evidence though shows Ribault’s 1565 fleet carried several other stone markers to be used in its exploration of the New World, he said. Meide, director of the maritime archaeological program at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, is among those who believe the wreck is that of the Trinité, Ribault’s flagship, which played a fateful role in the early history of the New World.

    Ribault’s fleet of four ships left France to support the small, struggling French Protestant colony at Fort Caroline.

    The Spanish came at about the same time, with orders to wipe out the French outpost in land that Spain claimed for itself. Ribault sailed to attack the new Spanish settlement in St. Augustine, but his ships were driven south in a hurricane, leaving Fort Caroline virtually undefended.

    During the storm, the Spanish marched north and took over the French colony, seizing firm control of Florida for the next couple centuries.
     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Over 40 mysterious shipwrecks in the Black Sea

    The ROV is launched from the vessel Stril Explorer


    By Léa Surugue - International Business Times


    The first maritime archaeology expedition mapping ancient submerged landscapes to take place in the Black Sea has led to the discovery of more than 40 shipwrecks associated with the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires.

    Vivid descriptions of these ships can be found in historical records, but some of them had never been seen before.

    The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project is run by an international team and involves the University of Southampton's Centre for Maritime Archaeology. Funded by the Expedition and Education Foundation (EEF) – a charitable organisation for maritime research – its aim is to survey the Black Sea near Bulgaria to understand how water rose there and covered ancient lands at the end of the last Ice Age.

    "We're endeavouring to answer some hotly-debated questions about when the water level rose, how rapidly it did so and what effects it had on human populations living along this stretch of the Bulgarian coast of the Black Sea," explains principle investigator Professor Jon Adams.

    "As such, the primary focus of this project is to carry out geophysical surveys to detect former land surfaces buried below the current sea bed, take core samples and characterise and date them, and create a palaeo-environmental reconstruction of Black Sea prehistory."

    On board an offshore vessel called the Stril Explorer, the team is equipped with some of the most advanced technologies in the world for underwater archaeology.

    They are surveying the sea bed using two sophisticated Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) – one of which has set new records for both depth (1,800m) and sustained speed (over 6 knots).

    And what they have found has exceeded their expectations.


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  • Sassanid-era pottery off Bushehr Peninsula

    By Ramin Adibi - Past Horizons


    A pottery assemblage consisting of fragments of food storage vessels and amphora belonging to the Sassanid era (224 to 651 CE) has been discovered in the first underwater archaeological investigations near the coastal city of Bushehr, south-western Iran.

    Hossein Tofighian, exploration team supervisor explained that the underwater archaeological surveys under license from the Research Institute for Cultural Heritage and Tourism, are being carried out off the coastline of Bushehr as part of a field research program in partnership with the University of Medical Sciences.

    Early on in the diving operations, the team discovered fragments of large food storage jars and torpedo-shaped amphora, leading them to conclude that there is a very high likelihood of an archaeological site within the shallow waters of the Bushehr Peninsula.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • 3D prints of shipwrecks off Drumbeg and Folkestone

    The 3D model of two cannon at the site of shipwreck in Sutherland


    By Steven McKenzie - BBC.com


    Two shipwrecks in UK waters are among the world's first underwater archaeological sites to be recreated using 3D printing technology.

    Archaeologists have made a full colour model of a wreck near Drumbeg, in Sutherland, thought to date from the late 17th or early 18th century. A print has also been made of HMHS Anglia, a World War One hospital ship lost off Folkestone in Kent in 1915.

    The steamship, built in Dumbarton in 1900, sank after it struck a mine. 3D printing involves machines that can create a three dimensional object from an image by laying down thin layers of materials such as plastic - or in this case plaster of paris - on top of each other.

    Wessex Archaeology worked with printing firms in Scotland and England after first investigating and scanning the wreck sites.

    The first of the wrecks to be printed was the Drumbeg shipwreck. The wreck lies at a depth of 12m (39ft) in Eddrachillis Bay and consists of three cannon, two anchors and partial hull remains that lie on and below the seabed.

    The cannon are heavily encrusted and colonised by small red seaweeds. Local scallop divers Ewen Mackay and Michael Errington discovered the wreck in the 1990s.

    Archaeologists are still working to confirm the identity of the wreck, but Wessex Archaeology said one "intriguing possibility" is that it is the Crowned Raven, a Dutch trading vessel.

    The ship was known to have been lost in the bay the winter of 1690 or 1691 during passage from the Baltic Sea to Portugal with a cargo of timbers and hemp.

    Surveys of the wreck were first undertaken by archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology working on behalf of Historic Environment Scotland in 2012.


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  • Scarce remains of Captain Cook's ship could stay in US

    Excavation work to uncover the HMS Endeavour shipwreck at Newport Harbour will be difficult.


    By Stephanie March - ABC News
     

    A team of US researchers believe they have narrowed down the search for the wreck of Captain Cook's HMS Endeavour to a group of five ships in a Rhode Island harbour, but it is unclear if any artefacts would ever make their way to Australia.

    The remains of the ship the British explorer used for his voyage to Australia, supposedly uncovered in Newport Harbour, legally belong to the state of Rhode Island.

    US archaeologists from the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) will work with the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney to confirm the remains of a ship found in the harbour belong to the HMS Endeavour.

    They knew Endeavour was likely to be one of 13 ships scuttled in 1778 by the British navy in order to blockade a channel during the American Revolution.

    The research team, headed by marine archaeologist Kathy Abbass, uncovered new documents from the UK which allowed them to narrow down the location of the Endeavour in a 500-by-500-metre area.

    The marine archaeologists believe five ships are in that section of the harbour. The team has already mapped four of the wreck sites.

    "We have one more year to do of this kind of preliminary work," Dr Abbass said. "But to figure out which ones are which means we have got to do excavation." Australian National Maritime Museum maritime archaeologist Kieran Hosty said experts dived the area in September after using a site scan sonar, but the water was extremely murky.

    He predicted 10 to 15 per cent of the hull remained.


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  • Global leaders have their sights on shipwrecks

    Shipwreck


    By Peter B. Campbell - Gulf News


    Archaeology has long been exploited as a political tool. Hitler used artefacts and symbols to manufacture a narrative of Aryan racial superiority.

    Daesh (the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) proves its zealotry by destroying evidence of ancient history. Underwater archaeology — the world of shipwrecks and sunken cities — has mostly avoided these kinds of machinations, though. Since no one lives beneath the sea, leaders haven’t found many opportunities for political gains from archaeological sites there. That is, until now.

    In the past few years, politicians in Canada, Russia and China have realised that they can use shipwrecks on the sea floor to project their sovereignty into new maritime territories. And this politicised abuse of science is putting the world on a path toward conflict.

    For decades, global powers have been engaged in a race to exploit lucrative marine resources, from oil to fisheries to control of strategic waterways. But they have faced a challenge: How can a country claim new territory despite the restrictions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea ?

    It turns out that “historical ties” to resource-rich regions can conveniently help to contravene international law. Last year, Canada announced the discovery of H.M.S. Erebus, Sir John Franklin’s flagship, which disappeared during a Northwest Passage expedition in 1845.

    Stephen Harper, then the prime minister, personally announced the discovery. His government and its allies provided significant funding for the research. But Harper isn’t just a history buff; his interests are practical.

    Global warming has made the Northwest Passage more accessible to shipping, which could be an economic windfall for Canada if the government is able to demonstrate sovereignty and charge other countries a transit fee.

    “Franklin’s ships are an important part of Canadian history given that his expeditions, which took place nearly 200 years ago, laid the foundations of Canada’s Arctic sovereignty,” Harper said.


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  • Seabed secrets of an ancient cargo ship

    By Louise Murray - Engineering and Technology Magazine
     

    A scientific expedition to an ancient Mediterranean shipwreck reveals the luxurious lifestyle of wealthy Romans in the time of Caesar.

    This year, marine archaeologists have been exploring the richest ancient Greek shipwreck of all time using 21st-century technology. The vessel, which sank in around 65 BC, was a 65-metre boat packed with luxury goods from the craftsmen of ancient Greece and the eastern Mediterranean, destined for the burgeoning Roman market.

    From the evidence of silver coins found on board, it probably began its journey in Pergamum or Ephesus in modern-day western Turkey, stopping off at the tax-free port and trading centre of Delos in Greece to pick up further goods. The ship sank off the coast of the tiny Greek island of Antikythera en route to a Roman port and the main market for its luxurious cargo.

    Brendan Foley, a historian, archaeologist and diver from the USA’s Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), leads the expedition. “Every single dive delivers fabulous finds and reveals how the ‘one per cent’ lived in the time of Caesar,” he notes.

    The ship carried art masterpieces of the age, destined for Roman villas: exquisite bronze and marble statues, glassware from Syria and Lebanon, ceramics, bronze couches and amphorae and most important of all, the unique Antikythera mechanism.

    This was a sophisticated astronomical calculator, dubbed the world’s first analogue computer and the only one of its kind ever discovered. Even after three waves of exploration, much of the cargo remains deep under the water, as yet untouched.

    The wreck was first discovered in spring 1900 by sponge divers. A major recovery of its treasures was made later in the year with the help of the Greek Navy, by divers in bronze diving helmets who were supplied with air pumped from the surface.

    Jacques-Yves Cousteau visited the site in 1953 on his expedition ship Calypso and returned to lead a major excavation of the wreck in 1976 as part of a film project, using a small submersible.

    Yet it was not until 2014 that a major new expedition began working onsite, its first truly scientific excavation. The multi-year expedition is a collaboration between the Greek Ministry of Culture and WHOI.

    “We’ve trained our marine archaeologists for five years to be ready to work this wreck,” Foley. “It’s deep, much of it lies at more than 50 metres and for us to be able to spend reasonable working time down there safely we’ve had to learn to use rebreather technology instead of scuba tanks and air.”

    The closed-circuit rebreathers chemically scrub the carbon dioxide from the exhaled breath and top up the inhaled breath with oxygen.

    To avoid the bends on ascent due to nitrogen accumulation in the body’s tissues, the necessary long decompression stops are made on gas mixes, culminating in the divers breathing pure oxygen near the surface.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • More details confirm identity of century-old shipwreck

    Chinese cruiser Zhiyuan


    From Xinhua


    Archaeologists have discovered details which could confirm a shipwreck found in the Yellow Sea to be the cruiser Zhiyuan, sunk by the Japanese navy 121 years ago during the Sino-Japanese War.

    After more than two months of underwater exploration and salvage, archaeologists believe they have identified a wreck found off the port of Dandong in northeast China as one of the Beiyang Fleet, defeated in 1894 by the Japanese navy in the Battle of Yellow Sea.

    The 50-meter wreck is about 10 nautical miles southwest of Dandong Port, at depth of around 20 meters.

    Severely damaged in the battle, the ship is not well preserved, said team leader Zhou Chunshui. No cabins have been found intact and the engine room is still buried in the sand During the past two months, divers have brought up over 120 items from the seabed, including some 60 copper coins, armaments and personal belongings.

    "We found a piece of a leather belt, insoles, and comb," Zhou said."They are too badly damaged to infer anything about their owners."

    The archaeological investigation remains exclusively submarine and it has not yet been decided whether or when the ship will be salvaged, he added. Team member Cui Yong said three porcelain plates had been retrieved from the wreck, clearly showing the characters "Zhi" and "Yuan", strong evidence of the identity of the ship.

    Three shells found have been confirmed as belonging to the Zhiyuan.


    Full story...

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Lizard shipwreck mass grave of Royal Anne

    The Royal Anne


    By WBGraeme - West Briton


    An archaeological dig will try to find the mass grave of more than 200 people who drowned in a disastrous shipwreck off The Lizard.

    The National Trust has teamed up with experts from Bournemouth University, Maritime Archaeological Sea Trust (MAST) and The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Maritime Archaeology Society to survey Pistil meadow.

    In November of 1721, 207 sailors lost their lives in a ferocious storm when their military transport galley, the Royal Anne, hit rocks and sank off Lizard Point.

    Three people survived by clinging to wreckage. Among the dead was Lord Belhaven, who was leaving Britain to take up his newly-appointed posting as governor of Barbados in mysterious circumstances after the untimely death of his wife.

    The Royal Anne was designed by the Marquis of Carmarthen and launched in 1709 as a small and speedy warship, designed to be powered by oar or sail so as not to be outmanoeuvred by pirates.

    Her military postings had included protecting Russian trade off Norway, combating notorious Morocco-based pirates the Rovers of Sallee, and cruising Scottish waters during the Jacobite rebellion.

    The wreck was found close inshore in the 1970s by divers who first located two guns, but its identity was only clinched in the 1990s by the discovery of silver cutlery with the Belhaven family crest.

    The wreck site was protected in 1993 although the rocks and huge Atlantic swells meant only a scattering of objects survived. Other finds have included coins, watch parts, copper bowls and cannon shot.

    It is believed the crew were buried, as was customary at the time, in un-consecrated ground.
     

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  • Baron de Rothschild's ship identified over 100 years later

    After 16 years, researchers link wreck to missing Rothschild ship


    By Eben Blake - International Business Times


    The fate of a ship sent to Palestine by Baron Edmond de Rothschild in the 1890s may finally have been revealed, after researchers identified Monday a wreck off the north shore of Israel as the ship.

    While the wreckage was discovered off Dor Beach near Zichron Ya'acov in 1976, researchers positively verified its identity Monday. Rothschild, the wealthy French banker and philanthropist, sent three ships in the 1890s to bring raw materials from France to his glass factory in Zichron Ya'acov to help make wine bottles for several nearby wineries that he owned.

    Rothschild, an ardent Zionist, helped fund early Jewish settlements in the Holy Land, and began the wineries and the glass factory to develop greater industry in the region.

    But while the first two ships arrived safely at their destination to deliver their cargo, nothing was known for years on the fate of the third.

    "Records from the time show that two [of the ships] were sold, while no information is listed whatsoever about the third ship," said Deborah Cvikel and Micky Holtzman, maritime researchers at University of Haifa, who led the investigation, in a statement, according to the Jerusalem Post.

    In 1999, archaeologists tried to date the two-masted schooner off Dor Beach, which matched the description of the baron's ships, using carbon-14 dating of the wood, but could only put the shipwreck in a 300-year range, between 1660 and 1960, according to Haaretz.

    But an investigation in 2008 examining the ship's cargo revealed more positive identifiers – pots, earthenware, ceramic tiles, barrels and crates.


    Full story...

     

  • Xisha underwater survey

    Underwater Treasure at the Xisha Archipelago


    From CCTV


    Now some progress on China's large-scale underwater archaeological mission. A team of archaeologists set off last month to excavate a shipwreck in the Xisha archipelago in the South China Sea. And they've already made some remarkable discovery.

    A team of Chinese archaeologists embarked on one of the country's largest underwater surveys in mid-April, in the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea. The 25 underwater archaeologists are equipped with a 900-ton archaeological vessel and four auxiliary vessels.

    The survey is focused on Yongle Atoll, which is located to the west of Xisha Islands. And the crew has found a substantial amount of stone building material and carvings at the site.

    These artifacts contain a wealth of historical information and valuable proof of the ancient Maritime Silk Route. This was a maritime route that connected China with other regions of the world for trade and cultural exchanges.


    Full article...



  • Finnish archaeologists find wreck of 15th century

    The Hanneke Wrome


    By April Holloway - Ancient Origins

    An archaeological diving team in Finland said they have found the wreck of the Hanneke Wrome, which sank with valuable cargo and some 200 passengers and crew on November 20, 1468.

    Historic documents record the ship as carrying 10,000 gold coins, estimated to be worth around €50 million today.

    Finnish Daily Helsingin Sanomat reports that diver and wreck researcher Rauno Koivusaari, Finland’s most experienced wreck researcher who discovered the famous treasure ship Vrouw Maria in 1999, found the treasured shipwreck just south of the island of Jussarö in Finland.

    The Hanneke Wromen, named after the ship’s captain, was one of two ships on its way from Luebeck in Germany to Tallinn in Estonia, when it was hit by heavy storms that forced it to move closer to coast of Finland.

    The Hanneke Wrome sank while the other ship managed to get to Tallinn.

    The accident killed all 200 passengers and crew on board and was considered one of the most serious disasters to occur in the Baltic Sea at the time.


    Full article...



  • Margaret Rule and the Mary Rose

    Margaret Rule


    From Martin Childs - The Independent

    Margaret Rule was the archaeological director who led the team that raised the Mary Rose, Henry VIII's flagship, from its resting place in the Solent in front of a worldwide television audience of more 60 million, 437 years after it sank while engaging the French Navy.

    Resolute and full of drive and determination, Rule was fundamental to the success of the project, and oversaw the world's largest maritime excavation, one which set the benchmark for future projects.

    Rule became the face of and driving force for the Mary Rose Trust in the early stages of the project. She secured the funding for the excavation and the construction of the £27m Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth's historic dockyard which houses the ship's hull and more than 19,000 recovered artefacts.

    "This is a duty to the men of the Mary Rose," Rule declared at the opening of the new museum in 2013. It is their monument." Rear-Admiral John Lippiett added, "The Mary Rose is very much her legacy to the nation."

    Born in High Wycombe in 1928, Margaret Helen Martin was the only child of Ernest, a sales manager, and his wife, Mabel. Soon after, the family moved to London, where Margaret lived through the Blitz.

    After leaving school she read chemistry at University College London, but her studies were cut short when the government introduced a scheme to free places for returning servicemen, who were considered a higher priority.

    Unperturbed, she went to night school, which soon led to her working for Beechams pharmaceutical company on a team developing toothpaste. There she met Arthur Rule, a microbiologist.


    Full story...



  • Shipwreck excavation may explain 349-year-old mystery

    HMS London


    By Maev Kennedy - The Guardian

     

    A major underwater rescue excavation is being mounted this summer by English Heritage to solve a 349-year-old mystery: how warship the London managed to blow itself up without firing a shot at the enemy, in broad daylight, within sight of the Southend seafront.

    Cotswold Archaeology and local divers hope to recover as much information as possible before the ship’s splinted timbers finally disintegrate.

    Much of the wreck has been preserved in pristine condition on the bed of the Thames Estuary, sealed within a deep layer of silt and mud, but it has been on the national inventory of heritage at risk since it was realised that timbers were being scoured bare and quickly destroyed by changing tidal patterns, including the dredging for the huge new London Gateway port development.

    In 1665 the explosion was a humiliating disaster.

    The London was blown in half, and sank almost instantly. At least 300 people died, perhaps many more: a surprising number of the human remains recovered so far have proved to be female, suggesting that as well as the 350 crew, plus extra gunners for the newly mounted artillery, the 17th century ship was carrying many of their wives and sweethearts.

    “It’s a good question why there were so many women, and one on which I wouldn’t care to speculate,” archaeologist and diver Dan Pascoe said.

    Only 24 men and one woman survived the disaster, clinging to the ornately carved stern which the archaeologists believe was left sticking vertically out of the shallow water.

    A few hours later the London’s new commander, Sir John Lawson, would have gone down with the ship: as it was, several of his children and other members of his family died. The London had been refitted at Chatham, and was sailing to Gravesend to collect him and become his flagship in the second Anglo-Dutch wars.

    The ship was carrying 300 barrels of gunpowder and it is believed that a 21 gun salute was being prepared. “Clearly there was some hiccup,” Mark Dunkley, maritime archaeologist at English Heritage said.

     


     

  • Cursed, 450-year-old shipwreck to be explored

    The Mars


    From News Discovery

    Researchers have begun exploring the wreckage of the Mars, a Swedish war ship that sank during a naval battle in 1564.

    Johan Rönnby, professor of maritime archeology at Södertörn University in Sweden, was recently awarded a grant from the National Geographic Society for his project, "The Maritime Battlefield of Mars (1964)."

    How were the Vikings such remarkable mariners ? Scientists have found the answer buried deep in a 16th-century shipwreck.

    "It's a unique ship," Rönnby said. "Maybe the biggest in the world during this time. And when it exploded, because it actually exploded during the fight, it went down to the bottom ... so we are diving on the wreck, but we are also diving on the sunken battlefield."

    The ship sank during a bloody battle against a fleet from Denmark and the German city of Lübeck. Mars was rumored to have been cursed because many of its 130 cannons were made from melted church bells.

    Rönnby says due to the brackish water and conditions of the Baltic Sea, the ship is remarkably well-preserved.

    "The cold and darker water of the Baltic Sea preserves wreck in a fantastic way, and that's really the reason we have Mars on the bottom like this," Rönnby said.


    Video of the wreck





  • Tests for China's first archaeological exploration ship

    UNderwater archaeology


    From English CNTV




    China's first underwater archaeological exploration vessel has begun testing in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.

    The ship, owned by China's cultural heritage team, is berthed at the private port of Changhang Dongfeng Shipbuilding Corporation. The hull of the ship is white, emblazoned with "Chinese Archeology" both in Chinese and English.

    The 500-tonne, 56-meter vessel has a maximum displacement of 960 tonnes, and can carry a crew of 30, according to an official with the Chongqing culture and heritage commission.

    Underwater archaeology in China has made great strides since the 1980s and a number of professional institutions and teams work in the field. The lack of properly equipped vessels ships has long been a problem.

    This ship, designed by the 701 Research Institute of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, will continue testing in Shanghai before sailing out to the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea to begin archaeology work.

  • Is treasure hunting the world's worst investment ?

    Treasure hunting ?


    By Peter B. Campbell & Rodrigo Pacheco-Ruiz - Bloomberg

     

    Dreams of undersea riches make treasure hunting a seductive investment. As professional underwater archaeologists, we don’t normally comment on the commercial salvage of historical shipwrecks.

    But in this case, our expert opinion is: Don’t waste your money.

    The fact is, no major treasure-hunting venture has ever been profitable for investors, according to a series of academic studies. And from an archaeological point of view, there are compelling scientific and legal reasons that investments in treasure hunting won’t pay off.

    Treasure hunting has recently been in the news. On Monday, Tampa, Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. said that it had recovered gold from the sunken ship SS Central America, with estimates that there may be as much as $86 million in precious metal at the wreck site off the coast of South Carolina.

    Investors are typically drawn to salvage ventures by these kinds of estimates. However, analysis of eventual sales of the recovered artifacts shows the projections are always inflated and never realized.

    When Mel Fisher found the wreck of the Atocha, a 17th-century Spanish galleon that sank off the Florida Keys, he estimated that the cargo was worth $400 million.

    Sales of recovered artifacts suggest a value of $13 million to $24 million, or no more than 6 percent of the original estimate. Over the years, Odyssey has projected a total of $3 billion for its various projects, but to date it has recovered only 2 percent of that amount.

    High operating expenses ultimately make treasure hunting unprofitable. Of the six largest salvage projects, all but the Atocha definitively lost money despite multimillion-dollar cargoes, according to a 2013 report.

    (It is debatable whether the Atocha venture was actually profitable and the data haven't been disclosed.)

    Shares of the eight public treasure-hunting companies trade at pennies, except for Odyssey.

    The news media often touts billion-dollar figures when a new wreck is found. Records of what was actually on the ships often directly contradict the inflated estimates.


    Full article...

  • 'Byzantine iPad' found in ancient shipwreck

    By Rossella Lorenzi - News Discovery

     

    Turkish archaeologists excavating a harbor site on the European side of the Bosphorus have unearthed a 1,200-year-old wooden object which they claim is the ancient equivalent of a tablet computer. The device was a notebook and tool — in one.

    The Byzantine invention was found within the remains of one of the 37 ships unearthed in the Yenikapi area of Istanbul, a site which has been at the center of excavations for the past 10 years.

    Also known as Theodosius Port, it was built in the late 4th century during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius I and become the city's most important commercial port.

    Probably belonging to the ship's captain, the wooden object, whose cover is finely carved with decorations, is the size of a modern seven-inch tablet, but it's much thicker.

    It consists of a set of five overlaid rectangular panels carved with frames and covered with wax. Notes could be taken on those panels, as shown by writing in Greek which is still visible on the wax.

    A primitive "app" is hidden on the bottom panel: a sliding lid revealing a hidden plate with carved spaces.

    "When you draw the sliding part, there are small weights used as an assay balance," Ufuk Kocabaş, director of Istanbul University’s department of marine archeology and the Yenikapi Shipwrecks Project, told Hurriyet Daily News.

     



     

  • Divers stage emergency excavation of historic Thames shipwreck

    The London


    By Dalya Alberge - The Guardian

    Archaeologists will embark on an emergency excavation of one of Britain's most important shipwrecks on Sunday after discovering it is deteriorating at alarming speed because of the warmer waters caused by climate change.

    The once-mighty 17th-century vessel, named the London, has lain in the muddy silt of the Thames estuary off the Essex coast near Southend-on-Sea for 350 years.

    Built in 1656, she was in a convoy that transported Charles II from the Netherlands to restore him to his throne after Oliver Cromwell's death in 1658. One of the most illustrious ships of her day, her remains are now a time capsule of the 17th century.

    English Heritage, the government advisory body, has commissioned Cotswold Archaeology to carry out a major excavation.

    Mark Dunkley, a marine archaeologist at English Heritage, told the Guardian: "It's rare for wooden shipwrecks of this age and older to survive to this extent."

    The hundreds of surviving wrecks are mostly later iron and steel ships.

    Asked why the wreck is deteriorating now after 350 years, he said: "Through human-induced climate change, warmer water is moving northwards. That's allowing the migration of warm-water invasive species."

    He spoke of the need for action to stop warm-water ship-boring organisms eating away at timber and organic artefacts and prevent loose objects being dispersed.


    Full story...



  • ‘No way!’ Clock found in shipwreck debris off Galveston

    By Doug Miller - KHOU

    An underwater archeology project coordinated from a high-tech command center in Galveston has discovered a centuries-old clock amid the debris of a shipwreck found in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Deep in the briny waters of the gulf, the timepiece’s round face marked with Roman numerals -- spotted in live images transmitted by a robotic vehicle – delighted scientists spending much of this week remotely exploring a debris field from what apparently was a disaster at sea in the early 1800s.

    As the darkened control room at Texas A&M Galveston echoed with scientists’ voices crying out “That’s a chronometer !” and “No way !,” a computer monitor showed what looked like the hand of a clock pointing toward numbers that ringed the round rim of the clock’s face.

    “Now, that’s cool!” said Kim Faulk, a marine archeologist working on the project.

    The distinctive timepiece deepened archeologists’ suspicions that nobody escaped the lost vessel alive. Under anything but an extreme emergency, they suspect, sailors leaving the ship during that era would almost certainly have taken the clock, a valuable piece of nautical equipment.

    The clock is only one of the latest discoveries from a debris field found about 175 miles off the coast of Galveston in 2011.

    Images beamed back from the site show the ghostly remains of three ships that marine archeologists believe sank about two centuries ago.

    “This, we believe, is a telescope,” said Dr. Steve Gittings of National Marine Sanctuaries with NOAA, pointing toward a picture transmitted from the shipwreck.

    “Right here, with the glass lenses broken out of it, probably because of pressure when the ship sank.”


    Full story...

  • Exploring England’s shipwreck heritage

    Shipwreck heritage


    By Carly Hilts - Current Archaeology

     

    From sea shanties to the shipping forecast, boats and the sea are woven into the fabric of English life and culture, and yet we only began to take shipwrecks seriously as historical and archaeological monuments in the 1970s.

    Chris Catling looks at what we have gained in the 40 years since the passing of the landmark Protection of Wrecks Act in 1973.

    England’s rocky shores and sandy estuaries are littered with the remains of historic ships and boats.

    Shipwrecks, in fact, constitute the largest category of recorded monument, with some 37,000 shipwreck ‘events’ on record, ranging in date from the Bronze Age to the more recent ship and submarine casualties of two World Wars (not to mention dirigibles and aeroplanes lost on the seabed).

    To put that in perspective, there are 14,500 places of worship in England considered to be of sufficient architectural or historic interest to be included in the National Heritage Register.

    And whereas the number of historic places of worship is relatively static, the number of known wreck sites is growing all the time; what we know now represents just a fraction of the actual number of historic shipwrecks on the seabed.

    Two new sites of great importance were discovered as recently as 2006, when archaeologists found two adjacent wreck sites prior to dredging works in the River Thames – those of the London, built at Chatham in 1656 (soon to have its own CA feature), and the King, a vessel thought to have foundered during the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652-1654).

    Systematic surveys funded by English Heritage are taking place around England’s coast to try to pin down exactly what has survived.

    The Modern Wrecks Project, for instance, has so far added 500 new records to the wreck database of ships lost since 1945.

    This has revealed new patterns in the type of vessel lost: for example, the large number of fishing trawlers that sank in the 1970s and 1980s, especially those from former Soviet Eastern Europe.

    Another recording programme called the National Hulks Assemblage Project is looking not at ships wrecked as a result of storms like the one that lashed England and the near Continent on St Jude’s Day, 28 October 2013, but vessels deliberately abandoned.


    Full story...


     

  • China to recover ancient shipwreck’s treasures

    The Nanhai 1


    From South China Morning Post

     

    China is to start removing treasures from its greatest ever marine archaeological discovery, six years after the wreck was raised from the seabed in a giant metal box, reports said on Friday.

    The wooden Nanhai 1 sank near Yangjiang in the southern province of Guangdong during the Southern Song dynasty of 1127-1279, with an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 items on board.

    For centuries it was preserved under the sea by a thick covering of silt, and it was discovered accidentally by a British-Chinese expedition looking for a completely different vessel, the Rhynsburg from the Dutch East India Company (VOC).

    The Nanhai 1 was salvaged in 2007, and its cargo of porcelain, lacquerware and gold objects is “more than enough to stuff a provincial-level museum”, said the Southern Metropolis Daily.


    Full story...


     

  • Divers recover part of Civil War shipwreck in Georgia

    CSS Georgia


    From Fox News

    Navy divers, working with salvage operations teams for the Army Corps of Engineers, have recovered 64-square-foot section of a Civil War ironclad warship from the bottom of the Savannah River in Georgia.

    The Savannah Morning News reports that divers lifted the 5,000-pound section of the CSS Georgia during a test operation Tuesday.

    The removal of the shipwreck is part of a multi-million dollar plan to to deepen the Savannah River channel. 

    The 120-foot-long CSS Georgia was built in 1862 to protect Savannah during the Civil War. The ship had armor forged from railroad iron, but its engines proved too weak to propel the ship's 1,200-ton frame against river currents. 

    The Georgia was anchored on the riverside at Fort Jackson as a floating gun battery.

    The ship was eventually scuttled by its own crew without having ever fired a shot to prevent its capture by Gen. William T. Sherman when his Union troops took Savannah in December 1864. 

    In 1987, the shipwreck won a place on the National Register of Historic Places, the official listing of treasured sites and buildings from America's past. 

    A smaller-scale recovery effort in the 1980s removed two cannon, a few cannon balls and other artifacts, the Savannah Morning News reported. 


    Full article...



  • University archaeologists excavate Monterrey shipwreck

    By Juliette Moak - University Star
     

    A team of marine archaeologists partnered with Texas State conducted the deepest archaeological shipwreck excavation in North America this summer, discovering two sunken ships in the process.

    A team of researchers from Texas State’s Meadows Center for Water and the Environment and other entities spent five days from July 18 through 25 mapping and documenting the underwater wreckage, according to a press release disseminated by the university.

    Using the Ocean Exploration Trust’s vessel Nautilus, the team explored a shipwreck at the record-breaking depth of 4,363 feet below the surface. When the team investigated the surrounding area, they discovered two more ships within a five-mile radius of the Monterrey wreck, according to the press release.

    “We went to the Monterrey shipwreck with questions and came home with even more,” said Fredrick Hanselmann, chief underwater archaeologist at the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.

    “We found two more shipwrecks that carried a variety of similar artifacts to the first, but there were some stark differences as well.”

    Hanselmann said the second shipwreck did not have copper sheathing around its hull like the other two. Its cargo appeared to include tanned hides with blocks of tallow, which, he said, would have made a profit if copper were found.

    The third shipwreck was the largest of the sites, however, the content of its cargo was not evident, Hanselmann said.

    “Neither of the two new shipwrecks had any armament (armour) either, whereas the first had a large swivel gun, carronades and two different sections loaded with muskets,” Hanselmann said.

    Hanselmann said since they were only granted a federal antiquities permit allowing them to remove artifacts from the first shipwreck, they had to leave the other two untouched until a later date. He said they were able to conduct extensive mapping and documented the additional areas through photographs and video.

    “The information we gained will allow us to analyze the two new wrecks and pinpoint goals for the next trip to the site,” Hanselmann said.

    The vessels are thought to be from the early 1800s, possibly privateer ships, Hanselmann said. It is not believed there were any survivors from the wrecks.

    Among the more than 60 artifacts recovered from the first vessel were pottery from Mexico, china from Britain, a musket from Canada, eyeglasses, liquor bottles, clothing and a toothbrush, Hanselmann said.


     


     

  • Rudder from 400-year-old English Channel shipwreck raised

    Rudder from shipwreck


    From UPI

    Archaeologists in Britain say an elaborately carved rudder from a ship resting on the bottom of the English Channel for more than 400 years has been raised.

    The 28-foot-long, 3 1/2-ton rudder, bearing the carving of a man's face, is part of the so-called Swash Channel Wreck, believed to have been a Dutch trading ship that sank in the early 17th century, The Guardian reported.

    Archaeologists from Bournemouth University have been working to excavate and piece together the history of the wreck, about which little is known.

    "This is the first time this rudder has been seen above the surface in more than 400 years," marine archaeologist Dave Parham said.

    Other artifacts raised from the wreck near Poole harbor in Dorset include cannons, leather shoes and wooden barrels.

    "We've only recovered around 4 percent of the wreck and the rudder is the single largest object that we've raised," Parham said.

    The rudder will undergo two years of conservation work before going on display in Poole Museum.



  • Vietnamese fishermen find another old shipwreck

    From Thanh Nien News

     

    Fishermen in the central province of Quang Ngai have found another old sunken boat near the shore, the third old shipwreck spotted in the waters recently and only 100 meters from the second one found last September.

    Though it was near midnight on Thursday, around 30 fishing boats had rushed over for a treasure hunt upon hearing of the discovery, which happened around 100 meters off Chau Thuan Bien Village of Binh Son District, and around 1.5 meters under water.

    They were jostling around above the boat’s location, around 100 meters to the west of one that was salvaged last July, when more than 4,000 intact antiques were recovered and some were believed to come from the 13th century.

    Boats also dredged the sea bed around the area in hopes it would stir up some antiques. Many people used axes and crowbars to take the antiques quickly, only to break many pottery plates and bowls.

    Nguyen Van Thinh, a more gentle hunter, said: “There are many antiques in the boat, but people fought so much for them, smashing them… What a waste !” Thinh said the boat is buried under sand, but part of its has been revealed by dredging and the wooden body looks new.

    Police and other security forces were deployed and cleared the chaos on Friday morning. Doan Ngoc Khoi, deputy director of Quang Ngai Museum, estimated the antiques had come from the 16th or 17th century.

    “Their patterns are very sophisticated, and totally different from those on the 13th-century relics found on the other boat.”

    Officials have ordered full-time security at the site and asked experts to quickly work on a excavation plan, together with Ho Chi Minh City-based salvage company Doan Anh Duong that helped with the other boat last month.

    The previous shipwreck site was looted for days, and an attempt to recover the relics last October failed as the locals protested and threw rocks at police officers and turned police trucks upside down, arguing that finders should be keepers.

     


     

  • Researchers return to the Queen Anne’s Revenge site

    Queen Anne's Revenge


    By Michael "Beach Mick" Hudson - Beach Carolina

     

    Many unknown treasures and concretion-encased surprises await researchers on the wreck of Blackbeard’s flagship,  Queen Anne’s Revenge (QAR), near Beaufort. Part two of this year’s dive season resumed this week, and the plan is to recover artifacts from 60 five-foot by five-foot units by Oct. 31.

    After nearly 300 years on the sea floor, the artifacts often are locked in a concrete like crust of sand, shells and marine life that is removed during the conservation process.

    This summer’s earlier dive ended in mid-June with the recovery of two eight-foot long cannons. To date 15 cannons have been recovered, and six other cannons that then could not be retrieved now await recovery. Plans to lift them in June were upset by unfavorable wind and weather.

    “We still hope to recover the other cannons; one is already in place and ready to go,” says Project Director Billy Ray Morris.

    “We are seeking a vessel to lift the others since the retirement of the R/V Dan Moore, by Cape Fear Community College.

    It was a wonderful partner with us for many years.” The team will ask the college about use of its new vessel, R/V Hatteras, for further cannon recoveries.
     


     

  • Roman shipwreck may hold clay jars of 2,000-year-old food

    A police diver investigates clay amphorae from an ancient Roman shipwreck


    By Marc Lallanilla - LiveScience
     

    For fans of Italian cuisine, the news of a well-preserved ancient Roman shipwreck — whose cargo of food might still be intact — will surely whet their appetites.

    The ship is believed to be about 2,000 years old and is buried in the mud off the coast of Varazze, Italy, according to The Age.

    The mud kept the wreck hidden for centuries, but also helped to preserve it and its cargo, held in clay jars known as amphorae.

    "There are some broken jars around the wreck, but we believe that most of the amphorae inside the ship are still sealed and food-filled," Lt. Col. Francesco Schilardi, commander of the police diving team that found the shipwreck, told the BBC.

    Local fishermen suspected there might be a wreck in the area, because pieces of pottery kept turning up in their nets.

    Police divers used a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to locate the shipwreck about 160 feet (50 meters) underwater.

    "This is an exceptional find," Schilardi said. "Now, our goal is to preserve the ship and keep thieves out.

    We are executing surveys and excavations to study the contents of the boat, which is perfectly intact."

    Using sophisticated technologies like ROVs, sonar mapping equipment and genetic analysis, marine archaeologists have had considerable success in recent years in recovering well-preserved artifacts from shipwrecks.


    Full story...



  • Southern Surveyor locates resting place of WW2 shipwreck

    • On 06/02/2013

    Wreck of the Limeric


    From The Maritime Executive

    One of NSW’s wartime mysteries has at last been solved with the discovery of the wreckage of the MV Limerick off Ballina on the NSW far north coast, Heritage Minister Robyn Parker announced.

    Ms Parker said that while a lot is known about the sinking of the MV Limerick in 1943, it has taken almost 70 years and the opportunistic use of Australia’s Marine National Facility research vessel, Southern Surveyor, to identify the ship’s final location.

    “Limerick was one of the largest vessels sunk by Japanese submarines off Australia’s east coast during their offensive submarine patrols through 1942 and 1943,” Ms Parker said.

    “Local fishermen using modern depth sonars identified a large shipwreck in about 100 metres of water some 18 kilometres off the coast late last year.

    “Following their discovery, NSW Water Police assisted the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) in an initial survey of the deep site with a side scan sonar but due to bad weather they were unable to conclusively identify the shipwreck as being Limerick.”

    OEH then approached Australia’s Marine National Facility (AMNF), which operates Australia’s ocean-going research vessel, the 66-metre Southern Surveyor.

    Owned and operated by the CSIRO and funded by the Commonwealth, AMNF is a research facility which is available to all Australian scientists and their international collaborators.

    “The team at AMNF were contacted by OEH and coincidentally a research voyage was already scheduled to operate in the suspected wreck area. OEH approached the lead scientist on board to see if they could assist in locating the wreck,” Ms Parker said.


    Full article...

  • Volunteer dive into shipwrecks excavations

    By Cheryl Walker - UT San Diego
     

    John Downing has always had a passion for archaeology. But instead of confining his explorations to ruins on land, he does his digging underwater — scuba diving to excavate shipwreck sites.

    Downing, 61, of Valley Center, volunteers for the Anglo-Danish Maritime Archaeological Team, an international nonprofit, based in the United Kingdom.

    Already an experienced scuba diver, joining the team was a natural fit for Downing.

    “My wife and I love to go scuba diving, but after going so many times and seeing the fish enough times, I wanted to try something new,” he said.

    “When I read about maritime archaeology, it was natural to put the two together.

    It became diving with a purpose.” Downing’s interest in archaeology began well before the “Indiana Jones” movies popularized the subject.

    In junior high school he read about exotic temples and artifacts, but he never thought about pursuing archaeology as a career.

    After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Navy with the idea of learning electronics. He was reading Archaeology Magazine when he learned about maritime archaeology volunteering.

    He immediately wrote to the director, Dr. Simon Q. Spooner, about signing up for the next class. There wasn’t going to be another session soon, but Spooner, who was impressed with Downing’s enthusiasm, offered to teach him personally.

    Spooner invited him to come to the Dominican Republic for training. “I couldn’t believe it,” Downing said. “I was getting private lessons from a person with a Ph.D. in maritime archaeology.

    It was a wonderful opportunity — one I couldn’t say no to.”


    Full article...



  • Pozzino shipwreck: Ancient medicine ingredients probed

    The tablets were found in a small tin box, which kept them safe from corrosive sea water


    By Rebecca Morelle - BBC News<

     

    Six tablets were discovered in a tin box onboard an ancient Roman shipwreck, found off the coast of Italy.

    Samples of the fragile material revealed that the pharmaceuticals contained animal and plant fats, pine resin and zinc compounds.

    Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers said the medicine might have been used to treat eye infections.

    "I am surprised by the fact we have found so many ingredients and they were very well preserved considering it was under water for so much time," said Maria Perla Colombini, professor of chemistry from the University of Pisa.

    The shipwreck that the tablets were found on dates to 140-130 BC, and was thought to have been a trading ship sailing from Greece across the Mediterranean.

    It was first discovered in 1974 off the coast of Tuscany, and explored during the 1980s and 1990s, but it is only now that the tablets have been fully investigated.

    "We used a very thin scalpel to detach a small flake of substance to be analysed," explained Professor Maria Perla.


    Full article...


     

  • Famed Roman shipwreck reveals more secrets

    The bronze Antikythera Mechanism used 37 gear wheels, a technology reinvented a millennium later, to create a lunar calendar and predict the motion of the planets


    By Dan Vergano -USA Today
     

    Marine archaeologists report they have uncovered new secrets of an ancient Roman shipwreck famed for yielding an amazingly sophisticated astronomical calculator.

    An international survey team says the ship is twice as long as originally thought and contains many more calcified objects amid the ship's lost cargo that hint at new discoveries.

    At the Archaeological Institute of America meeting Friday in Seattle, marine archaeologist Brendan Foley of the Woods Hole (Mass.) Oceanographic Institution, will report on the first survey of Greece's famed Antikythera island shipwreck since 1976.

    The ancient Roman shipwreck was lost off the Greek coast around 67 BC,filled with statues and the famed astronomical clock.

    "The ship was huge for ancient times," Foley says. "Divers a century ago just couldn't conduct this kind of survey but we were surprised when we realized how big it was."

    Completed in October by a small team of divers, the survey traversed the island and the wreck site, perched on a steep undersea slope some 150 to 230 feet deep in the Mediterranean Sea.

    The October survey shows the ship was more than 160 feet long, twice as long as expected. Salvaged by the Greek navy and skin divers in 1901, its stern perched too deep for its original skin-diver discoverers to find.


    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.

     


     

  • Development of new technologies in marine archaeology

    UW ARchaeology


    From Hydro International


    A Swedish research foundation has granted MARIS at Södertörn University, Sweden, funds to develop non-intrusive methods for deep water archaeology together with MMT.

    The project focuses on developing new technologies and methods for documentation and identification of complex and inaccessible archaeological remains beneath the surface.

    For the project, a Blue View high-frequency scanner is to be placed on the sea floor. The scanner is particularly useful on wrecks in deep water where diving is difficult and complicated.

    These are the conditions in the newly discovered and spectacular wrecks, such as Mars (from 1564) and the Sword (from 1676). These two wrecks lays on the bottom of the sea by the island of Öland, Sweden.

    By putting the transmitter in a wreck for example, a detailed documentation of the hull of a wreck can be done in short time and with very high accuracy, explains Joakim Holmlund, PhD physicists, project manager at MMT and works at MARIS.

    There is often one problem with the archaeological remains in the Baltic Sea.

    The remains are covered with thick layers of sediment. This may explain why so few really old prehistoric archaeological remains have been found so far.

    To remedy this, new methods is needed to access the buried objects with higher resolution than normal sub-bottom profilers.

    One type of equipment that could be used for this purpose is a synthetic aperture sub-bottom profiler and it is called "Buried Object Sonar System" (BOSS). By using the BOSS method, the marine archaeologists can to see three-dimensional images of objects under the surface.

    This technique might even make Baltic boats from both the Bronze Age and Stone Age to be found in the future.


    Full article...



  • URI, IAA archaeologists discover shipwrecks, ancient harbor on coast of Israel

    From e! Science News

    Archaeologists from the University of Rhode Island, the Israel Antiquities Authority, and the University of Louisville have discovered the remains of a fleet of early-19th century ships and ancient harbor structures from the Hellenistic period (third to first century B.C.) at the city of Akko, one of the major ancient ports of the eastern Mediterranean.

    The findings shed light on a period of history that is little known and point to how and where additional remains may be found.

    The discoveries were presented on November 15 and 17 in Chicago at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research by URI assistant professors Bridget Buxton and William Krieger on behalf of the Israel Coast Exploration project.

    According to Buxton, three of the four well-preserved shipwrecks found off the coast south of Akko were first detected using a sub-bottom profiler in 2011. Later, storms stripped off several meters of inshore sediments and temporarily revealed the wrecks, as well as an additional large vessel. The wrecks are now reburied.

    During the brief time the shipwrecks were exposed, the Israel Antiquities Authority investigated one of them: a 32 meter vessel which still preserved its brass gudgeon (rudder socket) and many small artifacts, such as plates, a candlestick, and even a cooking pot with bones in it.

    Laboratory analyses completed this summer by the IAA revealed that the ship's wood came from Turkey. The team believes these ships may have belonged to the Egyptian navy under Admiral Osman Nurredin Bey, whose ships were severely damaged in his attempt to capture Akko in the Egyptian-Ottoman War of 1831.

    The town eventually fell to Egyptian land forces under Ibrahim Pasha in 1832.


    Full article...



  • Researcher zeros in on historic wreck

    By Steve Chawkins - Los Angeles Times

    In its day, the five-masted George E. Billings was a graceful schooner that crossed the Pacific with enough lumber to build 100 homes.

    In the end, it was a barge for weekend anglers, a white elephant so costly that its owner towed it to sea, torched it and let it sink.

    A four-paragraph story in the Feb. 12, 1941, Los Angeles Times made a vague reference to its resting place: "a lonely island reef north of here."

    A photo showed a flaming hulk with smoke billowing over rugged hills.

    Just where the Billings lay was anyone's guess. Shipwreck buffs knew, though, that whoever found it would peel back the layers on more than a century of rough-and-tumble Western maritime history.

    Robert Schwemmer, an archaeologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who presented a paper on the Billings at a scientific meeting last month, had been seeking the ship for the better part of two decades.

    A diver, Schwemmer has explored dozens of wrecks off the Channel Islands, including the Gold Rush steamer Winfield Scott, which for eight days in 1853 stranded about 400 passengers on Anacapa Island.

    The Billings, though, held a special allure.

    It was a remnant from the dying days of the age of sail. And it was probably hidden in plain sight off the jagged shores Schwemmer had gotten to know so well.


    Full article...



  • Treasures out of the blue

    Out of the blue


    By Noel Baker - The Irish Examiner

    Sunken ships in our waters are heritage sites. The work of preserving their artifacts is chronicled in a new pictorial guide by the geological survey, says Noel Baker.

    The most spectacular and important shipwrecks in Irish waters are detailed in the book Warships, U Boats and Liners: A Guide to Shipwrecks Mapped in Irish Waters, which is published this week.

    The book, a joint venture between the Geological Survey of Ireland and the Underwater Archaeology Unit at the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, includes photographic and sonar images of 300 shipwrecks.

    Underwater wrecks have dotted our coastline for centuries, but the interest in them, from abroad and at home, has increased hugely.

    In the autumn of 1588, the mighty Spanish Armada took up positions off the west coast of Ireland and was almost blown to bits by westerly gales.

    Its remnants lie below water, awaiting discovery.

    Last August, the RV Keary, a 15m aluminium catamaran operated by the Geological Survey of Ireland, stationed itself a few hundred metres off the coast of Rutland Island, near Burtonport, to search for a wreck that may have been part of the Armada.

    The dive was carried out by the Underwater Archaeology Unit (UAU) of the National Monuments Service, and led, for the third year in a row, by Corkwoman Connie Kelleher.

    This site, and that of a French vessel a few hundred metres away, are two of the best preserved wrecks off the Irish coast, but they hold secrets.

    Archaeologists have not confirmed that the well-preserved wreck was part of the Armada, but there are indicators.

    Connie, one of three State underwater archaeologists in the UAU&, said: "We have one side bow to stern [intact] and it’s 18m long at the bottom.

    "She was a medium-sized vessel, so she might have been 30m, and she was a war ship." Musket-shot balls and burnt material have been discovered, so it is a fair guess that she burned.


    Full article...



  • Team identifies mystery 1889 ship wreck

    The W.R Grace


    By Molly Murray - USA Today

     

    One day two years ago, Art Trembanis, an associate professor of geological sciences at the University of Delaware, sent his students on a field trip to the waters off Cape Henlopen.

    Their goal: to learn to use the high-tech equipment, such as side scan sonar, that coastal geologists use to survey the ocean bottom.

    He told them to tow the device around Breakwater Harbor and along the waters of the Cape Henlopen shoreline. When they came back to Newark, they told him that it went well. And "Oh, by the way, we saw a shipwreck."

    Trembanis was intrigued. He went on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration database of shipwrecks. Nothing was listed for the spot where the students had seen a very clear image of a massive ship hull.

    "It was a bit of a head-scratcher," Trembanis said.

    Now, two years later, with the help of oceanography graduate student Carter DuVal and state archaeologist Craig Lukezic, the team believes it has identified the ship, along with when and how it sank.

    Tracking down a shipwreck might seem like an easy task, but since European settlement, hundreds of ships have run aground, foundered and sunk along the Delaware Coast and entrance to the Delaware Bay and River.

    Two of Delaware's most famous shipwrecks -- the H.M.S. deBraak and the Roosevelt Inlet shipwreck -- both went down within sight of land. The mystery wreck the students found appeared to have done the same thing.

    While the deBraak and the Roosevelt Inlet wreck date from the 18th century, this latest discovery comes from the 19th century and the Golden Age of Sail.


    Full article...


     

  • Heart of Louisiana: The Mardi Gras shipwreck

    By Dave McNamara - Fox8 Live

    Deepwater shipwrecks in our region are usually found by accident, part of the survey work that has to be done for offshore energy pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico.

    "And it was initially found as just a little amorphous blob on the seafloor that no one really could identify," says Dr. Jack Irion with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

    But a remote-operated vehicle gave investigators a snapshot of history: the remains of a 200-year-old sailing ship.

    Irion says, "It's in very deep water so the visibility is very good and the sedimentation rate is very low. So most of what we could see was actually just laying on the surface of the seafloor."

    There are the ship's cannon, a stove, a large case of muskets and swords, and bottles and pieces of china -- all are surprisingly intact.

    Irion says, "It's the kind of thing that as an archaeologist…that's what you go to school for is to have those kinds of moments."

    They call it the Mardi Gras shipwreck because it's located next to the Mardi Gras pipeline.  Irion says, "The wreck itself lies in 4000 feet of water in roughly this general location."

    In a delicate operation using an undersea robot, researchers carefully lifted more than 1,000 artifacts. 

    They recovered a large supply of ammunition, cannon balls, musket balls and flints, navigational instruments and the captain's telescope, a couple of sets of ceramic dishes, wine and beer bottles, even small glass sand clocks, similar to an hourglass. 

    These pieces indicate the ship sank during the early 1800's.  For the first time, a large collection of these artifacts is on display at the West Baton Rouge Museum in Port Allen.


    Full article...



  • China to build first archaeological vessel

    From China Daily

    China plans to build its first vessel capable of retrieving archaeological findings from the sea by the end of 2013, a major step to strengthening the underwater search abilities of Chinese archaeologists who currently rely on rented shipping boats.

    The 4.8-metre wide and 56-metre long boat, to be powered by an integrated full electric propulsion system, will "basically" meet China's underwater archaeological needs, according to a statement released by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) on Wednesday.

    With a displacement of 860 tonnes, the vessel will be used in China's coastal areas and could sail as far as waters off the Xisha Islands, or the Paracel Islands, in the South China Sea, if sea conditions are good, it said.

    Archaeologists will be able to use the ship to detect, locate, map, videotape and excavate underwater archaeological findings, according to the SACH.

    The vessel is being designed by the 701 research institute of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation and built by the Changhang Dongfeng shipbuilding corporation in Chongqing.

    The news will be a boon for Chinese archeologists who have long struggled with the inconvenience of having to ride fishing boats along China's 18,000 km-long coastline in order to uncover the country's massive quantities of underwater relics.

    Many speculators and fishermen have joined this hunt for treasures in the South China sea, a busy sea lane which is said to have at least 122 wrecked ships on its bottom.

    Many of the wrecked ships date back to the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1276) dynasties, when China's trade with foreign countries was thriving.

    Many speculators and local fishermen surveying the area have used crude means to retrieve underwater relics, prompting authorities to take action.

    The protection of China's underwater relics faces "severe challenges" from rampant looting of underwater relics, the SACH said in the statement, adding that the country needs to improve its talent tool of archaeologists and related facilities.



  • Underwater Cultural Heritage; need to ensure effective protection

    Ruins of the ancient lighthouse of Alexandria


    By Kanthi Wijetunge - Sri Lanka Daily News


    Over the last century, archaeological sites on land all over the world have received much attention as source of information on history of human civilizations.

    However, the oceans, which cover the large part of our planet, still retain many of their secrets without getting exposed to the world.

    Hence the richness of the world’s underwater cultural heritage is often underestimated. It is well known that there are cities which have been entirely swallowed by the sea and there are thousands of ships which have perished at sea.

    These ruins lie on the sea bed safely without the notice of anybody. They provide testimony to the various periods and aspects of human civilization and history.

    There is also undiscovered knowledge under water, proving travel routes, exchanges, prehistoric life and also heritage lies outside of the territorial waters of the country of origin.

    During the recent past it has been revealed that there are threats to Underwater Cultural Heritage in many ways such as; pillage, commercial exploitation, industrial work, tourist promenades, oil drilling, metro and auto route crossing in channels or with bridges, recovery of soil or building of artificial islands, trawling and also due to climate change and pollution.

    As per the UNESCO reports it is estimated that over three million undiscovered shipwrecks are spread across the ocean.

    However, people are aware of the famous vessels which have perished in the ocean such as armada of Phillip II of Spain, the Titanic, the fleet of Kublai Khan etc through books and films.

    Similarly, there are remains of countless ancient buildings submerged underwater.

    All these are considered as underwater cultural heritage. They provide testimony to the various periods and aspects of our history.

    Shipwrecks or remains of ancient buildings and cities submerged underwater retail many stories about the cruelty of the slave trade, the ferocity of wars, the impact of natural disasters or the peaceful exchange and inter-cultural dialogue between far away regions.

    Hence recognizing underwater cultural heritage is very vital in the efforts of gathering historical information on human civilization.


    Full article...



  • I realised my dream to raise the Mary Rose

    Mary Rose - Geni


    By Clare Heal - Express

     

    For many people the raising of the Mary Rose on October 11, 1982, remains a defining moment.

    The recovery of the Tudor ship after 437 years at the bottom of the Solent was not just a major event in marine archaeology but provided a tangible link with one of the most colourful eras in Britain’s past and proved profoundly moving for many.

    As head of interpretation at the Mary Rose Trust Christopher Dobbs’s job is finding the best ways to tell the ship’s story to the public, but 30 years ago he was one of the many divers who helped bring her up from the mud, 50ft down, in which she had lain for so long.

    “I was very lucky that I had left university, where I specialised in marine archaeology, in 1979, just at a time when the Trust was recruiting archaeologists who could also dive to help with the excavation of objects from the ship,” he says.

    “I was part of a team of more than 500 divers and it was tremendously exciting because on almost every dive you might find something different.

    You might find a chest of personal possessions, someone’s shoe that had been worn through, some peppercorns, a leather jacket or a wooden drinking bowl or a longbow.”

    Built between 1509 and 1511, the Mary Rose was the flagship of Henry VIII’s navy and enjoyed 34 successful years before her sinking on July 19, 1545, while engaged in battle with the French.

    Almost all of the 500 men aboard died. What exactly caused the sinking remains unclear but there have been many theories.

     


     

  • Italian archaeologists find 2 sunken Roman ships off Turkey

    Roman wrecks


    From Gazzetta del Sud


    Two ancient Roman shipwrecks, complete with their cargo, have been discovered by Italian archaeologists off the coast of Turkey near the the ancient Roman city of Elaiussa Sebaste.

    The ships, one dating from the Roman Imperial period and the other from about the sixth century AD, have been found with cargoes of amphorae and marble, say researchers from the Italian Archaeological Mission of Rome's University La Sapienza.

    Both ships were discovered near Elaiussa Sebaste, on the Aegean coast of Turkey near Mersin, according to a statement issued by the Italian embassy in Ankara.

    Officials say the discoveries - led by Italian archaeologist Eugenia Equini Schneider - confirm the important role Elaiussa Sebaste played within the main sea routes between Syria, Egypt, and the Anatolian peninsula from the days of Augustus until the early Byzantine period.

    Elaiussa, meaning olive, was founded in the 2nd century BC on a tiny island attached to the mainland by a narrow isthmus in the Mediterranean Sea. Schneider has been leading the excavations since 1995.



  • Low Mississippi river exposes shipwreck near Cape Girardeau

    By Erin Ragan - Southeast Missourian
     

    Calling all available archaeologists.

    Low water on the Mississippi River has revealed a mystery on the banks near Cape Girardeau -- and two local educators along with a longtime shipwreck salvage diver are looking for help to solve it and preserve what they say is "a piece of our river heritage."

    Amy Grammer and her husband, Russell, leaders of the local private school Prodigy Leadership Academy, were exploring the river's edge on a search for driftwood, pieces of pottery and pebbles for student projects on a September afternoon when something out of the ordinary caught Amy Grammer's eye.

    "I almost walked right past it," she said. She didn't realize what she was seeing until she noticed a row of wooden tongue-in-groove planks and several joists protruding from the mud.

    Low water after months of drought had exposed a section of a ship's stern. Knowing their find was something special, the Grammers immediately called on Randy Barnhouse, a longtime friend, retired teacher and salvage diver from Cape Girardeau.

    Just one week before the discovery, Barnhouse visited the school to talk to students about shipwreck exploration.

    For around 30 years, he has made repeated trips to Florida and the Caribbean for treasure salvage diving expeditions.

    Barnhouse visits the wreck often to conduct measurements and document observations of the ship.

    Its location, per request of its discoverers, needs to be kept a secret so that the site can remain undisturbed. Around 30 feet of the ship's length is visible in addition to the stern.

    A large iron cleat shows near the riverbank and a hatch is blocked by a large section of cement and other debris. The ship's age is unknown. Barnhouse said he believes the ship may have been built when shipbuilders were switching from wood to metal.

    The ship's hull appears to be made from iron, but a wooden casing surrounds it. Decking is also wooden.


     

  • Button found on St. Augustine shipwreck

    Corroded button found   74th regiment


    By Dan Scalan - Jacksonville

    A corroded uniform button found in the mud off the St. Augustine Beach pier could be the “smoking gun” that leads to identifying a mystery shipwreck.

    And the copper coin with a face of what could be Britain’s King George found by a Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program volunteer just adds to evidence that the wreck could be part of a British Revolutionary War fleet that fled Charleston in 1782.

    The corroded button bears the number 74. That means it came off a 74th Regiment British Army uniform of Cambell’s Highlanders, assembled in Scotland in 1777 to fight rebels in North America.

    When the British fled the American army’s advance into Charleston, half of the fleet headed into the St. Johns River in Jacksonville and the rest went to St. Augustine.

    There, 16 of them wrecked on Dec. 31, including the escort ship Rattlesnake, said Chuck Meide, archaeology director at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum program.

    “This is a smoking gun,” Meide said. “This confirms the ship we are digging on was in the evacuation of Charleston.”

    The Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program seeks and preserves the underwater history off the nation’s oldest city. Begun in 1996, it has targeted more than 50 possible wrecks.

    One was the British sloop Industry, which sank in 1764 just south of the current lighthouse. Divers recovered numerous artifacts including a cannon and tools that never made it to St. Augustine’s then-British outpost.


    Full article...



  • Underwater search yields treasure trove

    Archaeological finds in Bulgaria


    From The Sofia Globe

     

    Archaeological finds in Bulgaria are usually limited to excavations of Thracian and classical antiquity sites on land, but the waters of the Black Sea hold no fewer treasures, as an expedition off the coast of Bourgas is finding.

    The medieval fortress on Cape Akin near the village of Chernomorets (10km south east of Bourgas) is not a new find, but it has not been heavily investigated before this summer – in part, due to the military bases that dot the areas immediately around Bourgas, which were no-go zones during the communist era.

    This has proven a blessing in disguise because it has kept the sites undisturbed by treasure hunters, the bane of Bulgarian archaeologists in other areas, most notably the “valley of Thracian kings” near Kazanluk.

    Following his digs on Cape Akin earlier this summer, archaeologist Ivan Hristov has now turned his sights on the waters of Vromos Bay, which lies between Cape Akin at the east and Cape Atiya to the west, according to the National History Museum.

    With two boats and eight divers, Hristov’s expedition has focused on the remains of a trading village that also served as an unloading point for small ships, now entirely submerged under water at a depth of about 15m, the museum said in statement.


    Full article...


     

  • Medieval shipwreck found in Danube river

    Artefact from a medieval weck in Danube


    By Rossela Lorenzi - Discovery News

    Hungarian archaeologists have found what they believe may be an intact medieval shipwreck in the Danube river.

    Partially buried in mud and gravel near the riverbank at Tahitótfalu, some 18 miles north of Budapest, the flat bottom river wreck has yet to be excavated.

    A preliminary survey from the Argonauts Research Group in cooperation with the county museum of Szentendre, revealed that the ship is about 40 feet long and 10 feet wide.

    The archaeologists could distinguish oak floor-planks, floor-timbers, and L-shaped ribs.

    They also noticed that the junction piece of the bottom and the side wall of the wreck is carved from a single log.

    "Only a few river ships of this kind have been found in Europe," Attila J. Tóth, associate of the National Office of Cultural Heritage, told Discovery News.

    The ship most likely sank because of an accident.

    "River navigation was dangerous. Downstream cargo ships floated using large rudder-oars, which made maneuvering very hard. Accidents happened very often," Tóth said.

    The largest river of Central Europe, the Danube connected in the Middle Ages Hungary with the German Empire to the west and the Byzantine Empire to the south, serving as a waterway for intense commerce as well as a route for military campaigns.


    Full article...



  • Roman shipwreck in the Antique port of Antibes

    The archaeologists are currently exploring, over 5000 m2, the bottom of an Antique port basin, which was progressively covered with sand.


    From Art Daily


    A team of Inrap archaeologists is currently excavating part of the Antique port of Antibes (Alpes-Maritimes).

    This research, curated by the State (Drac Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur), is being conducted in advance of the construction of an underground parking lot by QPark. The archaeologists will work for seven months at the site of "Pré aux Pêcheurs”. 

    Antibes is the Antique Antipolis, a Greek trading post founded by the Phocaeans of Massalia. The date of its establishment is still uncertain, but it followed an indigenous habitat located in the high areas of the current city.

    Along the Provençal shoreline, Antipolis occupied an advantageous location on the maritime routes linking Marseille to the Italian coast. Like the Saint-Roch cove, it had a natural port that was protected from the dominant winds.

    The prosperity of the Greek and then Roman city was largely based on the dynamic activity of its maritime commerce, as well as on the transformation of sea products, fish salting and the fabrication of garum (a fish based sauce).

    The archaeologists are currently exploring, over 5000 m2, the bottom of an Antique port basin, which was progressively covered with sand.

    This obvious waste dump has yielded many objects – waste thrown from mooring boats or bits of cargo lost during transshipments – and provides information on the daily activities of the sailors and the maritime commerce.

    The layers of archaeological objects have been accumulating since the 3rd century BC until the 6th century AD.

    Several tens of thousands of objects of all kinds that were sunken underwater in the Saint-Roch cove have already been recovered, including merchandise originating from periphery of the Mediterranean basin.

    They alone illustrate the dynamic nature of the Antique port and commerce in this part of the Mediterranean.


    Full story...



  • Shipwrecks OK to visit, but don’t take artifacts

    By susan Cocking - The Miami Herald

     

    Some unidentified shipwrecks in Biscayne National Park have been plundered by divers who take artifacts illegally.

    Divers who want to see the 6 sites can get information from the park service.

    Scattered on the sandy bottom about 11 feet deep near Biscayne National Park’s Elliott Key are numerous ceramic shards guarded by schools of gray snapper and grunts.

    The dusky white and bile green remnants of dinner plates and tea cups don’t look like much and they aren’t worth any money, even to television’s Pawn Stars. 

    But those artifacts and some ancient burned timbers surrounding them have considerable cultural value as living snapshots of a long-ago, unsolved maritime mystery.

    Chuck Lawson, archeologist and cultural resources manager at the park for the past two years, would love to identify the ship that carried all that china and find out where it was going and why it sank.

    But it doesn’t help that divers have been plundering the wreckage illegally for years.

    And that site, nicknamed “English China,” is one of more than 70 shipwrecks and artifact piles scattered throughout park waters that have been dug up, dredged and pillaged before their origins could be determined.

    “Most of them will stay that way forever because people stole things off them in the 1960s and ’70s so you can’t tell who they were, where they were going, or what was on them,” Lawson said.

    He’s a bit more optimistic about the English China site because of the large number of ceramic shards found there.

    The crockery remnants have been positively identified as pieces made by England’s Staffordshire pottery sometime between 1765 and 1770.



  • Archaeologists investigate sea find of gilded bronze lion

    Underwater artifacts discovered near Riace Bronzes site


    From Gazzetta Del Sud


    Archaeologists are investigating the discovery of a gilded bronze lion found off the coast of Calabria not far from where the famed Riace Bronzes were discovered 40 years ago.

    Armour in bronze and copper was also found by a diver and two tourists in the area that is now closed to the public as investigators probe the details of the find.

    One of the divers who made the discovery said there may be a ship and other important artifacts there as well.

    "When I went into the water, I saw a statue that was stuck between the rocks and a piece of the ship," explained Bruno Bruzzaniti.

    "The tides, however, cover everything and then you must be really fortunate to be able to see other items that are still at the bottom of the sea."

    The discovery sounds similar to that of the iconic Riace Bronzes, 2,500-year-old statues representing ancient warriors which were discovered in 1972 by a Roman holidaymaker scuba diving off the Calabrian coast.

    That find turned out to be one of Italy's most important archaeological discoveries in the last 100 years.

    Those statues are of two virile men, presumably warriors or gods, who possibly held lances and shields at one time.

    At around two metres, they are larger than life. The newly discovered bronze lion is said to be about 50 centimetres high and weighs 15 kilograms.

    Also found in the area of the lion were remains of vases and other statues.
     

    Full story...



  • Estimated 30,000 antiques to be salvaged from sunken ship

    From English People Daily 


    More than 30,000 pieces of antiques are expected to be salvaged from Nan'ao-1, an ancient merchant vessel that sank about 500 years ago off the coast of Guangdong Province.

    Upon the conclusion of an underwater archaeological mission, about 10,000 pieces of newly salvaged antiques will be exhibited in the Nan'ao Museum in Shantou, said Huang Yingtao, director of the museum.

    The salvage operation, which started in June, was suspended due to the effects of typhoon Kai-Tak, which made landfall in the coastal area of Guangdong at noon on Friday.

    This round of underwater archaeological work on Nan'ao-1 will finish by the end of September, said Cui Yong, head of the team of archaeologists.

    Archaeologists conducting the underwater work will measure the length of the wreck after the antiques are salvaged.

    Archaeologists had previously recovered over 20,000 antiques, including porcelain and copper coins, and identified 25 cabins.

    The ship sank in the Sandianjin waters off Nan'ao County, Shantou, during the mid- or late-Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

    The ship is believed to have been bound for the Philippines and Malaysia, said Cui.

    Guangdong was a major center for sea trade in ancient China.

    Local fishermen found the wrecked ship, estimated at 25 meters in length and seven meters in width, in May 2007. It was buried in silt 27 meters underwater and about 5.6 nautical miles from Shantou.

    Experts said the antiques salvaged from the Nan'ao-1 provide evidence that the "Maritime Silk Road" once existed in the South China Sea.


     

  • Wreck is confirmed as ‘highly significant’

    From Scilly Today

     

    There’s been a development with a wreck discovered in the Tresco Channel.

    English Heritage has confirmed that Dave McBride’s find is, ‘highly significant’ and they’ll now investigate whether the site needs legal protection.

    Alison James, maritime archaeologist for English Heritage, believes it could be one of the earliest wreck sites around the British Isles.

    Dave found the pottery while diving on a commercial job in the Tresco Channel and around 400 pieces have now been recovered.

    Expert John Allen from Exeter University was working at the Isles of Scilly museum and identified the pieces as French Saintonge pottery dating from 1250-1350.

    It suggests trade between the Bordeaux region and Tresco’s monks at the St Nicholas Priory.

    Most islanders would have been too poor to import the wine. It’s thought it could be from a ship that went missing in 1305 and, if confirmed a wreck, then it will be only one from this era in the whole country, but Dave still feels it is too early to say.

    Marine archaeologist Kevin Camidge says all the pottery had come from one very tight area, which suggests a wreck, as does the discovery of animal bones, indicating there were animals onboard.

    Kevin will return in October to see what shows up.

     


     

  • Divers find ruins from Viking 'marketplace'

    From The Local


    Divers off the coast of Birka, an ancient Viking village near Stockholm, have uncovered 100 metre long jetties suggesting a coastal marketplace that was not previously imagined.

    The team found that jetties stretching off the coast of the Björkö island were actually significantly longer than they initially believed, and could provide valuable information about the Vikings and their habits.

    Andreas Olsson, a marine archaeologist who is heading the international team, was amazed by the find.

    “We have found stone piers in deep water and these were rare for this age.

    Timber, logs and poles as well. Previously, it was not thought that the Vikings could build stone piers at a depth of eight meters,” he told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper (DN), adding that the team is in the process of figuring out how the port might have looked from this information.

    The marine archaeologists, who have now estimated that the village was 30 percent bigger than previously imagined, also believe that a marketplace may have been based in the waters of the harbour.

    Olsson explained that the jetties, which are five times longer than previously believed, were likely connected with the Vikings extensive trade system, and could indicate that the area was indeed a bustling village.

    "The remains of the port structures show that it was actually a port, not just small jetties jutting out onto the beach as previously thought," he said.

    "Everyone has ideas about the Viking age. Many of these emphasize the wild, warlike nature of the people, but what we're working on will distinguish the picture.

    This is great, not least because that age is ever-present in popular culture,” Olsson told the paper.

    The village of Birka, which is often considered to be Sweden's oldest town, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.


     

  • French shipwreck to be rebuilt after freeze drying process

    La Belle  - hull


    From The Telegraph

     

    By placing the ship – La Belle – in a constant environment of up to 60 degrees below zero, more than 300 years of moisture will be safely removed from hundreds of European oak and pine timbers and planks.

    The freeze-dryer, located at the old Bryan Air Force base several miles northwest of College Station, is 40 feet long and 8 feet wide – the biggest such machine on the continent devoted to archaeology.

    Researchers will then rebuild the 54 ½-foot vessel, which will become the centrepiece of the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin.

    From a historical perspective, it's "an icon of a small event that dramatically changed the course of Texas history," said Jim Bruseth, who led the Texas Historical Commission effort to recover the remains.

    The ship was built in 1684 and sank two years later in a storm on Matagorda Bay, about midway between Galveston and Corpus Christi. Captained by Rene-Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle, he hoped to colonise Texas for France.

    "When La Belle sank, that doomed La Salle's colony and opened up the door for Spain to come in and occupy Texas," Mr Bruseth said. "People can see firsthand how history can turn on a dime."

    Researchers have determined that unlike earlier vessels, the frames on La Belle were marked specifically by the French craftsmen so the wood comprising the hull could follow the complex curve of the ship.

    After a more than decade-long hunt, Texas Historical Commission archaeologists found it in 1995 in 12 feet of murky water. Then began the tedious recovery that involved constructing a dam around the site.

     


     

  • Slave ship artefacts found at Lynyard Cay

    Lynyard Cay


    From Heritage Daily


    On craggy rocks and in silent gullies at Lynyard Cay in the Abacos lay the fragments of an American-owned slave ship, the 129-ton, 88-foot schooner, the Peter Mowell.

    Luckily, 390 of the 400 of its human cargo were able to clamber safely ashore – they were quite young: 96 men between 20 and 36 years, 37 women between 20 and 30 years, and 256 children between 6 and 20 years.

    Thanks to the ever-changing winds of fate, though, they were not to be sold as slaves like the estimated 12-million Africans forced across the Atlantic over the course of the three-and-a-half century slave-trade era.

    Rather, rescued by Ridley Pinder and other wreckers from Cherokee Sound, they joined some of the last of the 37,000 African-born immigrants who had been rescued in The Bahamas, whose descendants most likely make their homes there today.

    But what is left of the ship intrigued archaeologist Michael Pateman from the Antiquities, Monuments & Museum Corporation of The Bahamas, a Nassau-based, non-profit, quasi-government agency, and archaeologist Corey Malcom from the Key West, Fl.-based Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society and more importantly – because the information gleaned will add to The Bahamas’ rich cultural history – what happened to its human cargo, crew and wreckers ?

    Where are their descendants now and what stories do they have to tell ?

    So, on the 152nd anniversary of its wreck, July 25, 1860, and partnering with William Mathers, of the Florida-based marine archaeological organization, Atlantic Sea Resources, they set out to see for themselves.

    Using coordinates recorded by the governor of The Bahamas at the time (Bayley) to the Duke of Newcastle, they returned to the site and were able to spot piles of ballast stones that were scattered along the shoreline as its hull was ripped apart on the reefs, along with encrusted copper nails and spikes that had become concretized together over a century and a half.


    Full story...


     

  • Oldest submarine dive

    Holland 5 sub


    From ITV News

     

    Yesterday, the Nautical Archaeology Society and the Tunbridge Wells Sub Aqua Club have been marking the anniversary of the loss of the Holland 5 submarine - the Royal Navy's oldest submarine wreck - with a dive 100 years to the day after its loss.

    Hundreds of years of maritime activity, two World Wars and numerous seafaring accidents have seen the seas and shores around the south coast become steeped in legend and undiscovered pockets of history.

    One piece of naval history that remained undiscovered until 1995 was the Holland 5 submarine.

    Lying, upright in 30 metres of water, the Holland 5 was one of the Royal Navy's first submarines accepted for service, alongside the Holland 1 now on display at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport.

    The Holland 5 was commissioned on the January 19 1903.

    However, the Holland series of submarines rapidly became obsolete and on the August 8 1912 she was being towed to Sheerness for decommissioning and sank in her current position off the coast of Eastbourne, six miles southeast of the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse.

    There was no loss of life when the Holland 5 sank, just a loss of the most intact example of the Holland series of submarines.

    The cause of the sinking was believed to be as a result of flooding through a torpedo hatch and she lay undiscovered for almost a century.


    Full story...


     

  • A Roman shipwrecks in the ancient port of Antibes

    The bottom of the ancient harbour basin, which has gradually silted up, revealed tens of thousands of objects that fall in stratigraphic layers dated between the third century BC and the sixth century AD. 
    Photo Rémi Bénali


    From Past Horizons


    A team of archaeologists from Inrap have uncovered a Roman shipwreck in southern France, in what was once part of the bustling ancient port of Antibes.

    Antibes was known as Antipolis, a Greek colony originally founded by the Phoenicians of Massalia.

    The date of its origin is uncertain, but situated on the coast of Provence, Antipolis occupied a privileged position on the sea routes linking Marseilles to the Italian coast and contained a natural harbour – Anse Saint-Roch – which protected shipping from prevailing winds.

    The archaeologists have been exploring the ancient harbour basin that had progressively silted up in antiquity.

    The basin contains a wealth of objects and information from the third century BC to the sixth century AD. Tens of thousands of objects have already been excavated from the bay of Saint-Roch, including goods from the Mediterranean basin, illustrating the vitality of the ancient port and trade in this part of the world.

    Excavated sediments were below sea level.

    These conditions favour the preservation of organic materials and helped to uncover objects that would be missing from dry land excavations, such as cork stoppers for amphorae, shoe soles, leather and wooden components.

    In the final area explored by the archaeologists, the wreck of a Roman ship was discovered.

    Preserved for more than 15 m long, the boat is lying on its side in shallow water (less than 1.60 m below antique sea level).

    In cooperation with the Camille Jullian Centre, Inrap has commissioned a specialist in naval archaeology to carry out the analysis and interpretation of this important find.


    Full story...



  • You're wrecking our wrecks !

    By Jonathan Brown - The Independent

     

    International action is urgently required to save the world's historic shipwrecks from the ravages of commercial fishing, experts say.

    Industrial trawling, capable of destroying fragile underwater heritage, is occurring on a scale that is creating an archaeological catastrophe comparable to the looting of the National Museum in Baghdad or the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, they warn.

    The seabed is often described as the world's greatest museum but it is estimated that 42 per cent of the globe's three million wrecks may have been damaged by trawling.

    The scale of the devastation means the chances of repeating the recovery of vessels such as the Mary Rose are decreasing, while there are fears that HMS Victory – the 1737 predecessor to Nelson's flagship – has already been damaged by trawlers in the English Channel and is at risk of total destruction.

    Dr Sean Kingsley of Wreck Watch International is calling for the creation of national "red lists" for shipwrecks of major international importance similar to those created by the International Council of Museums (Icom) for cultural objects.

    But he said attempts to safeguard sunken vessels, some dating back to the earliest civilisations, were being hampered by a lack of political will and a shortage of funds.

     


     

  • 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.

     


     

  • Button is clue to sunken ship's history

    Artefact


    By Marcia Lane - St Augustine

    A ship’s bell from a wreck found off St. Augustine has yielded another clue to the possible identify of the ship that may date from the American Revolution.

    The clue: a button found in the concretion still attached to the bronze bell that was discovered in 2010 by archaeologists with the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program.

    “It’s in rough shape,” Sam Turner, director of archaeology at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, said of the button.

    Even so, the top part of a crown can be seen on the button and similar crowns are found on Royal Provincial buttons plus the initials RP.

    Those were on the uniforms of men in the Loyalist regiments, the colonists who remained loyal to the Crown during the American Revolution.

    “When our button is cleaned you hope to find RP or part of one (of the letters),” Turner said.

    That would be a big step forward in identifying the wreck discovered a few miles off the St. Augustine Inlet in the summer of 2009.

    One of the hypotheses archaeologists have been working under is that the ship could be part of a fleet carrying Loyalists to St. Augustine after the fall of Charleston to the Americans.

    Over a two-day period 16 ships were reported wrecked off the sandbar in December of 1782.

    Full story...



  • Volunteers excavate shipwreck on MDI

    By Bill Trotter - Bangor Daily News

     

    Twice a day, 365 days a year for more than 60 years, the tide has come in and then drained out again, washing mud, brine and small aquatic life forms over its timbers.

    Exactly how long the ship’s skeleton has been lying in the mud along this hidden section of MDI’s shoreline is unknown, but this past week a group of people have been making the short trek through the woods from the road each day to learn what they can about it.

    Led by marine archaeologist Franklin Price, who grew up in the Tremont village of Bernard, about 20 people have been measuring and diagramming its decayed ribs and keel.

    At the request of Acadia National Park, which has an easement along the shoreline where the wreck rests, its location is not being disclosed by the Bangor Daily News in order to help prevent people from tampering with the site.

    On Saturday, seven people, including four young interns, were taking photographs and measurements of the timbers under the hot sun. As they drew and diagrammed the pieces protruding from the mud, they discussed how they likely were fastened together.

    “I don’t know what happened here,” Price told Christa Shere, a College of the Atlantic student interning on the project. “I don’t know if these two pieces were actually in this side when this thing flipped over and broke and fell probably this way.”


    Full story...


     

  • South Carolina students to excavate shipwreck at Harbour Town

    From WCNC

    A team of University of South Carolina maritime archaeologists will be on the beach near Harbour Town on Hilton Head Island Friday to train a group of students on how to get an unidentified shipwreck to reveal its secrets.

    Archaeologist Ashley Deming and archaeology technicians Carl Naylor and Joe Beatty will show four students how to excavate and record the remains of an abandoned wooden vessel that was reported to state archaeologists in late 2010.

    The students are adult scuba divers who are taking a four-day Sport Diver Archaeology Management Program course offered through USC’s South Carolina Institute for Archaeology and Anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences.

    The vessel, located on the beach of Calibogue Sound, was reported to state archaeologists in late 2010 by Sea Pines resident Sally Peterson and her brother Peter Thompson.

    State archaeologists visited the site, located on a shell beach not far from the 18th tee of Harbour Town Golf Links, in March 2011.

    “We decided that the wreck needed further study and would be an excellent opportunity to teach students the basics of ship recording,” Deming said.

    The archaeologists and students hope to answer a number of questions, including: What type of vessel was it ? How old is the vessel ? Why was it abandoned ? Where was the vessel built ?


    Full story...



  • Bulgaria archaeologists discover ancient settlement underwater at Cape Arkin

    From Focus


    Bozhidar Dimitrov, Director of the National Museum of History, comments on the latest archaeological discovery in Bulgaria - an underwater settlement during excavations at Akin Cape in an interview with FOCUS News Agency.

    FOCUS: Mr Dimitrov, what are the latest archaeological discoveries during the excavations at Cape Akin close to the coastal town of Chernomorets ?

    Bozhidar Dimitrov: During the excavations under the Via Pontica government programme at Cape Akin, one of the three capes of the town of Chernomorets, apart from the massive fortified wall with two battle towers at the peninsula itself, archaeologist Dr Ivan Hristov [Associate Professor Dr Ivan Hristov, Deputy Director of the National Museum of History] also discovered a continuation of the fortified wall into the sea.

    The continuation of the wall surrounds a big mud-bank Southwest of the cape.

    The fortified wall is preserved to some big height and the team has seen the outlines of a big battle tower of five meters height and three and a half meters width.

    The archaeologists have already ascertained that this is the early Byzantine fortress Krimna, which was situated there.

    Due to some circumstances, since the beginning of the WWI until a couple of years ago the fortress was within the area of a military unit and it was impossible for the archaeologists to study it.

    The part of the fortress on dry land covers nearly 40 decares. The fortified wall is bigger even than the one in Sozopol – of around 2.6 metres width.

    The coins found by the archaeologists prove that the wall was built by Anastasius I in around 513, then reinforced by Justinian I over the next decades and probably the settlement was destroyed during the big Avarian invasion in 583-586. 


     

  • Diver tells of sunken treasure in Malacca

    Pictures showing some of the items said to be 400-year-old relics from the Dutch merchant vessel


    By R.S.N. Murali - The Star Online

    An archaeologist diver claims to have discovered the remains of a sunken Dutch merchant vessel containing RM500mil worth of cultural relics, about three nautical miles off Pulau Besar here.

    The Kuala Lumpur-based archaeologist, who wanted to be known only as David so he could remain anonymous, believes the vessel could have escaped the roving eyes of underwater relic hunters as it was buried by undersea sand.

    The wooden galleon is said to have sunk with the loads of treasures about 400 years ago. It may have a number of well-preserved relics like ceramics, old coins, beads, glass and gold ingots.

    David believes the find is the first intact wreck related to the Dutch occupation of Malacca.

    He and his team found the near complete hull structure about 1m under the seabed, and 27m beneath the ocean's surface off the Straits of Malacca in May.

    “The discovery is so monumental because much of the hull has remained intact and the vessel appears to be well preserved due to the sand,” he said.

    David said there were also six other shipwrecks at the same site.

    Malacca Museum Authority's general manager Datuk Khamis Abas said the wooden vessel had been detected during an underwater survey conducted by several maritime agencies a few years ago.


    Full story...



  • Thrilling memories of Mary Rose treasure

    Colin with a pot from the wreck


    By Laura Jones - Herald Series

    Thirty years after the stricken Mary Rose was brought ashore, Wantage recreational diver Colin Fox recalls his role in salvaging its treasures.

    The retired oil company worker helped to explore the ship in his spare time and even came face to face with a skeleton in the depths of the wreck.

    Mr Fox made 240 trips down to the Mary Rose, spending a total of 173 hours underwater and bringing weapons, pewter pots and other artifacts back to the surface over a period of five years.

    The Mary Rose sank in 1545 and lay undiscovered in The Solent until 1967, when the project to excavate and raise the wreck began.

    She sank as she prepared to fight the French in the Battle of Spithead and took 660 sailors to their death.

    Mr Fox approached the team in 1978 and offered to work on the project for free during his holidays.

    The 68-year-old said: “I wrote and asked if I could help, never expecting to dive on the project. I thought I could carry bottles for them.

    “They invited me to come and dive.

    “We used a thing called an airlift – a four inch plastic pipe which acts as a huge vacuum cleaner.”

    The team placed a scaffold grid over the area to stop finds being carried off in the current while they made a painstaking search of the wreck.

    Mr Fox, from Ormond Road, said: “We were briefed over what to do while we were down there.

    “There were fantastic finds: long bows, a pair of bellows and lots of small things like shoes and pewter pots.

    “It was amazing. One didn’t know what one was going to find; it was unbelievably exciting.

    “I couldn’t wait to get in and was really fed up when it was time to come up.


    Full story...



  • 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...



  • UW archaeologists get education far away from the sea

    From Hurriyet Daily News


    Although the city is 250 kilometers away from the sea Konya’s Selçuk University runs Turkey’s only underwater archaeology department. The head of the department, says it sheds light on underwater richness.

    Turkey’s first underwater archaeology department isn’t located near the sea, but resides at Selçuk University in the central Anatolian province of Konya, 250 kilometers away from the sea.

    Students in the department are trained to carry out all kinds of underwater research and excavations.

    The head of the university’s archaeology department, Professor Adil Tırpan, said it was very important for the university and for Konya that the first underwater archaeology department in Turkey, a country surrounded by water on three sides, be located in a central Anatolian city university.

    The department had been filing a big gap in Turkey’s underwater research for 12 years, Tırpan said, adding that the department offered all kinds of technical equipment and expert teams in the field of underwater archaeology.

    Three professors, three assistant professors and two research assistants work in the department, according to Tırpan. Selçuk was the only university to also have master and doctorate students in the underwater archaeology department.

    “This is the first and only department in Turkey that is also recognized internationally and was chosen in 2011 as the leading university in the field of underwater archaeology.

    Turkey has a coastal line of 850 kilometers. The line was used as a trade route in the ancient ages. If five ships sank every year since 2000 B.C., when overseas trade began, until today, it equals 25,000 ships in 5,000 years.

    All of these ships lie under the sea. And of course they are very important cultural artifacts if they are removed.

    We are trying to shed light on a long history by educating underwater archaeologists,” Tırpan said.

     


     

  • Ancient warship's ram under attack by corrosion

     By Jennifer Welsh -  Live Science

     

    An ancient warship's ram has been slowly disintegrating since it was retrieved from the floor of the Mediterranean Sea.

    A new analysis shows sulfuric acid buildup is to blame.

    Researchers are racing to find a way to slow the disintegration and perhaps, in the process, learn how to preserve other ancient wood structures after they've been plucked from the ocean and exposed to the air.

    Currently the ram — known as a rostrum, a beak-like part of the prow that ancient warships used to ram holes into enemy ships — is being stored underwater, and some of the acidity from its exposure to air (when it was brought to the surface initially) has washed away.

    But if it were ever to be displayed out in the air, the sulfuric acid production could turn out to be a real problem, study researcher Patrick Frank of Stanford University told LiveScience.

    In 2008, one ship's rostrum — made of bronze, over a core of wood — was discovered 150 feet (46 meters) offshore from Acqualadrone ("The Bay of the Pirates") in northeastern Sicily, under 22 feet (8 m) of water.

    The ship had sunk around 260 B.C., during the battle of Mylae, researchers said.

     


     

  • Shipwreck science: 7 great underwater finds

    Three-dimensional model of the Ghost Ship 
    Photo Marin Mätteknik


    By Brandon Keim - Wired

    The Baltic Sea's floor is a marine archaeologist's delight: Shipworms and other wood-gobbling organisms can't survive in its cold, brackish water, and sunken ships are preserved intact for centuries.

    "Archaeology is often about research and reconstruction of scarcely distinguishable residues, hard-to-interpret remnants or crumbling ruins.

    Not so with the Ghost Ship," wrote Swedish archaeologists Niklas Eriksson and Johann Rönnby of this 17th century Dutch trading vessel, its name a reference to its uncanny degree of preservation.

    "The Ghost Ship is an exceptional maritime archaeological find, which in terms of its state of preservation probably has few equals in the world."

    Carved knightheads, a structural element used to tie mooring lines to a ship's bow, are visible in the photo above.

    Archaeologists hope the ship will teach them about the techniques of Dutch shipbuilders, who by the 17th century were among the world's finest, helping the tiny nation define itself in a newly globalized world.


    Full story...



  • Tighter security as 3rd excavation of ship begin

    From Shangai Daily


    Chinese archaeologists yesterday began a third round of excavation work on the Nan'ao-1, an ancient merchant vessel that sank about 500 years ago off the coast of Guangdong Province.

    Security staff will watch over work on the wreck, which has fallen victim to illegal smuggling in the past.

    Archeologists sent by national and provincial cultural relics departments have already carried out underwater excavation of the ship twice since 2009, recovering more than 20,000 antique pieces, including porcelain and bronze coins.

    A spokesman for the Guangdong provincial bureau of cultural relics said archeologists will salvage all porcelain items from the ship during the third round, which is expected to last for three months.

    The team plans to install a giant iron mantle over the wreck to protect the relic, which was buried in silt 27 meters under water when it was found by fishermen in May 2007.




  • Seabed discovery from the oldest wreck on record

    Oldest wreck in the Scillies


    From This Is Cornwall

    Wine jugs thought to have been on their way to a priory of monks on the Isles of Scilly have been discovered on the seabed, marking the site of what could be the oldest wreck in the islands.

    An island maritime historian and diver has identified a number of broken pottery shards, which have been linked to a 700-year-old unidentified wreck.

    The wreck, which occurred in 1305, is recorded in the Calendar of State Papers dated to the 14th century reign of King Edward I.

    Maritime expert Richard Larn, a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd, said: "To find an unknown shipwreck site today to add to Scilly's list is a rare event and to find one that is nearly 707 years old is remarkable."

    Mr Larn's stepson, dive boat skipper David McBride, of St Mary's, found the first large pottery shard five years ago at the north end of Tresco Channel close to Cromwell's castle.

    Working with Mr Larn, who accurately dated that first find, Mr McBride had been quietly searching for proof that it was a possible medieval wreck and not just a typical anchorage scatter of broken pottery.

    "Underwater archaeologists surveyed the site last year supported by Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Maritime Archaeological Society (CISMAS) under Kevin Camidge and ProMare, a US charity that backs scientific and archaeological projects," said Mr Larn.

    "After plotting surface recoveries of an additional 180 shards they concluded there was a single core location area which has yielded almost 300 shards to date, including wine jar fragments with handles up to nine inches long."

    The majority has been identified as green glaze Saintonge ware, from a small region on France's Atlantic coast within Poitou-Charentes.

    Additional shards can be linked to Normandy, Southampton and Cornwall, but the majority are broken French wine jugs, presumably brought in for the monks of St Nicholas Priory on Tresco.


    Full story...



  • Ancient shipwrecks unearthed in landmark waterway

    Ancient shipwrecks unearthed in landmark waterway


    From China


    Archaeologists in Tianjin announced on Monday they have excavated two shipwrecks that were buried for centuries under the Grand Canal, the longest artificial waterway in the world.

    More than 600 artifacts have been recovered from the sunken vessels, which date back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), according to the Tianjin Cultural Heritage Protection Center.

    The wrecks first came to light in April, after workers dredged a section of the canal in the northern municipality of Tianjin, said Mei Pengyun, director of the center.

    After the month-long excavation, experts revealed fragments of one ship and the well-preserved structure of another. A large numbers of bricks, ceramic pieces, bone and wooden wares were found scattered around the site, Mei added.

    The second ship, measuring 13 meters long, is believed to have been a barge that once plied the 1,776-km canal, which stretches through several provinces in north and east China.

    The discovery will provide precious insights into the development of ancient Chinese ships and China's water transport history, as well as benefit China's application to secure World Heritage status for the Grand Canal.

    The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal was once a major waterway linking Beijing and resource-rich Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province.

    The oldest sections of the canal were built 2,500 years ago, and they were linked together in the Sui Dynasty (581-618). Part of the canal is still in use today.


    Full story...



  • Two newly-found wrecks are Mediterranean's deepest

    Shipwrecks... Deep


    From The Associated Press

    Two Roman-era shipwrecks have been found in deep water off a western Greek island, challenging the conventional theory that ancient shipmasters stuck to coastal routes rather than risking the open sea, an official said Tuesday.

    Greece's culture ministry said the two third-century wrecks were discovered earlier this month during a survey of an area where a Greek-Italian gas pipeline is to be sunk. They lay between 1.2 and 1.4 kilometres (0.7-0.9 miles) deep in the sea between Corfu and Italy.

    That would place them among the deepest known ancient wrecks in the Mediterranean, apart from remains found in 1999 of an older vessel some 3 kilometres (1.8 miles) deep off Cyprus.

    Angeliki Simossi, head of Greece's underwater antiquities department, said sunken ancient ships are generally found 30-40 metres (100-130 feet) deep.

    Most scholars believe that ancient traders were unwilling to veer far offshore, unlike warships which were unburdened by ballast and cargo.

    "There are many Roman shipwrecks, but these are in deep waters. They were not sailing close to the coast," Simossi said.

    "The conventional theory was that, as these were small vessels up to 25 metres (80 feet) long, they did not have the capacity to navigate far from the coast, so that if there was a wreck they would be close enough to the coast to save the crew," she said.

    U.S. archaeologist Brendan Foley, who was not involved in the project, said a series of ancient wrecks located far from land over the past 15 years has forced experts to reconsider the coast-hugging theory.

    "The Ministry of Culture's latest discoveries are crucial hard data showing the actual patterns of ancient seafaring and commerce," said Foley, a deep water archaeology expert at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

    Jeffrey Royal, director of the Key West, Florida, based RPM Nautical Foundation, said that in many cases -- as when winds threatened to push ships onto rocks -- ancient mariners made a conscious effort to avoid coastal waters.

    Royal, whose foundation has carried out a series of Mediterranean underwater projects, said the depth of such finds is immaterial from an archaeological standpoint.


    Full story...



  • All hands on deck for shipwreck survey

    From Bayside Bulletin


    Redland boaties are being asked to help document shipwrecks off the Queensland coast as part of National Archaeological Week, which ends on Sunday (20 - 26 May).

    Boaties with any information on shipwreck sites along the east coast can contribute to a five-year Queensland Historic Shipwreck Survey being run by the state government.

    Environment Minister Andrew Powell said along with details of shipwrecks, the department wanted information on dive sites, unusual fishing spots or net “hook ups” and photographs, drawings or family records of shipwrecks.

    Mr Powell said the survey team would dive around wrecks and use sensing surveys of Moreton Bay.

    Information gathered would be used to update the Australian National Shipwreck Database. The location of the Grace Darling wreck, near Bulwer on Moreton Island, was verified in September, thanks to information from the local diving community.

    Marine archaeologists estimate more than 1400 ships have been wrecked or abandoned along the Queensland coast since the 18th century.

    “While we know the locations of ships that were deliberately scuttled on beaches and foreshores or abandoned up rivers and creeks, others were lost at sea and never seen again and we are keen to find exactly where those wrecks are," Mr Powell said.

    To be declared “historic” ships must be wrecked for 75 years or more.

     


     

  • Project to hunt for ancient shipwreck

    By Nicole Asher - Busselton Mail


    A local archeological project is giving you a chance to become part of history.

    The project, called Search for the Deadwater Wreck is aiming to locate the remains of what could be a 17th century Dutch wreck.

    The legend of the wreck dates back to the 19th century when credible sources, including the famous explorers Frank and Augustus Gregory and the receiver of wrecks Worsley Clifton noted the location of a wreck in the Deadwater, a section of the Vasse-Wonnerup estuaries.

    Locals removed material from the wreck during the 1860s and in 1902 when salvage rights were granted.

    The remains of the Deadwater wreck are estimated to be up to 30 metres long and are now likely to be buried in silt.

    A public information session about the wreck and the upcoming archeological project which will try to detect the remains will be held at the St Mary’s Family Centre this Saturday from 7-9pm.

    Search for the Deadwater Wreck project leader Rupert Gerritsen will be at the information night. “I strongly urge anyone interested in the wreck, with information to offer, with view on the wreck, to come to the public meeting.

    “They may in fact make history,” he said.


     

  • Archaeologists identify mystery shipwreck

    A diver visits the wreck of the Flower of Ugie


    From Isle of Wight County Press
     

    A mysterious shipwreck that lay in the Solent for 160 years has finally been identified by archaeologists, and its fascinating history revealed for the first time.

    The wreck, which lies on the Horse Tail Sands three miles east of Bembridge, was first discovered by fishermen in 2003, but it was another eight years before archaeologists from the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology were able to put a name to the vessel.

    Its identity has been revealed to conincide with the release of a new book about the history of the wreck. The trust said the wreck was that of the Flower of Ugie, a 19th century wooden sailing barque that sank in the Solent on December 27, 1852 following a great storm in the English Channel.

    The vessel was a three-masted sailing barque built in Sunderland in 1838. During its career it made regular voyages around Africa and onto India and the Far East. Later it was employed in the Mediterranean, the Baltic and across the Atlantic, carrying cargo to and from America and Canada.

    On the night of December 26, 1852, while carrying coal from Sunderland to Cartagena, Spain, the Flower of Ugie ran into a storm off Portland.

    The ferocious weather that battered the whole of the south coast that night nearly capsized the ship, and the crew were forced to cut down two masts to right it.


    Full story...



  • Underwater archaeologists searching for lost village


    By Lauren Amstutz - Up North Live

    A group of underwater archaeologists are preparing for a project off the shores of Empire.

    The goal is to discover clues about the village's booming history, a history that currently lies several feet below Lake Michigan.

    The action will begin on June 8th, when a team of divers will employ the latest electronic and underwater sonar technology to find evidence of a once thriving lumber town.

    More than 100 years ago, the small village of Empire boasted one of the largest hardwood millis in the state of Michigan.

    Dave Taghon, with the Empire Museum built a scale model of the Empire Lumber Company. Dave Taghon says, "There were two 50 feet wide by 500 feet long docks used in shipping between 1887-1917."

    It's those huge piers that has history buffs intrigued. While the lumber company burnt down in 1917, the piers are still out there and a group of underwater archeologists are setting out to rediscover them.

    Troy Wilson, who is a part of Northwestern Michigan College's Nautical and Underwater Archaeology Department says, "Instead of taking hand measurements by tape, we will have lasers to do different spots.

    They will do the math for us."


    Full story...



  • Bunbury wrecks remain buried in the sands

    By Sharon Kennedy - ABC


    Why it's not feasible to raise Bunbury's whaling wrecks ?

    Digging up a wreck is the easy part, says Ross Anderson from the WA Museum. A marine archaeologist, Ross was part of the successful dig late last year which uncovered wrecks near Koombana Bay.

    "It's the physical raising and the conservation of the material, for the long term, that's really difficult and expensive.

    "We're still learning lessons here with the Batavia."

    The archaeologists work closely with department of materials at the Museum to conserve shipwreck artefacts, says Ross.

    "There is a whole field of study called waterlogged organics. Skin and bone and wood survives well but as soon as you take it out of that environment, they dry out and they can disintegrate really quickly.

    "So it's a specialised area. What has been done with the Batavia and the Mary Rose is that they are treated with polyethylene glycol, a water soluble wax. As the wood dries out and all of those cellular spaces in the wood dry, it's replaced.

    "You can see it on your hair conditioner."

    Treating a ship would need a few tonnes of PEG, says Ross and a specially constructed framework in which to immerse it. "It would take at least ten years...and then you'd have to dry it out under controlled conditions.

    "The cost of something like that is estimated to be something like $5-6m. Then you've got the long term storage and curation of it."


    Full story...


     

  • Kenya: Chinese experts arrive for a ship excavation project

    By Maureen Mudi - All Africa


    The second phase of the historical underwater ship excavation in a Sh300 million partnership project in the Coastal region is set to commence this November with the arrival of Chinese archeologists in the country.

    A 13-member delegation has been in the country since two weeks ago to conduct surveillance over the expected archeological sites in Mombasa and Malindi-Mambrui/Ngomeni area, according to the National Museums of Kenya assistant director, Coastal region, Athman Hussein.

    The excavation will, however, this time be unique since for the first time in the history of African archeology, it will be beamed live all over the world, with a team of 25 archeologists in Mombasa and Mambrui, simultaneously conducting the exercise.

    "A team of 80 Chinese experts including those from CCTV will be around to ensure the historical event is filmed and transmitted to the whole world as a way to help market Kenya as an underwater cultural heritage hub," Athman said.

    The Mambrui wreck, according to Athman, is a local ship believed to be between 150-200 years old, while the Mombasa channel has two wreckages, both assumed to have been ships from the Portuguese which sunk in the 17th century and are near Fort Jesus.

    "The ship had begun being excavated in the 1980s but due to shortage of funds, the process was stopped, but now its back, with the assistance of the Chinese," Athman said.


    Full story...



  • Diving for underwater offerings

    Chip with jar neck sherd


    By Lisa J. Lucero - Scientist at work

     

    We did not leave for the field until 9:30 a.m. Because our exploration diver Chip Petersen is using trimix (oxygen, nitrogen and helium) gases, double-checking the gas tanks before and after the hour-plus trip to Pool 1 is critical.

    Using this gas mix will allow him to safely and effectively explore depths beyond traditional scuba diving, and that is where we expect to find Maya offerings.

    At Pool 1, as the divers began getting their gear in order, Ernesto, Cleofo, Juan Antonio and Stanley constructed a ladder that the divers need to enter the pool, since the surface is eight feet below ground level.

    Our videographer, Marty O’Farrell, noticed last season that the bottom of the pool is roughly half the size of its surface, because of the slope beginning on the south side going down toward the cave opening.

    Andrew explored the shelf approximately 15 feet below the surface beneath Structure 1, the ceremonial building (likely a water shrine) on the southwest edge of the pool. Why is this significant ?

    Because this underwater topography (bathymetry) determines where divers search for offerings. If the Maya made offerings from this building, they probably would have either landed on the shelf 15 feet below or rolled all the way down, 150 to 200-plus feet. The depth is the first challenge.

    The second challenge is negotiating the numerous trees that have collapsed into the cenote over who knows how many centuries. Naturally, the highest density of trees is found immediately under Structure 1.


    Full story...


     

  • Exploring the Helen B

    Helen B


    By Elizabeth Bush - Daniel Island News


    You can only see it at low tide. And even then, the 200 year-old timbers poke ever so slightly above the pluff mud, a nurturing, oxygen-free blanket that protects in near perfect preservation what’s left of the vessel below the surface.

    "You have to use a little imagination,” said certified sport diver Douglas Boehme, a Summerville resident who discovered the site some 15 years ago. 

    The football-shaped impression, a little more than 60 feet long, sits just off the Daniel Island shoreline north of I-526 near Governor’s Park, and has been the subject of much curiosity among those who have spotted it.

    Is this mysterious structure, which consists only of the lower third of a boat, the shipwreck of a Jeffersonian-era gunboat ?

    That is one possibility, according to Boehme, who named the site “The Helen B” after his daughter. Boehme discussed the wreck while serving as guest speaker at the March meeting of the Daniel Island Historical Society.

    When coming over I-526 at a time when you know it’s going to be a really low tide, if it’s visible it should be readily apparent,” he said, while showing his audience photos he and his diving partner, George Pledger, took of the site.

    You’ll see that football shape. It’s hard to miss. It’s a really cool wreck.

    The day after discovering the site, Boehme notified the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA) to officially register his find. Working with the SCIAA and another archaeologist, Boehme and Pledger would later begin their own volunteer investigative project to help uncover more information about the vessel.

    A small dredging effort conducted at the site revealed pieces of ceramics, “200 year-old corncobs,” broken glassware, and evidence the heavy-timbered boat may have been burned, said Boehme.

    Whether it was a vessel that burned, or whether it was a vessel that was abandoned and they burned it to clear for navigation, we don’t know, and probably will never know,” he added.

    The best guess Boehme has at this point as to the origin of the boat is that it may have been built at the former Fairbanks Plantation on Daniel Island.

    The 18th century plantation was owned by Paul Pritchard, an acclaimed boat builder who is credited with crafting Jeffersonian Gunboat No. 9 on Daniel Island in 1805. He also operated a larger shipyard on nearby Hobcaw Creek, where he constructed other vessels for the U.S. Navy.

     


     

  • Cerberus protection group gets sinking feeling

    Friends of the Cerberus president John Rogers, holding a model of the ship, says the government has flip-flopped on its commitment 
    Photo John Woudstra


    By Kylie Northover - The Age

     

    Hopes of raising the wreck of colonial naval ship HMVS Cerberus have been scuttled with the government deeming a plan to build a stabilising platform too dangerous.

    The historic wreck, once Australia's most powerful ship, was sunk as a breakwater at Half Moon Bay off Black Rock in 1926.

    Protected under the Victorian Heritage Act, the Cerberus has been sinking since its hull collapsed in 1993.

    In 2008, then heritage minister Peter Garrett pledged $500,000 to the National Trust to advance a project to stabilise the wreck.

    Friends of the Cerberus, a volunteer group working to preserve the wreck, had then tried to raise $6.5 million, but were unsuccessful.

    Instead, plans were made to spend the $500,000 on bracing the ship's gun turrets, which, says group president John Rogers, are in imminent danger of collapsing.

    ''The plan was to raise it up and put it on a platform before it collapses,'' Mr Rogers said. Failing to stabilise it, he said, would be ''destruction by neglect''.

    Engineering company BMT Design and Technology had designed a bracing system and was ready to begin the work.

    But last week the Victorian branch of the National Trust received a letter from the Department of Sustainability and Environment, advising that the department had changed its mind on spending the money on structural support work, saying ''the proposals would be excessively invasive in terms of heritage values … and potentially dangerous for the people''.

    The department proposes using the funds to ''continue and enhance the existing corrosion management processes and to establish a high-quality interpretative device on the shore … adjacent to the vessel''.

    The interpretation could include mounting guns which were removed in 2005, (at present on the sea bed), in nearby parkland.


    Full story...


     

  • On the trail of pirate booty

    Oak Island


    From Sydney Morning Herald

    Nobody knows what's buried on Oak Island in Mahone Bay, nor does anybody know who put it there. Nobody knows if the Money Pit, as it has come to be called, hides the lost jewels of Marie Antoinette, though some have suggested as much.

    It has been excavated sporadically - and unsuccessfully - since 1795. Some have argued that the pit holds documentary proof that Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare's plays.

    If it wasn't for booby traps (with six fatalities to date), Canada could finally pin this great mystery on Freemasons, the Knights Templar or Sir Francis Drake.

    Even Captain Kidd has been fingered as a possible culprit: perhaps pirates, returning to the Caribbean by way of the Gulf Stream, stopped off in Nova Scotia to hide their booty, like dogs hiding a bone, on the edge of the northern Atlantic.

    Spanish scissors and coconut fibres have been found in the pit - odd, given that the closest coconut tree is more than 2000 kilometres away.

    The chairman of the Friends of Oak Island Society, Charles Barkhouse, remains unconvinced by the Captain Kidd theory.

    "No pirate did this because it's a massive feat of engineering," he tells me one morning when I stop to see the island, closed to visitors though clearly visible from the shore.

    "Still, somebody went to a lot of trouble to bury something of great value out there."

    Maybe he's right, along with past believers such as Errol Flynn, who tried to scour the island in 1940 until he discovered that search rights already belonged to John Wayne. Maybe, on Oak Island, the two unknowns of "who" and "what" really do equal something incredible.


    Full story...



  • A step towards solving a maritime mystery

    From Phys
     

    A group of four archaeology students searched the sea and land on Kangaroo Island’s west coast earlier this month in a bid to find the historic Loch Sloy and the burial sites of 11 bodies recovered from the sea when the barque, en-route from Glasgow to Port Adelaide, sank on April 24, 1899.

    Records show 30 people, including the captain, six passengers and most crewmen, died when the ship ran into rocky waters while heading towards the Cape Borda lighthouse.

    There were four survivors, one of whom died after reaching land, but the exact location of the shipwreck and the bodies recovered from the waters, except for one, has remained a mystery.

    During the week-long field trip – led by Department of Environment and Natural Resources Maritime Archaeologist and Flinders graduate Amer Khan – the team excavated an area between Cape Borda and Cape du Couedic in the hope of finding any remnants from the tragic incident.

    Flinders archaeology masters student Lynda Bignell said the researchers believed they had found the exact position of the wreck, using a magnetometer.

    “Historically the whereabouts of the ship has been roughly documented but we used a special maritime metal detector at that location and it came up with a high reading, indicating that something is definitely down there,” Ms. Bignell said.

    “It’s quite exciting because we originally went out there to look mainly for the graves, the search for the shipwreck was just one part of our extensive research into the incident.


    Full story...


     

  • BBC presents documentary on the sunken city of Pavlopetri

    Position of Pavlopetri


    By Stella Tsolakidou - Greek Reporter
     

    One of the oldest submerged archaeological town sites in the world is located underwater off the coast of southern Lakonia in Greece.

    BBC Two follows the workings of a group of experts from the UK and Greece to digitally re-create and bring the sunken city to light with the help of hi-tech equipment and programs.

    In 2009, the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, the Hellenic Center for Maritime Research and the University of Nottingham under a British School of Archaeology at Athens, began a 5-year collaborative project to outline the history and development of the submerged ancient town of Pavlopetri.

    Over the coming years, the Pavlopetri Underwater Archaeology Project aims to establish when the site was occupied, what it was used for and, through a systematic study of the geomorphology of the area, how the town and the Elaphonisos Strait became submerged.

    Having an almost complete town plan, including streets, buildings, and tombs, Pavlopetri was discovered in 1967 by Nicholas Flemming and mapped in 1968 by a team of archaeologists from Cambridge.

    It has at least 15 buildings submerged in three to four meters of water.

     


     

  • Dockyard of the damned: Vancouver Island’s hidden shipwrecks

    The treacherous waters surrounding Vancouver Island have been the final resting place for barques, outriggers and freighters. We talk to diver Jacques Marc, who has visited the underwater graveyards of some of the worst wrecks on the coast 
    Photo Jacques Marc


    By Tom Hawthorn - The Globe and Mail

    The waters surrounding Vancouver Island do not easily surrender secrets. The remains of vessels that once plied these waters can be found all along the craggy shoreline, hidden beneath the waves.

    It is said a wrecked ship rests on the seabed for every nautical mile along the western shores of Vancouver Island. They were lost to storms and misadventure, vicious sou’westers and unforgiving reefs.

    Jacques Marc, 56, dons diving gear to explore what rightfully belongs on the surface.

    As exploration director of the Underwater Archeological Society of B.C., he has admired the propeller of the Idaho, a passenger ship lost off Race Rocks in 1889; studied the boiler of Tuscan Prince, a freighter that sank in Barkley Sound in 1925; been awed by the wreckage of Valencia, a passenger steamer whose sinking claimed 136 souls in 1906.

    He refers to the latter as “our local Titanic.”

    The remnants of the worst disaster in the waters surrounding Vancouver Island can be visited only when diving conditions are ideal.

    He has wandered among the remaining pieces of a ship whose terrible end horrified people in Victoria more than a century ago.

    The experience is both “cool” and “eerie.”

    He never forgets those whose last moments were spent aboard the doomed ship.

    “The vessel is broken up,” he said, “and the West Coast surf has pounded it into the bottom.”

    The largest remaining chunk belongs to the bow. It rests on the seabed, flanked on either side by anchors that failed to protect the ship from being dashed against the rocks. “Like it was cleaved in half,” he said, “and forced upside down.”



  • Shipwreck mystery lurks in the depths of Cadboro Bay

    By Natalie North - Peninsula News

     

    In the afternoon of July 28, 1885, the Enterprise, a sidewheel paddle steamer carrying freight, livestock and passengers from New Westminster to Victoria, collided with another steamboat near Ten Mile Point.

    Passengers and crew on the Enterprise panicked and jumped overboard to save themselves when the vessel’s lifeboats weren’t deployed. The two people who died were believed to have locked themselves in a cabin to save the large sums of money they held.

    A third steamer towed the Enterprise into Cadboro Bay, where it was visible in shallow waters until the early 1900s.

    Jacques Marc, explorations director of the Underwater Archaeological Society of British Columbia, began piecing together the tale of the Enterprise in 1987. Its existence is well-documented in historical records, but the wreck itself is yet to be found.

    “The Enterprise is a mystery,” said Marc, noting the society’s ongoing efforts to locate the wreck over the years. “I’ve gone out and dug holes in Cadboro Bay. …We’ve searched for it numerous times and side scanned and found nothing – but it’s there. We’ve got pictures of it sitting about 100 yards off shore.”

    In two searches, items were found but they were determined to be remnants of wharfs. Yet the existence of coal, the boat’s fuel source, scattered near the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, suggest the Enterprise isn’t far away.

    “So far it’s eluded us and I don’t quite know why,” Marc said.

    Disruption of the site by log booms and deterioration are two possible explanations for why the wreck has yet to be located. Adding to the difficulty, the engines were salvaged, so crews are no longer able to search for some of the bigger objects, including using modern methods, such as sonar, explained Marc.

     


     

  • 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...



  • Shipwreck hunters

    Cape de Couedic, New Zealand


    From The Islander

     

    Researchers investigating a 113-year-old maritime mystery are calling for help from Islanders.

    Department of Environment and Natural Resources Maritime Archaeologist Amer Khan is leading a team to Flinders Chase National Park this week to look for graves from the wreck of the Loch Sloy.

    The clipper ship was smashed onto rocks near Cape de Couedic in 1899, with the loss of 30 lives.

    “The wreck has never been found,” Ms Khan said. “We’ll be looking for the ship itself, but an important part of this project is finding the graves of the people who were killed when the ship sank.

    “We know that the bodies of 11 passengers and crew washed up on the beach and were buried by locals, and while we have a general location, we don’t know exactly where those graves are.

    “We are also hoping that someone may have information on the wreck, the graves or anything relating to other ships wrecked on the west coast in the 19th century.

    “Pieces of local history like this are often passed down through families, so we’re eager to find out whether accounts or even relics might have survived.”

    Ms Khan said the coast around Maupertuis Bay had a fearsome reputation for wrecks in the 1800s, when four ships sank, drowning more than 80 people.


    Full story...


     


     

  • Archaeologists reconstruct diet of Nelson's Navy

    From EScience News


    Salt beef, sea biscuits and the occasional weevil; the food endured by sailors during the Napoleonic wars is seldom imagined to be appealing.

    Now a new chemical analysis technique has allowed archaeologists to find out just how dour the diet of Georgian sailors really was.

    The team's findings, published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology also reveal how little had changed for sailors in the 200 years between the Elizabethan and Georgian eras.

    The research, led by Professor Mark Pollard from the University of Oxford, focused on bones from 80 sailors who served from the mid-seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth centuries and were buried in Royal Naval Hospital cemeteries in Plymouth and Portsmouth.

    "An isotopic analysis of bone collagen from the recovered skeletons allowed us to reconstruct average dietary consumption," said Dr Pollard. "By comparing these findings to primary documentary evidence we can build a more accurate picture of life in Nelson's navy."

    In the late 18th century the Royal Navy employed 70,000 seamen and marines. Feeding so many men was a huge logistical challenge requiring strictly controlled diets including flour, oatmeal, suet, cheese, dried pork, beer, salted cod and ships biscuits when at sea.

    The team's analysis shows that the diet of the sailors was consistent with contemporary documentary records such as manifests and captain's logs.

    As well as validating the historical interpretation of sailors' diets, this finding has implications for the amount of marine protein which can be isotopically detected in human diets.

    The bones in Portsmouth were also able to show where the sailors had served. The team's results show that even when serving in naval theaters ranging from the UK and English Channel to the West Indies or the Mediterranean, the sailors converged in dietary terms into a 'naval average', due to the strict consistency of diet.

    The results also showed that sailors in buried in Plymouth spent more time off the American coast than those buried at Portsmouth, which is consistent with the sailing records.


    Full story...



  • Taiwan, France sign 2nd undersea archaeological pact

    From Christie Chen - Focus Taiwan


    Taiwan and France signed Tuesday their second pact since 2007 to continue bilateral cooperation on underwater archaeological research, saying that the cooperation will focus on research, training and site preservation.
     
    Representatives from Taiwan's Council for Cultural Affairs (CCA) and the Department for Underwater and Undersea Archeological Research (DRASSM) under France's Ministry of Culture inked the four-year pact at a ceremony in Taipei.

    Wang Shou-lai, an official of the CCA, said the pact will allow Taiwan to benefit from advanced French technology in underwater archeology and learn from its laws protecting underwater resources.

    It will also allow Taiwan to send personnel to France to receive training and translate French undersea archeology publications to benefit local studies, he said.

    Tsang Cheng-hwa, an archaeologist and researcher at Academia Sinica, said a team of more than 10 researchers is planning to explore the marine environment of Taiwan's Dongsha Atoll in the South China Sea from April through May.

    He said historical documents show that at least 40 ships from countries such as Spain, Portugal, Japan and Sweden have sunk in the area and that his team could benefit from French resources in hunting for the wrecks.

    "The French department (DRASSM) in Marseille has very advanced technology, underwater vehicles and diving equipment," said Tsang.

     


     

  • Sixteenth-century shipwreck discovered by Brazil team

    From Fox News Latino

     

    A team of Brazilian archaeologists and divers who discovered the remains of a Spanish vessel off the southern state of Santa Catarina say the recovered fragments correspond to a shipwreck that occurred in 1583.

    The recovered pieces and the documentary review indicate the wreck was a supply ship for a fleet that left Spain in 1581 on a mission to build two forts on the Strait of Magellan to stymie the advance of English pirates menacing Madrid's territories in the New World.

    Historical documents make mention of the Jan. 7, 1583 shipwreck off Brazil's coast.

    "On March 14, we'll begin a new round of diving to try to recover the maximum number of pieces possible," Beth Karam, spokeswoman for the Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina, told Efe.

    The shipwreck was located in an area off the Pinheira and Sonho beaches near Florianopolis, Santa Catarina's capital.

    The find is attributed to divers with the Barra Sul Project, an organization that was founded in 2005 to search for underwater archaeological remains off Santa Catarina's coast and which so far has located three 16th century shipwrecks.

    The first recovered fragment from this latest find was a stone with a high-relief shield of two lions and two castles with a Portuguese symbol in the center.

    That shield dates back to the kingdoms of Leon and Castile and the 1580-1640 Iberian Union, when the monarchies of Spain and Portugal were unified.


     

  • 3,000-year-old shipwreck shows European trade was thriving in Bronze Age


    By Jasper Copping - The Telegraph


    The trading vessel was carrying an extremely valuable cargo of tin and hundreds of copper ingots from the Continent when it sank.

    Experts say the "incredibly exciting" discovery provides new evidence about the extent and sophistication of Britain's links with Europe in the Bronze Age as well as the remarkable seafaring abilities of the people during the period.

    Archaeologists have described the vessel, which is thought to date back to around 900BC, as being a "bulk carrier" of its age.

    The copper and tin would have been used for making bronze – the primary product of the period which was used in the manufacture of not only weapons, but also tools, jewellery, ornaments and other items.

    Archaeologists believe the copper – and possibly the tin – was being imported into Britain and originated in a number of different countries throughout Europe, rather than from a single source, demonstrating the existence of a complex network of trade routes across the Continent.


     

  • España comienza la revisión del inventario del tesoro de "La Mercedes"


    KBNT News


    Los técnicos españoles comenzaron hoy en Sarasota, costa oeste de Florida, las labores de revisión y preparación de las cerca de 595.000 monedas que forman el tesoro de la fragata "Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes", antes de su envío a España hacia finales de semana.

    "Se trata de un trabajo complejo y muy minucioso que tenemos que intentar acabar en tres días", explicó hoy a Efe una portavoz del ministerio español de Educación, Cultura y Deportes desplazada a Sarasota junto al equipo de técnicos españoles.

    Por ello, a primera hora de la mañana una delegación española acudió a la sede de Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), la empresa encargada de custodiar el tesoro rescatado de las profundidades del mar en 2007 por la empresa estadounidense de exploraciones submarinas Odyssey frente a las costas de Portugal.

    Esa delegación estaba integrada, entre otros, por el abogado que ha llevado todo el caso judicial frente a Odyssey, James Goold, y por el agregado cultural de la embajada de España ante Estados Unidos, Guillermo Corral.

    En esa reunión se estudiaron los detalles de cómo enfocar el trabajo de inventario, según explicó a Efe la citada portavoz, que insistió en que por el momento no se puede hacer público el lugar en que está almacenado el tesoro, aunque todo apunta a que podría ser la propia sede de NGC.

    El inmueble, en las afueras de Sarasota, cuenta con amplias medidas de seguridad y allí fue donde acudió la delegación este martes por la mañana.

    Unas horas después, los seis técnicos desplazados desde España, especialistas del Museo Nacional de Arqueología y del de Arqueología Subacuática de Cartagena, y representantes de la Subdirección General de Protección del Patrimonio Histórico, se dirigieron hacia el lugar donde está el tesoro para iniciar sus trabajos.

     

     

     


     

  • Four unknown shipwrecks found

    From Athens News


    Four previously unknown shipwrecks have been discovered some 30 kilometers off the Bay of Irakleio, Crete, in recent underwater exploration conducted by the ephorate of underwater antiquities. 

    The new finds comprise two Roman era shipwrecks, one containing 1st and 2nd-century Cretan amphorae and the other containing 5th-7th century post-Roman era amphorae, and two shipwrecks containing Byzantine amphorae, dated from the 8th-9th century and later. 

    The finds, which were made south and east of the Dia islet, which lies 7 nautical miles north of Irakleio, were documented and taken ashore for further analysis. 

    Three more recent shipwrecks were also discovered, as well as four other areas with archaeological material of various eras and origin which, due to their immense research interest, will be further explored in 2012 by the ephorate. 

    The exploration was conducted to locate and record underwater antiquities in the wider area of the bay of Irakleio, as well as the Gulf of Yera of Lesvos island and the island of Tilos. 

     


     

  • What lurks beneath ?

    Bill Gamblin - Santa Rosa Press Gazette


    Residents of Santa Rosa County will have the opportunity to learn some of the history that lies beneath the Blackwater River.

    What once was known as Hardscrabble before a series of name changes, which included a period where Milton was referred to as Hell, has a rich history resting on the bottom of the Blackwater River.

    Saturday night the Blackwater Pyrates are sponsoring a lecture starting at 6 p.m. that will focus on the shipwrecks of the Blackwater River and the lumber mill history.

    Dr. Della Scott-Ireton, of West Florida Archaeology Network, will speak on the shipwrecks, while Dr. Brian R. Rucker of Pensacola State College will address the lumber mill history.

    Both of these segments work hand in hand.

    “The most recognizable wrecks are the four schooners and the steam tug at Sheilds Point,” said Dr. Scott-Ireton, who specializes in maritime archaeology. “The are ones that can be seen at low tide and at times can be seen from the I-10 bridge if you know what you are looking for.

    “The biggest thing is there are a lot of vernacular watercraft that are at the bottom of the Blackwater that we do not have much history on since they were not constructed at a shipyard or by a shipwright.”

    Ironically one of the biggest mysteries Scott-Ireton will address is a British war sloop – the HMS Mentor. “We recently got a grant to do research on this vessel and try to locate it as well,” Scott-Ireton said.

    “This British ship was the only one around and the British were planning on using it to battle the Spanish fleet, but it capsized in 1781 and the crew burned the ship.

    “Some of the boats we will talk about has involved a lot of research and thesis work by graduate students here at UWF, while others are not so well researched.”


     

  • Underwater archaeology in Ibiza

    Ibiza


    From Ibiza Spotlight


    Spotlight has featured many stories of archaeological finds and remnants of ancient civilisations which have been unearthed during building projects.

    The plans for the new Parador in Dalt Vila have been modified to accommodate many remains which have been found there and a new school planned on a former car park in the town centre is months behind schedule whilst archaeologists complete investigations on site.

    Now, a new find has been made during the dredging process of Botafoch harbour. A 17th century ship was uncovered during the operations and already many relics – including two bronze canons – have been brought to the surface for study and eventual housing in a museum.

    The eventual aim is to raise the ship Mary Rose style from the sea bottom and preserve it for future generations. This is such a time consuming and expensive operation that it cannot be done now when it would delay such an important project.

    The island authorities have therefore decided to mothball the ship by completely covering it in a thick layer of sediment and then building the already planned car park on top of it.

    When the time is right in the future, it will be relatively easy to uncover the ship to raise and eventually display it to the public.


     

  • Navy researchers to confirm if shipwreck is “Revenge”

    From US navy seals


    Researchers from the United States Navy, with the support of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, are seeking to confirm whether the shipwreck resting off the coast of Rhode Island is the Revenge.

    The team will make use of high-tech sensor equipment to map the site, which will serve as the first step towards retrieving artifacts.

    The Revenge was commanded by Navy hero Oliver Hazard Perry, and was lost on a stormy day in January 1811.

    Charlie Buffum, a brewery owner from Stonington, Connecticut, discovered the shipwreck while diving with his friend, Craig Harger.

    He shared: “The Revenge was forgotten, it became a footnote… we are very confident this is it.”

    The effort may possibly shed light on an important part in the life of one of the greatest naval officers in America. He is best remembered as the Hero of Lake Erie, after emerging victorious against the British navy in the War of 1812.

    He is known to have said simply that “we have met the enemy and they are ours” after the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813.
    Perry was a 25-year-old commander when the Revenge sailed from Newport, Rhode Island, to New London, Connecticut, in 1811.

    The ship, however, hit a reef in heavy fog, as the area is infamous for its rocky, tide-swept surfs. The crew eventually abandoned the Revenge, and no man was lost. He was, however, court-martialed after the incident, although he was exonerated.

    David Skaggs, professor emeritus at Bowling Green State University who has written a book on Perry, shared: “He was a rising star…

    But then his ship runs aground. Running a ship aground is not a helpful thing for your career.


     

  • Archaeologists go deep to uncover history

    University of Rhode Island’s Dr. Bridget Buxton dives on ancient shipwrecks in Israel with the Pulse 8X metal detector


    From Marine Link 


    Many universities are adding or expanding their underwater archaeology programs in an effort to give students a broader educational experience and a better understanding of our maritime history.
     
    The field of underwater archaeology is expanding rapidly as the equipment required for marine exploration becomes more affordable, and more scientists and researchers learn to scuba dive. Indiana University (IU) Bloomington has one of the oldest academic diving programs in the country.

    Professor Charles Beeker is the director of the school’s Office of Underwater Science and Educational Resources (USER) and also a member of the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee, part of NOAA.

    He has directed numerous shipwreck projects in the US and Caribbean and is a pioneer in preserving wreck sites as underwater museums.  

    In addition to his extensive knowledge and experience in the history behind these submerged time capsules, he is also an accomplished diver.

    The current focus of Indiana’s archaeology program is the wreck of the Quedagh Merchant.

    The ship was reportedly captained by the pirate William Kidd as he raced to New York in ill-fated attempt to clear his name.  

    The ship went down in 1669 off the coast of the Dominican Republic and the wreckage now lies in 10 feet of warm, clear Caribbean water, with cannons and anchors scattered about in plain view.  

    According to Beeker it is a unique example of 17th century ship construction.

    The location makes it ideal for in-depth archaeological study and the perfect place for students to put into practice the methods and techniques learned in the classroom.

    “How you put a name on a shipwreck is through scientific research, analysis of wood samples, determining composition of the ballast stones and the type of ship construction.” says the professor. 


    Full story...


     

  • One man's passion for our sunken past resurfaces

    By Peter Collins - The Standard


    Peter Ronald’s fossicking among old shipwrecks as a teenager uncovered relics from an era when sea tragedies were common.

    He and his mates started with snorkels and then made their own scuba diving gear to explore the depths off south-west Victoria and recover maritime history treasures.

    However, instead of snaring the relics for private collections or selling the metal, he wanted them saved for public interest.

    In subsequent years he lobbied for new government legislation to protect the wrecks which for years had been looted.

    Now his collection is safely stored at Warrnambool’s Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village where he was the first employee when it opened more than 30 years ago and later became manager.

    The last of his maritime wreck relics was donated to the village last year before he moved from Warrnambool to Tasmania.

    About 30 treasures from his collection will be shown in a tribute exhibition which opens next Tuesday evening.

    A highlight is a diamond ring recovered from the Schomberg wreck off Peterborough. It sat hidden inside an encrusted goblet until discovered during a cleaning process.

    When former premier Sir Rupert Hamer was told during a visit to Warrnambool it wasn’t on display for fear of a surge in looting of wrecks, his government soon afterwards introduced protective legislation.



  • Anthropology researcher searches for slave-era shipwreck

    Associate anthropology professor Stephen Lubkemann is teaming up with the Smithsonian Institution to research the slave trade 
    Photo Elise Apelian


    By  Liza Dee - GW Hatchet


    Anthropology professor Stephen Lubkemann thinks his planned trek into the sea will soon help shape the understanding of one of the ugliest aspects of human history: the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

    Lubkemann has spent two years pinpointing the site of a shipwreck near Cape Town, South Africa that killed more than 200 slaves being transported between East Africa and the Americas during the 1790s.

    If he reaches the sunken ship, he says the findings will add the first archaeological evidence to the 18th-Century slave trade.

    The search of the South Atlantic Ocean is one of five research initiatives piloted by GW professors that now have the support of an 18-month-old joint fund between the University and the Smithsonian Institution.

    The time since the partnership’s establishment was spent vetting project ideas and selections were announced Jan. 12.

    Alongside Smithsonian curator Paul Gardullo, Lubkemann will lead a team of nine researchers from the U.S. and South Africa to the ocean floor in hopes that getting an up-close view of the shipwreck will reveal historical details.

    This is an area where archaeology could possibly make some contributions that would be unique,” Lubkemann said.

    He added that although other teams of archaeologists have already studied shipwrecks from the trans-Atlantic slave trade, this effort would be the first to analyze a ship that was carrying slaves when it sunk.

    Examining the ship’s size and technology will reveal goals and priorities for the slave traders – like concern about a British blockade or the importance of speedy transport, Lubkemann said.


    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.

     


     

  • Archaeologists dig down to find shipwrecks

    Archaeologists uncover the hull of the whaler in Bunbury


    By Nikki Wilson-Smith - ABC


    For shipwreck archaeologists, it's a dream come true...a surprise find in a car park in the coastal town of Bunbury. 

    Five metres below the surface, a team has found historic hidden treasure and experts say there's no site quite like it in the world. 

    Ross Anderson, who's the head marine archaeologist at the West Australian museum, is leading the excavation and the team has found the remains of three shipwrecks.

    "We're just hitting solid material all through here and it's wooden so that's a pretty good sign that there is a shipwreck here," he said.

    The area around Bunbury is known as the shipwreck coast and there have been rumours through the years of American whaling ships wrecked near the beach and smothered by sand.

    John Cross, 66, was just 16-years -old when he worked at a sand mine at the site. 

    In 1961 he was on night shift when he struck wood.

    "I'd hit something, it wasn't a rock and it wasn't steel it was, well in the process of working through the evening it turned out that it was wood and it was oregon wood and oregon wood is American," he said. 

    Fifty years later he's back working on the same site as a member of an archaeological dig to confirm his suspicions that the car park is a shipwreck graveyard.

    "Best job I've been on in my life, actually I've had some tough jobs in my time you know and this is about the best I've had so I'm sort of whistling dixie you know !

    Ross Anderson says it turns out the hunch about the wood was right.

    "This would have gone down the side of the hull so it's a piece of deck that's fallen over on its side and there's barnacles along that piece of metal so this would have been in the intertidal zone at one stage," he said. 

    Mr Anderson says there is no other site quite like it in the world.

    "With three of them we think in the same location, it's absolutely unique," he said. 

    "It's that unique combination of circumstances where you get material and wrecks and everything and then it gets sealed up by modern development and coastline changes and that's resulted in sealing this as almost a shipwreck park."


    Full story...


     

  • Archaeologist digs diving

    By Liz Bernier - If Press


    Finding missing submarines or battleships is all in a day's work for Dr. Susan Langley.

    An underwater archaeologist, Langley has devoted her life to the study and conservation of underwater artifacts, which she usually finds in shipwrecks.

    The former Sarnian has helped excavate historic wrecks all over the world, working with UNESCO, Parks Canada, private companies, and — currently — the United States Navy.

    She's also the State Underwater Archaeologist for Maryland and an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and St. Mary's College of Maryland, teaching courses like "the history of piracy."

    Much of her time is spent teaching, writing, surveying and searching for wrecks.

    "We spend a lot less time diving then you would think," she said. "When you watch Discovery Channel, you may see 10 years of work squished into that one hour."

    But for Langley, hard work has never been a problem. She's contributed to exhibits at the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, holds a PhD in the subject, and is currently co-authoring a book about legal issues surrounding heritage resources.

    Langley said her parents first got her interested in archaeology.

    "My family was always interested in history and we would go to historic sites," she said.

    But it was a diver's photo on a National Geographic cover that made her consider taking her science underwater.

    "That just mesmerized me that you could find these things and bring them up," she said.

    There's strategy in selecting sites to survey.

    "We have a huge responsibility to the taxpayer," she said. "We want them to be able to come and watch while we do it, we want to do it during part of the academic year so students can come."

    Audiences aside, Langley said preserving a site is most important.

    "Archaeology is a destructive science," she said. "Once you dig a site, nobody can ever come back and re-dig it. You have to do it right the first time."
    It can be frustrating when looters or treasure hunters get their hands on a site, she said.


    Full story...



  • Hull of ancient ship revealed

    From Cyprus Mail


    The Department of Antiquities has completed a second season of excavations of the Mazotos shipwreck.

    The team continued the systematic excavation of a trench, first opened in 2010, at the southern part of the assemblage, which the archaeologists have taken to be the bow of the ancient ship.

    Meanwhile, transport amphorae recovered at the site came from the island of Chios in the Aegean. One amphora from Cos was also found outside the main assemblage and it may have been part of the crew’s provisions.

    Parts of two anchor stocks were also excavated which, added to the one found last year, provide valuable information on the sailing equipment of ancient ships. 

    The keel and part of the wooden hull of the ship were also unveiled, proving that a considerable part of the ancient ship is still lying under the main concentration of the amphorae.

    All recovered materials were transported to the special lab for underwater finds at the Larnaca District Museum, where they will remain for desalination and conservation.

    Many students from the University of Cyprus took part in the project. Apart from the archaeological excavation, they were also trained in ancient sailing during a seminar organised in collaboration with the Kyrenia-Chrysocava Foundation, on the ‘Kyrenia-Liberty’ ship. The ship sailed from the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base in Mari, where it was moored, to the Mazotos shipwreck area.

    During the trip, the Kyrenia-Liberty crew, under Captain Giorgos Paphitis, taught the basic principles of ancient sailing.

    Divers and archaeologists came from 16 different countries.
     


     

  • Mazotos underwater archaelogical research second excavation

    From You Story 

     

    The Ministry of Communications and Works, Department of Antiquities announces the completion of the second excavation season of the Mazotos shipwreck (2/5/2011 – 25/6/2011).

    The fieldwork was conducted by the Archaeological Research Unit of University of Cyprus, under the direction of Dr Stella Demesticha, in collaboration with the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus and the THETIS Foundation.

    During this last field season, the team continued the systematic excavation of a trench, first opened in 2010, at the southern part of the assemblage. In the preliminary view of the archaeologists, this would have been the bow area of the ancient ship.

    Most of the transport amphorae recovered belong to the main type of the cargo and came from the island of Chios in the Aegean. One amphora from the island of Kos was also found outside the main assemblage and it may have been part of the crew’s provisions.

    Moreover, parts of two anchor stocks were also excavated which, added to the one found last year, provide valuable information on the sailing equipment of ancient ships.

    Of prime importance was the discovery of the keel and part of the wooden hull of the ship, as it proves that a considerable part of the ancient ship is still lying under the main concentration of the amphorae.

    The photogrammetric mapping of the site was conducted in collaboration with the Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics at the Cyprus University of Technology, under the direction of Dr Dimitris Skarlatos.

    All recovered materials were transported to the special lab for underwater finds, in the Larnaka District Museum, where they will remain for their desalination and conservation by the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus.

    Many students from the University of Cyprus took part in the project.

    Apart from the archaeological excavation, they were also trained in ancient sailing, during a special seminar that was organised in collaboration with the Kyrenia-Chrysocava Foundation, on the ‘Kyrenia-Liberty’ship.

    The ship sailed from the Naval Base ‘Evangelos Florakis’ in Mari, where it was moored, to the Mazotos shipwreck area.

    During the trip, the ‘Kyrenia-Liberty’ crew and their Captain Mr Giorgos Paphitis taught the basic principles of ancient sailing to the students and guided them in performing several tasks of the procedure themselves. 

     


     

  • Divers retrieve prehistoric wood from Lake Huron

    Divers examining boulders at the bottom of Lake Huron that served as caribou drive lanes for prehistoric hunters 
    Photo  John O'Shea


    From Science Daily


    Under the cold clear waters of Lake Huron, University of Michigan researchers have found a five-and-a-half foot-long, pole-shaped piece of wood that is 8,900 years old. The wood, which is tapered and beveled on one side in a way that looks deliberate, may provide important clues to a mysterious period in North American prehistory.

    "This was the stage when humans gradually shifted from hunting large mammals like mastodon and caribou to fishing, gathering and agriculture," said anthropologist John O'Shea. "But because most of the places in this area that prehistoric people lived are now under water, we don't have good evidence of this important shift itself- just clues from before and after the change.

    "One of the enduring questions is the way the land went under water. Many people think it must have been a violent event, but finding this large wood object just sitting on the bottom wedged between a few boulders suggests that the inundation happened quickly but rather gently.

    And this in turn suggests that we'll find more intact evidence of human activity in the area."

    With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), O'Shea and U-M colleague Guy Meadows began exploring the area in the middle of modern Lake Huron several years ago. In 2009 they reported finding a series of stone features that they believe were "drive lanes" used by ancient PaleoIndian hunters to funnel caribou to slaughter, a technique still used today by the Inuit.

    These drive lanes were located on the Alpena-Amberley Ridge, a land connection across the middle of modern Lake Huron that linked northern Michigan with central Ontario during the low-water periods of the Pleistocene and early Holocene ages.


    Full story...



  • Bronze Age boats discovered at a quarry in Whittlesey

    Bronze Age boats have been found by archaeologists at a quarry in Whittlesey


    From BBC News
     

    Bronze Age boats, spears and clothing dating back 3,000 years and described as the "finds of a lifetime" have been discovered near Peterborough.

    Archaeologists from the University of Cambridge have unearthed hundreds of items at a quarry in Whittlesey.

    The objects, discovered at one of the most significant Bronze Age sites in Britain, have been perfectly preserved in peat and silt.

    It is thought the settlement burned down in about 800 BC.

    David Gibson, project manager for the excavation, said: "It is giving us a 3-D vision of this community that we only see very rarely in the world, let alone in this country."

    Ropes, buckets and wooden spoons as well as swords and spears with their handles intact have been found at the site, which lies along the old course of the River Nene.

    Six boats hollowed from the trunk of an oak tree, some with extensive carvings, have also been discovered on the site.

    'Finds of a lifetime' The boats were discovered three metres below the modern-day surface. It is thought the community would have lived on the river, fishing for perch, pike and eels.

    The remains of a nettle stew have been discovered in a wooden bowl.


    Full story...


     

  • Cannons reveal a clue about a centuries-old shipwreck site

    Archaeologists unveiled a four pound long gun and a carronade, or gunnade, next the St. Augustine Lighthouse on Friday night.


    By Sheldon Gardner - The St Augustine Record
     

    Archaeologists unveiled two centuries-old cannons, one with a very important inscription, at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum Friday night.

    “It’s been hidden away for centuries,” said archaeologist Chuck Meide, director of the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Progam (LAMP), as he awaited the unveiling.

    “It hasn’t been touched for centuries.” The cannons rested under a tent Friday night in the courtyard under the towering St. Augustine Lighthouse.

    They were unveiled amid a crowd historians, archaeologists, professors and others at an invitation-only event.

    Sam Turner, director of archaeology at LAMP, found the cannons in December at a shipwreck site off the coast of St. Augustine that archaeologists discovered two years ago.

    “That was wonderful,” Turner said. “I wasn’t expecting to find a pile of cannons.” After a summer filled with careful cleaning and removal of concretions, the guns were ready to be unveiled.

    One cannon is a four pound long gun, named because it could fire cannon balls that weighed up to four pounds. The second cannon, the shorter one, is a more powerful carronade, also referred to as a gunnade.

    Carronades were invented in Scotland during the time of the American Revolution.

    The shorter cannon has the date 1780 inscribed on its side.

    From the cannon’s date and other artifacts found at the site, LAMP archaeologists believe that the cannons could belong to one of a series of loyalist transport ships that wrecked in the area.

    Around 16 loyalist ships sunk as they were seeking refuge after the British evacuated Charleston in 1782. At the time, St. Augustine was a British-occupied city.

    That is just a hypothesis at this point, Meide said. The shipwreck could be also merchant ship.


    Full story...



  • Search for underground shipwrecks to start in Bunbury

    From Bunbury Mail
     

    Excavation of two possible shipwreck sites on Koombana Drive will start next week.

    As reported in the Bunbury Mail in August, the excavations will be carried out by the City of Bunbury and marine archaeologists from the WA Museum.

    The purpose of the excavations is to identify several anomalies found during magnetometer and ground penetrating radar surveys commissioned by the City of Bunbury in 2009.

    These anomalies could be the remains of shipwrecks known to have been lost in the area which was the shoreline in 1896 and has since changed significantly due to port and harbour development.

    City of Bunbury chief executive officer Andrew Brien said prior to any decision on future use of the land it was necessary to investigate whether the anomalies were of maritime significant and therefore covered by the WA Maritime Archaeology Act.

    We need to investigate whether the anomalies are of maritime significance and if so, to understand the extent of any buffers that could be required,” Mr Brien said. If any maritime material is found it will be recorded and the sites backfilled and returned to their pre-excavation condition. This is the best way to preserve shipwrecks.”

    The City of Bunbury has been working closely with the WA Museum for months in preparation for the excavation.


     

  • Drought is revealing historic treasures

    By Allan Turner - My San Antonio


    All across Texas, the bones of history lie in watery graves. From the ribs of sunken ships to the grave sites of prehistoric Texans, uncounted treasures abound beneath the surface of rivers and lakes.

    For state archaeologists, these sites are untapped treasures — hard to reach but relatively protected.

    But now, with the state in the grip of devastating drought, such sites are emerging from receding waters and — for the first time in years, experts worry — becoming vulnerable to looters and vandals.

    Since midsummer, the Texas Historical Commission, which oversees such locations, has on average learned of a newly exposed site each month, said Pat Mercado-Allinger, the agency's archaeology director.

    Among the sites are four cemeteries, including an apparent slave burial ground in Navarro County, southeast of Dallas. In Central Texas, fishermen recovered a human skull thought to be thousands of years old.

    An unspecified number of additional sites have emerged from waters overseen by the Lower Colorado River Authority. An agency spokeswoman refused to discuss details, saying that even divulging the number of newly exposed sites could induce the unscrupulous to search out and pilfer them.

    East Texas waterways shroud dozens of sunken vessels, from early Texas ferries to steamboats and World War I-era cargo ships.

    While most of these craft probably remain underwater, their appearance above water could occur at any time, said state nautical archaeologist Amy Borgens.

    Such sites, most of which were submerged before Texans became appreciative of archaeological treasures, can be vital in helping researchers fill the gaps of state history, Mercado-Allinger said.

     


     

  • Should shipwrecks be left alone ?

    Graf Spee


    By Chris Summers - BBC News

    It is 10 years since a deal to protect the world's thousands of shipwrecks, but the UK and several other major maritime powers are yet to ratify it. Should this underwater heritage be protected or is it acceptable to plunder ?

    When a ship sinks and lives are lost, it is a tragedy for the families involved.

    For the relatives of the dead, the ship becomes an underwater grave but as the years pass the wreck can become a site of archaeological interest.

    In recent years technological innovations have allowed commercial archaeologists, decried by some as "treasure hunters", to reach wrecks far below the surface.

    The most famous of them all, the Titanic, is more than four miles down and to get there as film director James Cameron has shown, involves using "robot" divers which are prohibitively expensive - around $50,000 (£32,000) a day.

    Salvage firms are most interested in ships with cargoes of gold and silver, ceramics or other valuables.

    In November 2001, the Unesco Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage was finally adopted.

    But 10 years on, it still has not been ratified by the UK, France, Russia, China or the US, and commercial archaeologists continue to locate wrecks, remove their cargoes and sell them off.

    "The convention has not been ratified yet because of the issues it throws up about the cost of implementing and policing it," a spokesman for the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport, says. "Discussions continue within government, but ratification is not currently seen as a priority."

    In September Britain's Department of Transport announced it had signed a deal with Odyssey Marine Exploration for the salvage of 200 tonnes of silver, worth up to £150m, from the SS Gairsoppa, which was sunk by a German U-Boat in 1941.

    The British government will get 20% of whatever Odyssey recovers but Unesco says the deal broke the spirit of the convention.


    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...



  • Will DNA swabs launch CSI: cargo scene investigation ?

    A new study relies on DNA to reveal that ancient Greek amphorae held much more than grape products.


    By Traci Watson - Science Mag

     

    Ceramic jugs known as amphorae were the cardboard boxes of ancient Greece. Produced in the millions, they contained goods that were shipped across the Mediterranean and beyond.

    But what was in them ? In a new study that uses a DNA-based method inspired by crime-scene protocols, scientists say they've uncovered a cornucopia of cargoes, but other researchers are skeptical of the technique.

    Shipwrecks and other sites have yielded plenty of intact amphorae. Maddeningly, nearly all are empty, devoid of obvious clues to what they once held. Researchers have scraped bits of ceramic from the vessel's interior to look for leftover genetic material.

    In the new study, however, they also turned to a less destructive method straight from television'sCSI: swiping the amphorae with a swab.

    The idea came from the Massachusetts State Police, whom the investigators called for leads.

    A team led by maritime archaeologist Brendan Foley of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution tested the new protocol on nine 5th to 3rd century B.C.E. amphorae that had been languishing in a government storage room in Athens for more than a decade.

    All had been hauled up in fishermen's nets before being handed over to the Greek government in the 1990s.

    To reveal what the vessels once held, the researchers collected DNA from the amphorae and mixed it with snippets of DNA from a selection of plants. When amphora DNA stuck to one of these genetic probes, the investigators knew they'd found a match.

    The scientists also sequenced amphora DNA, then searched a DNA database for the same sequences.

    The results, published online last week by the Journal of Archaeological Science, suggest that swabbing works better than shaving the ceramic. And the data seem to show something less surprising as well: The ancient Greeks really liked olive oil. The team found that olive oil, olives, or some combination of the two were even more common in the amphorae than grape products such as wine.

    Many of the amphorae also had traces of DNA from oregano, thyme, or mint, which may have been used to flavor and preserve foods. Most common of all was DNA from the juniper bush, "not something you typically think of in the ancient Greek diet," Foley says.

    "Maybe a whole lot of juniper berries were added to food and drink in the ancient world."


    Full story...



  • Artifacts found during QAR dive

    By Jannette Pippin - JD News

     

    The raising of a cannon is planned as part of a fall dive expedition now under way at the Queen Anne’s Revenge shipwreck site off the Carteret County coast, but recent excitement has been over an artifact much, much smaller.

    Now in its second week of the four-week dive, the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources archaeologists closed out the first week with an artifact recovered Friday of a small lid that appears to go to the set of seven bronze nesting weight cups recovered from the shipwreck in 2007.

    The set of graduated, cup-shaped weights that fit inside of each other have already gone through the conservation process and are on display as part of the largest exhibit of artifacts from the shipwreck considered to be the flagship of the infamous pirate Blackbeard.

    The exhibit is located at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort, which is the official repository for the QAR project.

    David Moore, curator of nautical archaeology for the Maritime Museum, said the artifact was located about 20 feet from where the nesting weights were originally found.

    “I would be surprised if it’s not (the lid),” he said.

    Having the lid would help to complete the set, which was missing the lid and its smallest weight when it was found.

    Moore said the smallest of finds make a big impact when it comes to piecing together the story of the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

    “The small, seemingly insignificant artifacts all play a part,” Moore said. “All the artifacts give us a little bit of the story and enable us to put together this 3-D jigsaw puzzle.”

    The nesting weight cups could have been used for measuring medicine or gold dust.

    The recovery of the likely lid for the weight set came as East Carolina University students Laurel Seaborn and Rob Minford worked the dredge and sluice box used in separating tiny artifacts from sediment from the shipwreck site.

    Students with ECU’s maritime studies program and a student from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation are participating in the dive expedition.

    “Part of what we’re doing is education,” said Nathan Henry, assistant state archaeologist.

    Also recovered this week was an artifact believed to be a shackle from the ship.

    “It’s definitely a shackle, but we don’t know if it was used for rigging or possibly as part of the slave trade,” Henry said.



  • The tale of the Jefferson Davis, sunk off St. Augustine

    Jefferson Davis


    By Marcia Lane


    Most successful privateer ship of Civil War featured in factual film

    Peter Pepe has a visual reminder of time spent in St. Augustine — a skull and crossbones on his kayak.

    It’s a reminder not of pirates, but of a Civil War privateer known as the Jefferson Davis that sank off the coast of St. Augustine in 1861. In 2009 Pepe and his production crew came to St. Augustine to film marine archaeologists from the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program exploring a wreck thought to be the Jeff Davis.

    “Before this, I didn’t even know what a privateer was,” Pepe said.

    Pepe, who heads Pepe Productions in Glens Falls, N.Y., recently released a documentary on the privateer, co-producing the 150-year-old story with Joe Zarzynski, a retired history teacher. Zarzynski first heard about the Jefferson Davis while vacationing in St. Augustine and volunteering at the Lighthouse.

    The Jefferson Davis was the most successful privateer of the Civil War, said Chuck Meide, director of Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program

    Over a dazzling seven-week period, the Davis and its crew captured nine northern merchant vessels off the New England coast. It was only when the ship headed into Confederate-held St. Augustine for water and food that things unraveled.

    According to accounts of the time, St. Augustine residents awoke to see “a black painted brig with dark canvas sails beating towards the harbor entrance.” The Jeff Davis ran aground on the shallow bars of the inlet and the crew had to abandon her.

    While Pepe’s group worked on the film for a couple of years, the release of the documentary ended up coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. The producers worried their film would get lost in all the other productions and books that were coming out.

    “Since the dust has settled, the film is picking up a lot of interest,” Pepe said. It’s been selected for the Orlando Film Festival later this month. “That’s a huge honor for us.”


    Full story...



  • The mysteries of the underwater world

    Over the past years, the Aurora team has traveled throughout the Mediterranean setting up and implementing projects


    By Cammy Clark - Miami Herald


    The mysteries of the underwater world have intrigued Ian Koblick since he was a teenager diving into the unknown with homemade scuba gear and an air tank filled at a gas station.

    His first underwater exploration yielded a lost boat motor in a California lake and a $10 reward. That started an eclectic marine career.

    He’s served as an aquanaut in the Tektite undersea research program off the Virgin Islands, searched for treasure from a sunken 1622 Spanish galleon with Mel Fisher and co-developed the Jules Undersea Lodge in Key Largo.

    Now, through a nonprofit, Koblick, 72, helps operate multimillion-dollar marine expeditions that scour the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea for ancient shipwrecks.

    “This is not treasure hunting; it’s archaeology,” he said recently from his office in Key Largo.

    In 2003, he co-founded the Aurora Special Purposes Trust with fellow ocean explorer Craig Mullen, whose former company helped recover the space shuttle Challenger. The duo wanted to advance the understanding of ancient civilizations through marine cultural heritage.

    The operation has discovered 24 ancient shipwreck sites during highly technical surveys of ancient ports, harbors and trade routes in coastal waters of Italy, Malta, Croatia, Spain and France. Many have not been seen for 2,000 years or more.

    “How much is out there? That’s the million-dollar question,” said Timmy Gambin, Aurora Trust’s archaeologist, in a phone interview from his home in Malta. “We’re just looking in water that’s 50 to 150 meters deep [about 150 to 450 feet], and we’ve come across so much that was previously unknown. It shows there is a lot out there.”

    The expeditions also have uncovered World War II shipwrecks, more than a dozen World War II airplanes and unexploded military mines.

    “We’re also mapping the underwater landscape of war,” Gambin said.

    The Aurora Trust operates primarily from an 85-foot luxury research yacht equipped with the latest in diving technology, side-scan sonar, magnetometers, deep-sea robotic vehicles and sophisticated computer software.

     


     

  • The challenge of saving DeBraak's hull

    HMS DeBraak


    By Molly Murray - Delmarvanow


    The musket balls, once at the ready for an 18th century sea battle, are vacuum packed in the same plastic bags home cooks use to store leftovers.

    The socks, a little stained, but otherwise perfect -- are spread out in acid-free boxes.

    And the bilge pump rests in a specially built roller cart.

    But the one piece of the 18th century HMS DeBraak -- raised from the sea floor off Lewes in the summer of 1986 -- that hasn't been carefully conserved and preserved is the largest of some 20,000 artifacts: the giant section of the 85-foot long vessel's hull.

    For more than two decades, the hull section, about 30 percent of the original ship, has been stored in a warehouse near Lewes.

    A steady stream of fresh water keeps the wood -- which dates to pre-1798 -- wet. And over time, it has washed away salt deposits, tiny bits of debris, mud and sand.

    Now, state archaeologists are beginning to tackle their biggest conservation challenge yet with the DeBraak collection, considered world class by researchers and historians.

    "There is no other vessel like this," said Charles H. Fithian, the state curator of archaeology, who has worked on the DeBraak since thousands of artifacts and the hull were raised from the sea floor in summers of 1984, 1985 and 1986.

    Now, he said, they must develop a conservation plan for the hull remains. "We could make a serious mistake and ruin it," he said


     

  • Secrets of WTC Shipwreck Sleuthed Out

    From Christina Reed - Discovery News


    Unraveling the mystery surrounding the shipwreck found last year during excavations of the World Trade Center site has resulted in several facts as well as theories.

    The 18th century vessel, likely a single-masted sloop, measured approximately 50 feet long, and had a shallow, double-ended draft aided by a small, tapered keel built of squared-off hickory that that ran from stem-to-stern.

    The hull was built from Philadelphia oak trees -- one of which had lived for at least 111 years and was still growing in 1773, its youngest sapwood preserved in one of the boat's timbers.

    Maritime historian Norman Brouwer had suggested that the unusually crafted sailboat was from a small rural shipyard and the trees for its timber from the same forest. "The data we see suggest something very similar," says Neil Pederson of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory's Tree Ring Lab in Palisades, NY.

    "It's an interesting intersection in experts," he told Discovery News. He was part of a four-person dendrochronology team from the Tree Ring Lab working on samples of the vessel's white oak planks and its hickory keel.

    Other tree species used in the boat's construction included spruce and southern yellow pine, reported wood deterioration researcher Robert Blanchette of the University of Maine.

    Looking up tree ring patterns for white oak timber samples is like hunting down a family's genealogy. To get the most accurate result, teams of people around the world need to have already done the manual labor of counting rings and entering forest timber chronologies into a database.

    Then it's a matter of sleuthing through generations of tree life-cycles to find a pattern that fits: where the timber samples and the trees share the same local climate of wet and dry years allowing them to make matching patterns of wide rings and skinny rings. So where to start ?



     

  • Best preserved shipwreck found at Istanbul’s Yenikapi

    Shipwreck found at İstanbul’s Yenikapı


    By Sevgi Korkut - Todays Zaman


    In the course of the ongoing archeological excavations at the Yenikapı Marmaray construction site, the world’s best preserved shipwreck, a merchant vessel whose contents and wooden parts are in exceptionally good condition, was revealed.

    The archaeologists believe that the ship is from the fourth or fifth century and that it sank in a storm. Surprisingly, most of the amphorae on the ship are in perfect condition.

    The archeological excavation started in 2004 at the Yenikapı Marmaray construction site and reaches 8,500 years into the history of İstanbul. Skeletons, chapel remains, water wells and footprints, in addition to 35 shipwrecks, have been uncovered by archeologists so far.

    A 15 to 16-meter-long, six-meter-wide shipwreck loaded with dozens of amphorae found last May brings new historical data to life.

    The amphorae are shaped and colored differently than previously found examples. It is assumed that the ship was completely buried in mud and that this oxygen-free atmosphere protected the vessel and its contents from breaking down or being damaged.

    The ship was loaded with pickled fry, while almonds, walnuts, hazels, muskmelon seeds, olives, peaches and pine cones found on the shipwreck were also in good condition.

    Archeologist Songül Çoban says they need two more months to completely uncover the shipwreck, which was found four-five meters below sea level, adding that they were working eight hours a day and that such a detailed excavation was demanding.

    The shipwreck at Yenikapı is the only sample in near-perfect condition in terms of both wooden parts of the ship and its cargo in the world. When the shipwreck was first discovered, the mud above it was cleared away and the damaged top layer of amphorae was removed piece by piece, after which the team began removing the undamaged amphorae below them.

    After all of the objects are removed from the shipwreck, the hull of the ship will be given to İstanbul University.


    Full story...



  • Scanners reveal a wreck on the bottom of lake Geneva

    From Physorg


    The Russian submersibles involved in EPFL’s elemo project have discovered a new wreck on the bottom of the lake. Underwater archaeology is benefiting from scanners developed for scientific research.

    “It’s always a memorable moment when you find an unknown shipwreck. It’s not on the maps, and after having gone around it, I didn’t see any inscription on its hull,” explains Evgeny Chernyaev, who was piloting the submersible.

    Diving off the shores of la Tour-de-Peilz, he was taking sediment samples.

    The sonar indicated a large object off to one side. It was a sunken boat. The team was lucky; the portholes provide only a very limited range of vision and the sonar only sweeps 200m in front of the submersible, with an arc of 90°. The wreck is most likely an old barge used for hauling stone or gravel.

    “The boat, about 30 meters long, could date from the end of the 19th or beginning of the 20th century. It must have sunk while navigating, because the anchor and other components were still on board, whereas boats that were sunk deliberately would have been stripped of all useful equipment,” explains Carinne Bertola, from the Musée du Léman in Nyon.

    Bertola, a specialist in shipwrecks, thinks that it was an old barge that transported materials extracted from quarries in the St. Gingolph area.

    The pilot confirms this: “The state of the wreck leads me to think that it dates to the same time as that of the Rhône, which is not far away.”

    At the bottom of the lake, where objects are covered in sediment and the visibility is bad, explorers can easily go right by a discovery. Fortunately, during this dive, Marie-Eve Randlett from EAWAG and Don Dansereau from the Australian Centre for Field Robotics were using a high-resolution scanner.

    This instrument helps them position the submersible correctly to take sediment samples at the desired depth, as well as make a precise map of the lake bottom.

     


     

  • Divers examine 19th century shipwreck

    From Viêt-Nam News


    An inter-disciplinary team from different agencies in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue has begun to survey a shipwreck believed to date back to the early 19th century.

    The survey is conducted to assess the feasibility of salvaging the ship and help authorities make a decision.

    The shipwreck is located two metres underwater and 100m off Xuan Thien Ha Beach in Phu Vang District's Vinh Xuan Commune, said Phan Tien Dung, director of the Thua Thien-Hue Department for Culture, Sports and Tourism.

    Dung said the survey will last for ten days and will be carried out with the support of divers, workers and special equipment from Hue City.

    Based on the survey results, provincial authorities will decide whether or not the ship should be lifted from the site, Dung told Viet Nam News.

    The 60m long, 10m wide steam-powered ship was discovered some 60-70 years ago and has been visited many times since by antique collectors and scrap merchants. Most of the ship is currently buried under sand.

    In early 2011, Nguyen Cong Tinh, owner of a scrap shop in Hue city, was granted permission from Phu Vang District's military command to exploit the shipwreck further.

    However, on May 29 this year, the provincial People's Committee issued a decision to revoke the permission and suspend exploration of the ship, said Tran Van De, chairman of the Vinh Xuan Commune People's Committee.

     


     

  • Roman shipwreck found off Albanian coast



    By Sean McLachlan - Gadling


    An underwater archaeological survey has turned up a Roman shipwreck off the coast of Albania.

    As the above video shows, the remains of the ship are now little more than a heap of amphorae, the characteristic pots the Romans used to transport wine.

    The team hasn't had a chance to excavate the site yet, so more finds may lie hidden beneath the bottom of the sea.

    The archaeologists estimate that the ship was from the first or second century BC and was part of an extensive wine trade on the Adriatic Sea.

    The ship was about 30 meters long and contained an estimated 300 or more amphorae. The excavation was funded by the RPM Nautical Foundation, which has discovered numerous shipwrecks in recent years.

    Shipwrecks can tell us a lot about early technology and trade. Several museums are dedicated to them.

    In Stockholm, Sweden, the Vasa Museum houses the well-preserved remains of a warship that sank in 1628.

    Despite its impressive appearance, it was badly designed and sank less than a nautical mile into its maiden voyage.

    In Portsmouth, England, the Mary Rose Museum has a warship that sank in battle in 1545.

    The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark, houses five Viking ships dating to about 1070.



  • Crean recorrido virtual del buque “Laguna de Mandinga”

    Crean recorrido virtual del buque “Laguna de Mandinga” hundido en isla Cozumel en México


    Por Antonio Domínguez - La Gran Época


    El Estado impulsa un proyecto que se adhiere a no negociar el patrimonio cultural de la arqueología subacuática con los llamados "buscadores de tesoros".

    Profesionales del Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH-Conaculta), de México, elaboraron un recorrido virtual subacuático de 360 grados, que está puesto en Internet, y que da cuenta de la labor de investigación, conservación y protección del buque “Laguna de Mandinga sumergido en la costa de Isla Cozumel, Quintana Roo, informó INAH el 4 de agosto.

    Arqueólogos de la subdirección de Arqueología Subacuática (SAS) realizaron desde septiembre 2010, una exploración del buque de 20 toneladas “Laguna de Mandinga” hundido intencionalmente por la Armada, a 12 metros de profundidad en la costa de la Isla Cozumel.

    El Buque “Laguna Mandinga” fue un navío de la Armada de México que patrulló por muchos años las costa del Mar Caribe, y que fue hundido con el objetivo de crear un arrecife artificial en torno a él, y así diversificar un área del Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel, destrozada un año antes, por los embates del huracán Wilma.

    El personal del INAH, desarrolló un paseo virtual subacuático con una “inmersión en 3600 “, gracias a los materiales obtenidos durante la exploración junto con otros materiales previos del del Instituto.

    El sitio subacuático de la Isla Cozumel en Quintana Roo es uno de los 300 sitios arqueológicos sumergidos en México, que forman parte de un inventario de bienes culturales del país.

    La arqueología subacuática en México, entiende que el patrimonio cultural, es un legado y no tesoros negociables, lo que le ha valido el respeto de la comunidad internacional.


    Mas...



  • Premier treasure-hunting: Putin dives into “Russian Atlantis”


    From RT


    Known for his keen interest in exotic adventures, Vladimir Putin has tried himself as a sea treasure hunter.

    While visiting an excavation of an ancient city in south Russia, the prime minister could not resist the temptation to take part in some research to shed light on the fate of the historic site.

    The PM put on a diving suit and dived deep into the Taman Bay where, to everyone’s utter surprise, he managed to find two ancient amphorae dating back to the 6th century AD.

    Putin said he had seen at a depth of about two meters – the sea was still and the water transparent.

    The chief archeologist explained to Putin that amphorae often broke when the ancient ships were loaded or unloaded, so the sailors just threw them into the sea.

    The city of Phanagoria, founded about 2,550 years ago, is Russia’s biggest ancient settlement. For unknown reasons, it was abandoned in the late 9th century AD – this is why archeologists call it the “Russian Atlantis.”

    The PM suggested that the excavation should become an underwater museum – the attraction, he believes, will gather crowds from all over the world.

    Putin also told journalists that the Taman dive was his third-ever attempt at scuba diving. He added that swimming in a diving suit is much more interesting than in a submarine.

    Back in 2009, the PM dived into the Baikal Lake on a Mir-1 – a special submersible.



  • Works to preserve artifacts from sunken blockade runners

    By Ben Steelman - Star News Online


    Their career began 150 years ago and lasted just a few seasons, but for a while they made Wilmington, in the words of Civil War writer Clint Johnson, “the most important city in the Confederacy.”

    They were the blockade runners, merchant ships that sped past Union warships in the dark to bring much-wanted supplies into Southern ports.

    After the U.S. Navy and ground forces effectively sealed off Charleston, S.C., in 1863, that meant Wilmington.

    Arms, ammunition, medicine and much-needed supplies slipped into the Port City, usually under the protective guns of Fort Fisher. These were then loaded onto the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad for shipment north to Richmond.

    Now, state archaeologists are beginning to take a new look at the blockade runners and their cargoes. They hope to launch a campaign to conserve artifacts recovered from the waters off Cape Fear.

    The wrecks of 21 blockade runners lie in shallow waters off the coast in what is one of the few maritime National Register historic districts.

    “There’s probably twice as many still out there,” said Mark Wilde-Ramsing, an assistant state archeologist who heads North Carolina’s Underwater Archaeology Branch at Fort Fisher. On April 27, 1861 – nearly a month before North Carolina officially seceded from the Union – President Lincoln extended the naval blockade of the Confederacy to the Tar Heel coast.

    Declaring a blockade and enforcing it, however, are two different things. In early 1861, the U.S. Navy had just 42 warships, many still deployed in foreign ports, hardly enough to cover the 4,000-mile-long Confederate coast.

    The first blockader, the USS Roanoke, didn’t take up station off Cape Fear until July 12, 1861.


     

  • Watch live: first glimpse of newfound shipwreck

    From Our Amazing Planet


    Scientists using a remotely operated vehicle in waters off Turkey stumbled upon an unknown shipwreck yesterday (Aug. 3).

    Today the world could watch the live stream from a camera aboard the underwater robot as the team investigated the wreckage for the first time.

    The team aboard the research vessel Nautilus, on an expedition in the Black Sea, happened upon the sunken ship while on the way to investigate another shipwreck, known as the Sinop B.

    The team has dubbed the newfound shipwreck the Sinop E. The ship lies in about 305 feet (105 meters) of water, and based on the amphorae — ceramic storage vessels — strewn near its broken timbers on the ocean floor, the team suspects it dates to a time before the Sinop B, a wreck from sometime within the 5th to 7th centuries.

    Two red dots sometimes appear on the camera view — these are lasers shot from the remotely operated vehicle to take measurements. The dots are approximately 4 inches (10 centimeters) apart, a measure that can give viewers a sense of scale of the artifacts caught on film.

    The expedition is a project of oceanographer Robert Ballard, best known for his discovery of the wreck of the Titanic, and it aims to investigate everything from shipwrecks to underwater volcanoes and weird sea life around the planet for several months this summer.

    Throughout the season, a satellite dish on the ship will transmit live video and other data from the expedition 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.



  • Archaeologists give tentative name to shipwreck

    This square-shaped nail is one of a handful of artifacts collected from a sunken steamboat in Bayou Bartholomew on Friday to be used in further research


    By Wes Helbling - Bastrop Daily Enterprise


    Professional archaeologists may have finally solved the mystery behind a sunken steamboat in Bayou Bartholomew that has intrigued local residents for decades.

    Dennis Jones with the state Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism, Division of Archaeology and Allen Saltus Jr. with Archaeological Research Inc. conducted the first formal study of the site Friday.

    As a result of their work, the sunken vessel can now be confirmed as a steamboat and will be recorded with the state archaeologist’s office.

    The shipwreck had been exposed for a few weeks during the recent drought. By Friday, the boat was once again submerged and buried in sand.

    Jones and Saltus determined the boat’s dimensions -- close to 150 feet long and up to 17 feet wide -- by marking the unseen perimeter with metal probes and then mapping it in sections via tape measure and graph.

    In addition to the size, Saltus, who specializes in underwater archaeology, found several hidden clues that may help identify the boat.

    “This vessel shows evidence of burning,” he said, noting a charred piece of cross planking that has become detached from the hull.

    Evidence of burning has caused past visitors to wonder if this could be the Jim Barkman, which was captured and burned by U.S. Col. E.D. Osband in 1865. Saltus noted the wreck is too large to be the Barkman, which only measured 93 feet in length.

    Saltus found the possible ruins of a metal boiler midship, and evidence at the stern to indicate this was a sternwheel boat. That rules out another proposed candidate, the Bastrop, which was a side-wheeler.

    “We’ve eliminated those two boats,” said Saltus. “Based on preliminary observations, I would say it fits the Big Horn.”


    Full story...



  • City of Ainsworth wreck assessed

    By Greg Nesteroff - Nelson Star


    An expedition this month to the SS City of Ainsworth found the historic Kootenay Lake shipwreck remains in generally good condition.

    “We were all very excited to see that the vessel hasn’t deteriorated as much as we might have thought,” says Bill Meekel of the Underwater Archaeological Society of BC, who led the search.

    “At least the hull and main structure of the [lower] deck and paddlewheel were all still pretty much intact. It’s still three dimensional.”

    Meekel’s party included society members Eric and Bronwen Young, plus Darren Muntak, and Brian Nadwidny.

    Working from the Kaslo Shipyards vessel Candide, they used sidescan sonar and a remotely-operated vehicle to locate and inspect the ship, which has only been seen a handful of times since it sank in 1898, taking nine lives.

    Meekel also led an expedition last fall, which inspected the Ainsworth’s debris field.

    He says their first challenge this time was finding the ship, which rests 117 metres underwater off Crawford Bay. Although they had global positioning coordinates from a 1990 survey of the wreck, they no longer apply under today’s system.

    “We didn’t really have even a starting point last year when we were looking,” he says.

    “We went back to the original data, based on some simple angles and triangulation off a couple landmarks. We used that and satellite images to come up with new lattitude and longitude for where the wreck should have been.”

    Although they had some problems with shifting winds, the sonar confirmed something was down there. But they had to wait a day for better weather before they could drop the video camera-equipped robot and verify it as the Ainsworth.

     

  • Artefacts halt site works at Bathers Beach

    By Anni Fordham - Fremantle Cockburn Gazette


    Site works at Bathers Beach have been suspended after asbestos and historically significant artefacts were found.

    A statement from the City of Fremantle said the findings were being taken seriously but would have a minor impact on the development.

    University of Notre Dame archaeologist Shane Burke is assessing the significance of the artefacts, which are believed to be domestic items from the period 1850 to 1900.

    The artefacts include items such as black glass alcohol bottles, perfume bottles, clay smoking pipes and ceramics. City of Fremantle chief executive Graeme Mackenzie said finding the artefacts was a “bonus”.

    “While these findings are considered low-level in terms of their historical significance, they are nonetheless still important and we will closely monitor any additional findings.” Council officers and architects will work with Mr Burke with a view to incorporating the archaeological finds into the project’s heritage interpretation scheme.

    Mr Burke, a senior lecturer in archaeology, told the Gazette it was common to find artefacts when work was carried out on heritage sites in Fremantle. He said each of the “hundreds” of items found would be catalogued and identified if possible.

    “We’ll cache them and give them a clean and some of the fancier objects, or some that people identify, might go on show. It would be good if that was the case.”

    It was difficult to say how historically significant the items were, but they represented “tangible links with an area of Fremantle that’s changed completely”.
     


     

  • Cannons clue to past

    The St. Augustine Lighthouse is reflected, right, in a vat of fresh water that protects a carronade that was recently raised, along with a larger cannon, from a 200-year-old shipwreck a few miles from its present location on Friday afternoon 
    Photo Daron Dean


    By Ryan Buffa - St Augustine


    Late last month, amid great fanfare, archaeologists raised two cannons from 30 feet under the ocean, just a short distance from the St. Augustine Lighthouse.

    Now those archaeologists of the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program are trying to uncover the cannons' secrets. After centuries hidden below the sea, the cannons will have their stories to themselves a little longer.

    "These were found in a jumble," said archaeological conservator for the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program Starr Cox. "It's pointing to all different directions."

    Archaeologists believe the cannons sailed on a ship sometime between the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 and sank along with a ship off the St. Augustine bar, which is located within eyesight of the St. Augustine Beach Pier.

    Everything else is a secret covered by cemented shells, ceramic pieces, a portion of a plate and a brick that remain embedded in the encrustation.

    The cannons will go through extensive treatments over the next two years to remove the encrustation, a combination of iron corrosion product and sea sediment, that will eventually expose the marking that will show the cannons' origins, said Cox.

    The next journey for the cannons begins where the story started -- with the cannons in the water. This time, however, the cannons are in fresh water in metal bath tubs covered by bed liner, the plastic tarps typically used to line ponds.

    The tubs act as temporary storage units until the electrolysis process begins, said Cox. The cannons will remain in the freshwater baths for an undetermined amount of time.

    Once removed from the fresh water baths, the cannons will be kept moist until it is time to begin chipping away at the cannons cement-like crust, said Cox. That should be in early August.

    Next, the cannons will be placed in baths with an electric current, which forces chlorides out.


    Full story...



  • Magnetometer is a hit with archaeologists and divers

    From Marine Executive


    A diverse group of people from marine archaeologists to commercial divers are using a new compact, hand-held magnetometer designed to locate iron and steel objects underwater.

    One company having great success with this instrument is Cosmos Agencia Maritima based in Peru. They provide a broad range of services to their clients including ship husbandry, cargo transportation and storage, machinery and equipment rental, supply of fuel and parts, and diving services.

    A common request they receive is for underwater inspections of hulls, propellers, and bow thrusters. While performing repair work, a diver may drop a part or tool, which quickly disappears into the silty bottom. When this happens, an underwater metal locator is required to find the missing item.

    Cosmos recently procured a JW Fishers PT-1 pipe tracking magnetometer for their search and recovery projects. Francisco Paolillo Tapia, manager of special operations, reports the PT-1 is excellent for finding anchors, chains and other objects buried in the seabed.

    “This instrument helps us find the missing part quickly. Our divers used to spend a lot of time probing the muddy bottom searching for a lost tool or anchor. Now they find it fast using the mag, which saves us time and money.”

    North Carolina’s Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) was established in the early 1970s with a varied mission that includes preserving the state’s historical and cultural resources.

    A high profile project being undertaken by NCDCR’s Underwater Archaeology Branch is the recovery of artifacts from the wreck site of Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge. One of the instruments the team is employing is the PT-1.

    A key advantage of this magnetometer is its ability to pinpoint artifacts in areas that may be strewn with many iron and steel targets. Other mags can have trouble differentiating between the multiple pieces of ferrous metal on a wreck, making it nearly impossible to pinpoint individual targets.

    This hand-held magnetometer is the ideal tool to locate all of the ferrous objects at the site including anchors and chains, cannons, cannon balls, ship’s stoves, and the iron hardware used in construction of the vessel.

    The first anchor from the Queen Anne’s Revenge was recently raised from the muddy bottom where it had by lying for the last 300 years.

     


     

  • NOAA and Navy to conduct archaeological survey

    CSS Virginia


    From NOAA


    NOAA and the U.S. Navy embarked today on a two-day research expedition to survey the condition of two sunken Civil War vessels that have rested on the seafloor of the James River in Hampton Roads, Va., for nearly 150 years.

    Using state-of-the-art sonar technology to acquire data, researchers will create three-dimensional maps of the two shipwrecks, USS Cumberland and CSS Florida, to analysis on their current conditions and better understand the technological innovations of the time.

    “The remains of the USS Cumberland and CSS Florida, preserved in the waters of Hampton Roads, remind us of the sacrifices made during the Civil War and give us a unique and rare opportunity to explore a pivotal chapter in our nation’s history,” said David Alberg, superintendent of NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary.

    “NOAA is pleased to be part of a project that increases understanding of America’s maritime heritage.”

    USS Cumberland was lost on March 8, 1862, during the Battle of Hampton Roads, where she served in the U.S. Navy’s North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

    She sank after being rammed by the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimack) and went down with more than 121 men.

    CSS Florida was a Confederate commerce raider which had been captured by the U.S. Navy in Brazil. Towed to United States as a prize despite Brazil's protests, it was lost on Nov. 19, 1864, following a collision with a U.S. Navy troop ferry.

    Both vessels are protected by federal law under the Sunken Military Craft Act of 2005, the Abandoned Shipwreck Act of 1987, and the Territorial Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which gives the U.S. government exclusive rights to its own property.

    “We are extremely excited about this project,” said Alexis Catsambis, underwater archaeologist and cultural resource manager of the U.S. Navy’s Naval History & Heritage Command (NHHC).

    “The information collected during this project will really increase our understanding of the condition of these wrecks.”

    The last survey of the USS Cumberland took place in 2007. The expedition will be the first time the CSS Florida will be surveyed by the federal government.


     

  • Yenikapi metro dig reveals fifth-century shipwreck

    Today's Zaman


    Archeological digs at Yenikapı, the site of excavations for an important transfer hub in İstanbul's metro system, the Marmaray project, have revealed yet another marvel: an intact shipwreck believed to be from the fifth century, complete with its load.

    Researchers, who have been working on the site since 2004, are in the process of uncovering the well-preserved remains of the ship. One archeologist said this is probably the first time in the world that a shipwreck had been found with its full load and timber frame completely in tact.

    “The width of the wreck is about five meters. This is one gunwale. There is probably another one which has not yet been uncovered. Some of the amphoras on top [of the cargo] are broken but those in the lower layers appear to be intact. This is the largest cargo ship yet to be uncovered.

    There is no other example in the world of a shipwreck where the timber of the ship as well as its load are in such good condition. If the wreck had been at sea, it would not have been this well preserved,” said archeologist Mehmet Ali Polat, quoted by the Radikal daily on Wednesday.

    The wreck is among some 35 sunken ships at the old Byzantine harbor which had silted over, probably in the 10th century.

     


     

  • Exhibit opens on Queen Anne’s Revenge

    Queen Anne's revenge exhibit


    By Jannette Pippin - EncToday


    A ship’s bell that was one of the first artifacts raised from the Queen Anne’s Revenge shipwreck now stands at the entrance of the most comprehensive display of artifacts from the wreck believed to be the flagship of infamous pirate Blackbeard.

    The bell, pewter plates, cannons and coin weights are among the more than 300 artifacts that are now part of the new Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge Exhibit at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort. The exhibit opens to the public on Saturday.

    The artifacts date the QAR shipwreck from 1700 to 1725 and help to tell the story of Blackbeard, his flagship and the place piracy had in North Carolina’s history.

    “They are all like bits of clues (into that time period),” said David Bennett, a museum collections intern who helped to give tours for those who got an early preview.

    The exhibit begins with a bit of history about Blackbeard, and from the start it’s clear that many mysteries still remain about the man, who was also known as Edward Teach or Edward Thatch and spent time as a licensed privateer before turning to piracy.

    A model of how the Queen Anne’s Revenge likely looked sits in one corner of the exhibit and not far from it are display boards that tell of its demise. In 1718, Blackbeard ran his ship aground in Beaufort Inlet, roughly two miles from where the museum stands today. A map shows what shoaling may have looked like in the area at that time, but it’s still not known whether it was shifting sands or other reason that led to Blackbeard’s actions.

    “We don’t know exactly why he ran aground,” Bennett explained. “It could have been accidental, that’s one possibility. A second possibility is that he intentionally grounded the ship.”

    In one section of the exhibit, small vials hold flecks of gold dust recovered from the QAR site, but absent from the inventory of artifacts has been a large find of gold.



  • Learning from underwater shipwrecks

    From Historic City News


    Sarah Miller and Amber Grafft-Weiss keep Historic City News readers up-to-date on what’s happening with the Florida Public Archaeology Network Northeast Region; located in St. Augustine and hosted by Flagler College.

    In their latest adventure, Sarah and Amber suited up for submerged resources training as part of a Heritage Awareness Diving Seminar aimed at providing dive instructors with all the information, tools, and resources needed to teach heritage awareness as a specialty course.

    Accompanying the students was Chuck Meide, a local underwater and maritime archaeologist who currently serves as director of the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program; the research arm of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum.

    The Public Archaeology Network is dedicated to the protection of cultural resources, both on land and underwater, and to involving the public in the study of their past. Our local center, located on Markland Place, serve as a clearinghouse for information, institutions for learning and training, and as headquarters for public participation in archaeology.

    Miller reported that their class time focused on sea faring culture and explained how underwater shipwrecks observed by archaeologists translate into how people lived and met their basic needs in the past.

    Participants were taught an appreciation for wrecks as non-renewable cultural resources by dive captains whose policy is “Don’t take anything from the wreck, or don’t get back on my boat.”

    The course continued along currents of preservation law, conservation, and heritage tourism themes. The day ended with a briefing of the practicum component of the course — diving on shipwrecks.

    The next day the 23 class participants visited two submerged archaeological sites; the nineteenth-century Brick Wreck and seventeenth-century Mystery Wreck located within NOAA’s Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.



  • 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...


     

  • The mystery of Hinchinbrook

    By  Jessica van Vonderen - ABC


    Finally tonight, to North Queensland, where Cyclone Yasi has uncovered a mysterious shipwreck. A group of boaties made the discovery on an isolated beach on Hinchinbrook Island. And according to experts, the wreck could be up to 150 years old. Josh Bavas reports.

    DAVID PEARSON, Boatie: And no doubt people died here so it is our history.

    JOSH BAVAS: It's a hidden paradise a lonely island; once the home to indigenous tribes and explored by British travellers. But along this stretch of beach lies an unsolved mystery.

    PHIL LOWRY, Boatie: Me and me mate were cruising off shore about 100 metres and I could see the water breaking just where the ribs and that were sticking out of the water and I could see the shape of the boat so we knew what it was straight up.

    JOSH BAVAS: It's a wreck nearly 150 years old. But nobody knows what boat it was, where it came from or what it was carrying.

    PADDY WATERSON, QLD Heritage oficer: It's possible it could come from anywhere. A lot of the ship building techniques are reasonably similar around the mid 19th century. There'll be some nuances and we can perhaps look at those. 

    JOSH BAVAS: Cyclone Yasi tore through this region churning up a tidal surge and washing away tonnes of sand. These locals wanted to see what it did to their secluded spot.

    DAVID PEARSON: This is our island. We've lived here all our lives. We've been on these beaches all our lives and we wanted to see what damage the tidal surge had done.

    JOSH BAVAS: Shortly after, they stumbled across the petrified wood and have been scratching their heads ever since.

    MEN TALKING: What do you reckon fellas ? Good find or what ?

    PHIL LOWRY: It's been preserved because it's been under the sand for so long (pause) and now with it being uncovered I wonder how much longer it will last especially if the big seas come and break it up you know.

    JOSH BAVAS: Small samples taken by the Department of Environment are being crossed referenced with shipping records in London.

    JOSH BAVAS: Someone else who might be able to shed some light on the new find is Ed Slaughter. He spends most of his time sifting through and documenting treasures like the salvaged material from the 17-79 Pandora wreck.

    ED SLAUGHTER, Assistant Curator, QLD Museum: Yeah, it's exciting, it's detective work. It's something that I'll always be interested in doing and it's important for the resource of Queensland and for the history of Queensland to determine these things.


     

  • Gardaí investigate looting of U-boat site

    UC-42 was one of 64 vessels built in its class, the first mass- produced German U-boats, which carried as many as 18 mines


    From the Irish Times


    The 49-metre, 400-ton German vessel UC-42, which sank in 1917 during a mine-laying operation, also appears to have been damaged by salvagers attempting to remove one of its propellers.

    The Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s antiquities unit was alerted by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s underwater archaeology unit. Also involved are the Customs maritime unit, the National Museum of Ireland and, now, locally-based gardaí.

    Connie Kelleher, of the underwater archaeology unit, said she had received several reports from divers about the desecration of the site through removal of crew members’ effects.

    “Included in these reports to us, from concerned divers who do not agree with the pillaging of the site, are details of human remains being evident on the wreck site,” she said.

    “To date, we have received reports of the structure being recently damaged by divers attempting to remove parts of it; of items that belonged to the crew being taken off the site; and that one of the propellers was being made ready to be recovered, as evidenced by recent work to it.”

    She added that she and other divers with her unit intended to dive on the site to assess it as soon as weather permitted.

    She has alerted the Irish Underwater Council (IUC), the main representative body of diving clubs in Ireland, seeking its assistance in raising awareness of the problem and said she had also contacted the Naval Service.

    Martin Kiely, the IUC’s national diving officer, said the council’s code of conduct forbade members from interfering with wrecks or sea life and required them to respect all dive sites. “We would take a very dim view of people taking stuff from wrecks,” he said.

    Ms Kelleher said the German embassy had indicated its “legitimate interest” in the wreck’s protection and preservation.

    “The site has a particular sensitivity due to it being a relatively recent German naval loss with crew who are known by name, many of whom are likely to have close living relatives,” she said.


    Full story...



  • Underwater Ming Dynasty tomb resurfaces as result of drought

    From Xinhuanet


    Several submerged sections of a tomb built for the ancestors of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) founder Zhu Yuanzhang recently resurfaced in east China's Jiangsu Province as the result of a severe drought that is still affecting the region.

    Located on the west bank of Jiangsu's Hongze Lake, the tomb was built by Ming Dynasty emperor Zhu Yuanzhang in AD 1386 to honor his ancestors.

    The mausoleum was flooded in 1680, when the Yellow River broke its banks, changed course and converged with the nearby Huai River.

    A drought in the 1960s caused Hongze Lake's water level to drop, revealing external portions of the tomb as well as several stone statues. However, the tomb itself remained underwater.

    Tales of a royal tomb buried under the lake traveled quickly among the lake's residents. The government considered sending archaeologists to investigate the lake, but the lake's residents voiced their opinion that it was better not to disturb the royal burial site. The tomb remained untouched.

    The issue of preserving the tomb after uncovering it was another problem for the local government at that time, according to Hu Rensheng, head of a management committee for the newly-discovered tomb.

    It was not until recently that local residents got to take their first look at the tomb, which hadn't seen the light of day in more than 300 years.

    Stone arches and other parts of the tomb emerged on Thursday as the lake's water level continued to recede because of the recent drought. Local residents also got a look at a paved path leading to the tomb.

    Although the majority of the tomb is still buried under the lake's muddy floor, the mere sight of the tomb's outer structure was enough to thrill local residents.


    Full story...


     

  • Ancient shipwrecks found in Gulf

    Sukhotai ceramic


    From The Nation


    The wreckage of two ancient sail ships, built during the Ayutthaya period 400 years ago, have been found at separate locations in the Gulf of Thailand, with a large number of celadon ceramics and other artefacts.

    One ship was found north of Koh Tao, 6 nautical miles off the Surat Thani coast in the South. The other was discovered 60 nautical miles off Chanthaburi in the East, said Erbprem Watcharangkoon, a senior Fine Arts Department official.

    Both sailing ships were bound for several countries in the region on regular routes used by cargo ships, before they sank to a depth of about 70 metres.

    They were built and used during the Ayutthaya period (1351-1767).

    Apart from the wreckage, there were about 10,000 celadon items found in both ships, mostly still intact, but some were broken or damaged because of the use of fishing nets by modern trawlers. A number of the items have been recovered for study by the department's archaeologists.

    Erbprem said the items were made in the Si Satchanalai area in the Kingdom of Sukhothai (1238-1583) in the area of modernday Sukhothai province, where a large number of historic kilns have been found.

    A training session sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) is now underway in Chanthaburi to mark the site of one of the wrecks using geographic information system (GIS) technology. There are underwater archaeologists from 11 countries undergoing the training, which will end by June.


     

  • Joint Oman-Dutch study on shipwreck planned

    From Khaleej Times


    Oman and the Netherlands are to conduct a joint study on a Dutch East India Company ship, the Amstelveen’ that wrecked off the sultanate some 250 years ago.

    The incident happened off Ras Madrakah on the Wusta coast on August 7, 1763. According to an 18th century Dutch logbook that was found in a bookshop in southern France recently, 30 surviving crew members made a gruelling journey along the Sharqiyah coast to Muscat.

    There have been more shipwrecks along the Omani coasts in history but the Amstelveen mishap stands out. Some years ago, by coincidence, a 18th century Dutch logbook was found in an antiquarian bookshop in southern France that turned out to contain the account of the shipwrecking of Amstelveen at Cape Madrakah, 700km to the south of Muscat, and the dreadful trek by the 30 surviving crew members along the Sharqiyah coast to Muscat.

    The log was published in 1766 by the only surviving officer of the ship, third mate Cornelis Eyks, but then soon forgotten. Dr Klaas Doornbos from the Netherlands analysed the mysterious shipwreck and subsequently decided to write a book on the intriguing story.

    The book, Shipwreck and Survival in Oman 1763, has been completed but not yet published. An Arabic edition of the book is in the offing.

    The story of the trek is a perfect sample of shared Omani-Dutch heritage. It lists the experiences and hardships of Dutch castaways in 18th century Oman, their encounters with Omanis in the desert, in Al Hadd, Sur and Muscat. Some of them died on their way to Muscat due to the extreme hardship.

    The book provides fascinating details on the surviving skills of the crew and things like cultural misunderstandings, the clothes people used to wear, the food offered, the arms used, housing and customs. In Muscat one of the first locals the castaways met turned out to speak perfect Dutch !

    Other issues are dealt with in the book, like the mystery behind the Amstelveen’s deviating course that led to the wrecking, and the rather un-empathetic way the Dutch East India Company dealt with the survivors.

    A memorandum of understanding was concluded recently between the two countries to pave the way for the joint study, signed for Oman by Salim bin Mohammed Al Mahrooqi, Under-secretary of the Heritage and Culture Ministry for Heritage Affairs, and for the Netherlands by Ed Kronenburg, Secretary-general of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.



  • Exposed artifacts to be recovered from the Marie Celeste

    By Owain Johnston-Barnes - Royal Gazette


    This summer, the Marine Heritage section of the Department of Conservation Services will work to rescue artifacts from the shipwreck of the blockade runner, the Marie Celeste.

    Recent storms have exposed more of the ship’s bow, revealing its contents while at the same time placing the artifacts at risk.

    Dr Philippe Max Rouja, Custodian of Historic Wrecks from the Department of Conservation Services, said he believes a large storm sometime in the last 20 years blew out the light, loose sand out of the bow and exposed the denser seabed material below, together with the artifacts buried inside.

    “With this protective layer gone little by little, the denser material gets washed away so that now, each subsequent time the sand is removed, in even a light storm event, more of this dense layer is removed, exposing and endangering these unexpected artifacts,” he said.

    The Marie Celeste, also known as the Mary Celestia a Confederate paddle steamer sank in 1864 in mysterious circumstances while being piloted by John Virgin. It has since become a popular landmark for divers, enjoyed by both locals and visitors. Dr Rouja said that since 2004 his department has carried out post-hurricane assessments at several wrecks around the Island.

    “I decided it was important to conduct these surveys after hearing reports from some of Bermuda’s most experienced divers and dive shops that hurricane Fabian had exposed a significant portion of the Marie Celeste, including remnants of broken artifacts, specifically in and near the bow,” he said.

    “The shipwreck of the Marie Celeste is an artifact in its own right. Unlike almost any other shipwreck in Bermuda, it speaks directly to our wider Atlantic maritime history.”

    In January, following a series of winter storms, divers discovered a well-preserved and still corked bottle of wine and the top of a wooden crate, leading many to believe that a portion of the ships Civil War era cargo, intended to be delivered to Wilmington, remains in part inside the bow.

    “We initially speculated that if she sank bow first, the wine bottles and case may have tumbled there from the general cargo are at the time of her sinking,” Dr Rouja said.

    “However, this area, though seemingly relatively open today, would have in 1864 consisted of a series of small bulkheads.

    “I think we can safely speculate that these items were hidden there quite on purpose, representing someone’s private stash of contraband.”

     


     

  • Race to save 17th century Swash Channel wreck

    The ribs of the ship's hull are protected by sandbags


    BBC News


    Marine archaeologists are in a race against time to preserve parts of a shipwreck they believe is the most significant found in British waters since the Tudor ship, the Mary Rose. Paul Rose, explorer, diver and presenter of Britain's Secret Seas, visited the site.

    "We've watched it fall apart in front of our eyes for five years," said Dave Parham, senior lecturer in marine archaeology at Bournemouth University. "But you can only do one thing at a time."

    The Swash Channel wreck is an early 17th Century armed merchant ship.

    It was found in 7-9m of water on a sand and shingle seabed on the edge of Hook Sands near Poole Harbour in Dorset in March 1990, when a Dutch dredger hit it.

    It was left for almost 15 years until an assessment for English Heritage in 2005 found it was a much more significant site than first thought.

    Bournemouth University's Marine Archaeology programme began visiting and recording the wreck as parts of it became exposed, in work funded by English Heritage and Poole Harbour Commissioners.

    But the archaeologists say the wreck is disappearing as sediment, which protects the ship, has been eroding so quickly that parts of the structure are exposed and decay before they can be recorded.

    Divers from Britain's Secret Seas were the first team apart from the archaeologists working underwater, to see and film this beautiful piece of history.


    Full story...



  • One eye on the harbor bottom

    By Russell Drumm - East Hampton Star


    When the Village of Sag Harbor gave Long Wharf and two surrounding acres of underwater land to Suffolk County on Nov. 20, 1947, the wreck of the brig Middletown had been lying undisturbed on the bottom for 168 years, ever since British forces fired on her from Sag Harbor’s prominent pier during the Revolution.

    When the county resolved to give Long Wharf back to the village in February of this year, the bones of ships, sections of “wharf cribs,” and yet-to-be-discovered artifacts remained undisturbed, and that’s the way it should stay, at least until money can be raised to do a proper archaeological study, in the opinion of Henry Moeller, a retired professor of oceanography, marine archaeology, and botany at Dowling College.

    Mr. Moeller was instrumental in finding the wreck of H.M.S. Colloden in Montauk’s Fort Pond Bay in the late 1970s. Cannons, cannonballs, shoes, bottles, and even a length of tarred rope were brought to the surface. The collection is held at the East Hampton Town Marine Museum on Bluff Road in Amagansett.

    In 1999 Mr. Moeller traversed Sag Harbor with a side-scan sonar, a machine able to paint a black-and-white picture of objects from rebounding sound waves. The bottom literally echoed with hints of the harbor’s rich past. Mr. Moeller said he was concerned that the county’s giveback would not be accompanied by sufficient protections of the surrounding bottomland and its submerged history.

    Long Wharf is on the National Register of Historic Places and has its protections, but Mr. Moeller said he was concerned that the bottomland and its treasures did not, making them more vulnerable in village hands.

    Sag Harbor’s resolution, which states that the village wants the wharf back “for the municipal purpose of constructing, maintaining, and/or improving roadways and highways,” was debated last week in the County Legislature’s public works committee, of which County Legislator Jay Schneiderman of Montauk is a member.

    The roadway on the wharf is now owned by the county. Route 114, a state road, passes by the wharf’s landward end.


     

  • Battle to save remains of 400-year-old wreck

    By Emily Dugan - The Independent


    A 17th-century shipwreck described as the "biggest discovery since the Mary Rose" is rotting so rapidly that it could disappear within five years.

    The remains of the ship, known simply as the Swash Channel Wreck, were preserved for centuries under the seabed in six metres of water off the Dorset coast.

    But now its ornately carved timbers, the earliest still in existence in Britain, are literally being eaten away.

    The sand that protected it has been shifted by changing currents and tides, leaving the 40m vessel's timbers exposed to bacteria and the tunnelling of aquatic shipworms.

    Tests on the timbers and artefacts trace the ship's history back to Europe in the early 1600s, where it was probably engaged in the beginnings of international trade with the Far East.

    A Bournemouth University marine archaeology team has been studying the wreck since 2006. But they are now so concerned at its deterioration that they have decided to raise and preserve part of the hull next month .

    David Payton, senior lecturer in marine archaeology at the university, said: "The damage there has increased dramatically since we first started studying it.

    It's a race – you've only got a certain amount of time before it's too late and there's no point.

    "It's been buried until now, but in the last four or five years it's become exposed.

    The longer the wreck is exposed, the more damaged it will be. If nothing were done within the next five years there'd be nothing left."


    Read more...



  • Capt. Kidd shipwreck: 'Living Museum of the Sea'

    From Indiana University news room


    Nearly three years after the discovery of the shipwreck Quedagh Merchant, abandoned by the scandalous 17th century pirate Captain William Kidd, the underwater site will be dedicated as a "Living Museum of the Sea" by Indiana University, IU researcher and archeologist Charles Beeker, and the government of the Dominican Republic.

    The dedication as an official underwater museum will take place off the shore of Catalina Island in the Dominican Republic on May 23, the 310th anniversary of Kidd's hanging in London for his 'crimes of piracy.'

    The dedication will note both underwater and above-ground interpretive plaques. The underwater plaques will help guide divers around the Kidd site as well as relics and rare corals at two other shipwreck sites.

    The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded IU $200,000 to turn the Captain Kidd shipwreck site and two nearby existing underwater preserves into no-take, no-anchor "Living Museums of the Sea," where cultural discoveries will protect precious corals and other threatened biodiversity in the surrounding reef systems, under the supervision and support of the Dominican Republic's Oficina Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural Subacuático (ONPCS). USAID has since extended its support by a year, increasing the funding award to $300,000.

    The Underwater Science team from the IU School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER), led by Beeker, has been working to preserve, analyze and document the Kidd shipwreck since its surprising discovery, which made headlines around the world.

    This unique museum, resting in less than 10 feet of water just 70 feet from shore, will give divers the opportunity to see the 17th century ship remains, including several anchors, along with dozens of cannons, which rest on the ocean's floor and serve as home to coral and sea creatures.

    Above water, several more traditional museums will benefit from artifacts that are on loan to IU by the Dominican Republic government for the purpose of study and research.

    "As this ongoing multidisciplinary research continues," Beeker said, "interest in the project has grown and new partnerships are developing, including the Peace Corps assigning their volunteers to the project, and the Consorcio Dominicano de Competitividad Turistica promoting the project as a sustainable tourism destination."

     


     

  • Plants found in ancient pills offer medicinal insight

    Researchers have studied ancient texts with descriptions of the plants contained inside the pills


    By Jane O'Brien - BBC News


    Alain Touwaide looks at some of the ancient texts he has used in his research.

    DNA extracted from 2,000-year-old plants recovered from an Italian shipwreck could offer scientists the key to new medicines.

    Carrots, parsley and wild onions were among the samples preserved in clay pills on board the merchant trading vessel that sank around 120 BC. It's believed the plants were used by doctors to treat intestinal disorders among the ship's crew.

    Such remedies are described in ancient Greek texts, but this is the first time the medicines themselves have been discovered.

    "Medicinal plants have been identified before, but not a compound medicine, so this is really something new," says Alain Touwaide, director of the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions, which has the world's largest digital database of medical manuscripts.

    Prof Touwaide is working with scientists at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum, who carried out the DNA analysis. They discovered traces of carrot, parsley, alfalfa, celery, wild onion, radish, yarrow and hibiscus contained in the ancient pills.

    The pills, which researchers believe were diluted with vinegar or water to make them easier to ingest, were preserved inside tin boxes and were the size of coins.

    "I was always wondering if the texts were only theoretical notions without practical application," he says. "Now we know they were applied."

    In May, Prof Touwaide's conclusions, based on the DNA findings and his own study of medicinal texts, will be formally presented to an international gathering of archaeologists, historians of medicines and other experts in Rome.

    "What is remarkable is that we have written evidence [from the ancient Greeks] of what plants were used for which disorders," says Alisa Machalek, a science writer for the National Institutes of Health, one of the world's leading research centres.


    Read more...


     

  • More relics salvaged from ancient shipwreck

    Porcelain plate salvaged from Nan'ao No. 1 shipwreck


    From China


    An archaeological salvage team has restarted to retreat cultural relics from the wreckage of an ancient merchant ship that sank near the coast of today's Guangdong Province some hundreds of years ago.

    The team plans to complete the salvage of all the relics from "Nan'ao No. 1" in 75 days. The retrieval of the shipwreck is not included in this year's task, officials in charge of the salvage said.

    A large number of porcelain dishwares with exquisite graphic paintings have been found in previous archaeological surveys conducted in the shipwreck. Thousands of them were retrieved from the wreck last year.

    The "Nan'ao No. 1" was believed to be en route to Southeast Asia from Zhangzhou City in the southeastern Fujian Province before it sank in today's Sandianjin waters off Nan'ao County of Shantou City during the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).


    See more...



  • 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.



  • Mystery shipwreck unearthed in north Queensland

    The Hinchinbrook shipwreck


    By Tony Moore - Brisbane Times

     


    The discovery of a 19th-century shipwreck in north Queensland has highlighted the ever-present threat of tropical cyclones in the region.

    The remnants of a 30-metre longboat have been unearthed at a beach on Hinchinbrook Island after Cyclone Yasi battered the state in February.

    It is believed the wrecked vessel has been buried deep below the sand for more than 130 years.

    Ironically, it was another cyclone which likely led to the wreckage being there in the first place.

    Queensland government shipwreck expert Paddy Waterson said Cyclone Yasi had removed about 30 metres of sand from Ramsay Bay on Hinchinbrook Island exposing the top "two or three inches" of the old ship.

    The wreck was discovered in late February by Ingham fisherman Phil Lowry.

    Shipwreck experts in London and Melbourne have been contacted for advice on timber samples in a bid to narrow down which vessel has been discovered.

    Three ships were wrecked in Ramsay Bay while trying to recover a load of cedar washed ashore from a ship called The Merchant, which was destroyed during a cyclone in March, 1878.

    The logs were bought at a salvage auction by Townsville firm, Campbell and Thomas, who employed the three ships to bring in the cargo.

    Unfortunately all three were lost in poor weather: the Harriet Armytage in 1879, the Charlotte Andrews in 1879 and the Belle in 1880.

    "The Merchant broke up quite heavily," Mr Waterson said. "It struck a reef out from Hinchinbrook Island. It was carrying a load of cedar which was what a lot of the non-indigenous people in the area were after."

    Locals suspect the wreck might be the smaller of the three ships, the brigantine, Belle.

    "The brigantine is a little bit smaller, so they tend to be able to work in these sorts of waters a little bit easier," Mr Waterson said.


    Read more...


     

  • Heritage designation sought for Royston breakwater wrecks

    By T.W. Paterson - The Canada


    This graveyard of ships has been described as "world-class."

    According to the press there's a movement afoot to attain "heritage wreck" status for 14 ships scuttled at the old Royston breakwater by the Comox Logging & Railway Co. and its successor, Crown Zellerbach, from the mid-1930s through the early '60s.

    Based upon a review just concluded by the Underwater Archaeological Society of B.C. and the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, these hulks cover an area just 500 metres long by 100 metres wide.

    The all-but-submerged wrecks include three Cape Horn windjammers, a barkentine, an auxiliary schooner, three frigates, two destroyers, a US Navy deep-sea rescue tug, two steam tugs and a Norwegian-built whaler.

    The site has already been recognized as the Royston Heritage Wrecks by the provincial government. What is now proposed is that each ship be given its own heritage status with an archaeological catalogue number. "This is almost a world-class heritage site, the way we see it," said a UASBC member. "I mean, it's just incredible."

    What a shame that any form of heritage designation is so long after the fact, after seven decades of storms and extensions of the rock-fill breakwater have broken up, ground down and buried most of these seagoing ladies.

    The day when you could literally step from ship to ship has long gone. Happily for me, when it was still possible to board most of these wrecks, I spent many an enchanted hour climbing in and out of them with my notebook, camera and toolkit (the latter for salvaging what few -- very few -- bits 'n' bites that had escaped countless previous visitors.

    All this was done, I point out, with the consent of Crown Zellerbach which had commissioned me in the '70s to write a history of the breakwater for their company newsletter.



     

  • Texas State researcher helps find pirate cannons

     By Roy Bragg - My San Antonio


    Six deteriorating pirate cannons, discovered by a team that included a Texas State University researcher, will help Panamanian antiquities experts tell the history of that nation.

    The cannons, found in September in the muck at the mouth of the Chagres River, are thought to be from the deck of ships led by legendary pirate-for-hire Capt. Henry Morgan, who was en route to raid Panama Viejo — now called Panama City — in 1671.

    Instead, says Frederick Hanselmann, Morgan's flagship ran into a reef. Then, like a nautical rumba line gone bad, three of his other ships either ran into the same reef or into each other trying to avoid it. All of them sank, depositing the cannons and everything else on the ocean floor.

    Undaunted, Morgan took his remaining ships to the city and sacked it.

    The discovery of the 340-year-old weapons, which are now in Panama's possession and being preserved, is an important find, says Hanselmann, the school's chief underwater archaeologist.

    “It was an important event in the development of the country,” he said. “It's a major find for the country. It's a major find for the people.”

    William B. Lees, president of the Society for Historical Archaeology, agreed: “It's part of a bigger story,” he said. “It's part of a nation's view of itself.”

    The ultimate goal of archaeology, Lees said, isn't to find interesting stuff, but rather to find tangible proof of historical events.

     


     

  • Caribbean Meeting on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage

    By Kelly Dunst - Vadvert


    The Caribbean Meeting on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage takes place on 10 and 11 June 2011 in Kingston.

    During the Meeting participants will present and discuss the importance and pertinence of the 2001 Convention with the help of legal and archaeological experts.

    The Meeting is essential to promote ratification and create awareness of the existence of this heritage and of the urgent need to create legal frameworks for its protection.

    This Meeting is jointly organized by the UNESCO Offices in Havana and Kingston, the Jamaican National Commission and with the support of the Secretariat of the 2001 Convention.

    In spite of its vast underwater cultural heritage due to its maritime history, the majority of Latin American and Caribbean countries lack experts and national systems for its safeguarding.

    Thanks to the diving industry and technical developments in devices for detection and exploration of the seabed, this heritage, that was for centuries protected by its own environment, is now easily accessible to sport divers, fishermen and treasure hunting companies.


    Read more...



  • Mysterious shipwreck unearthed at bottom Gulf

    The stamp on a large cannon recovered from the shipwreck shows it was made in 1797 by the Clyde Ironworks in Scotland. 
    Photo Texas A&M University


    By John Pope - Nola


    Nearly 200 years ago, a ship sank in the Gulf of Mexico, about 35 miles off Louisiana's coast. It stayed, undiscovered, on the seabed, about 4,000 feet below the surface, until 2002, when a crew happened upon the wreckage while checking out a pipeline.

    An expedition led by Texas A&M University found no skeletal remains and nothing to indicate the vessel's name, where it came from or how it sank.

    But underwater sleuths discovered plenty of artifacts, including a telescope, pottery, French bottles, swords, English mustard jars, hourglasses, a cast-iron stove and a Scottish cannon, Louisiana State Museum spokesman Arthur Smith said.

    About 500 of those pieces are to be transferred today to the Louisiana State Museum and the state Division of Archaeology.

    Archaeologists will study the pieces, Smith said, and eventually the museum will display them.

    In addition to receiving the artifacts, the state will assume the responsibility of solving this mystery of the deep.

    "It's a tantalizing mystery," Smith said. "Who knows who was on that ship and what they were up to ?"


    Read more...



  • Two arrested over wreck thefts

    HMS London


    From DiverNet


    Two men have been arrested over the suspected theft of artefacts from sites in the Thames Estuary, including the protected wreck of HMS London, a 17th century warship.

    The arrests yesterday followed raids in East Kent on two homes, one business address and a dive boat at Gravesend.

    The raids were carried out by police officers from Kent and Essex, archaeologists from English Heritage and officials from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, including the Receiver of Wreck.

    At one address they found what is believed to be a 16th century Dutch cannon from the London, worth an estimated £40,000.

    In clean condition it sat partially immersed in a tarpaulin-covered trough of water in a back garden.

    Other artefacts found at the same address included deck fittings, lead, china, glass and portholes.

    The arrested men are being interviewed at a Kent police station. Police are examining materials including business records and computer images.

    The arrests follow the February launch of the Alliance to Reduce Crimes Against Heritage (ARCH), intended to harden up enforcement of heritage law.

    Under ARCH, various authorities are working in a more symbiotic way to improve investigative efficiency.

    Speaking at one of the raid locations Alison Kentuck, Receiver of Wreck, told the BBC that the aim was to use “the same information to the best of its ability, to share resources to achieve an end result”.


    Read more...



  • Archaeologists analyze skeleton of Franklin expedition

    This satellite shot shows part of the Northwest Passage. Franklin died trying to navigate this arctic waterway, along with every member of his crew.


    From Unreported Heritage News


    On May 19, 1845 Sir John Franklin, an experienced arctic explorer, set out on what would be his last voyage of discovery.

    Leaving from Greenhithe, England, he commanded two ships, the Erebus and the Terror. His mission was to pass through and chart the Northwest Passage, the waterway which runs through arctic Canada, connecting the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific.

    The unforgiving environment of the passage, strewn with ice packs and small islands, would doom his expedition, killing Franklin and every single member of his crew.

    A message found in a cairn near Victory Point on King William Island says that his ships were frozen in ice for nearly a year and a half.

    Trapped in the arctic the crew began to die with Franklin himself passing away on June 11, 1847. At that point Captain Francis Crozier took over the expedition. He decided to try to save his remaining men by marching south across the ice and arctic tundra.

    “Crozier must have been very desperate indeed to have made this decision,” writes William James Mills in his book Exploring Polar Frontiers.

    Needless to say the plan failed with none of the crew surviving. Rescue expeditions and scientific surveys would find human remains on or near King William Island.

    In the past, analysis of these remains has suggested that the crew members suffered from lead poisoning, a potentially deadly condition that may have caused them to engage in irrational behaviour. The crew could have gotten it through the tin cans that their food were stored in, they might also have gotten it from the water system on board.

    It has also been suggested that the crew suffered from scurvy and tuberculosis, conditions that may have doomed many crew members who had been stuck in the ice for nearly 18 months. Cut marks on some of the bodies indicate that the men may have resorted to cannibalism.


    Read more...


     

  • Students help preserve history of Modern Greece warship

    Laurel Seaborn, from the East Carolina University Program for Maritime Studies 
    Photo Mike Spencer


    By Amy Hotz - Star News Online


    For a ship that’s been sunk 150 years, the Modern Greece has impeccable timing.

    On the morning of June 27, 1862, the 210-foot blockade runner slipped through a ring of Federal warships to enter the Cape Fear River.

    Its hold was filled with goods from England for the industry-void Confederacy.

    Before the Modern Greece could pass under the protection of Fort Fisher, which guarded the route to Wilmington, the USS Cambridge caught a glimpse of it and opened fire. Soon, the USS Stars And Stripes joined in.

    The Modern Greece’s captain made a difficult decision. To prevent the goods from falling in to the hands of the North, he drove the ship aground. And the guns of Fort Fisher were able to finish it off, making sure nothing was left behind for the enemies.

    Or so everyone thought for almost exactly 100 years.

    Right around the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking, and while the nation was in the midst of commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Civil War, divers discovered that the Modern Greece had not, in fact, been completely destroyed.

    It was still filled with its original cargo.

    Thousands of artifacts were recovered by Navy divers and the N.C. Department of Archives and History. Much of their preservation techniques were the first of their kind and amounted to the beginning of underwater archaeology, not just in North Carolina, but in the United States, said deputy state archaeologist Mark Wilde-Ramsing.

    Over the next four years, Civil War sites and museums across the nation will honor the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with elaborate commemorations. And here, the state will also honor the 150th anniversary of the sinking of the Modern Greece and the 50th anniversary of the beginning of underwater archaeology.

     

    Read more...



  • Local heritage shipwreck gets fresh marker

    From BC Local News


    A century to the day after running aground and sinking just north of Thetis Island, one of B.C.’s most significant shipwrecks received a ‘re-plaquing’ March 4.

    In 1911, the Robert Kerr, a 190-ft. barque first launched in 1866 by the Hudson’s Bay Co., was running coal for the Canadian Pacific Railway, which had converted the sailing vessel to a barge in 1888.

    Heavily laden and running behind a towboat on March 4, 1911, the ship struck a reef and was abandoned once much of the coal was removed.

    Last Friday’s underwater installation — replacing a plaque originally placed in the early 1980s, — will be conducted by the Underwater Archaeological Society of B.C.

    Among the handful of divers taking part is David Hill-Turner, Nanaimo Museum curator and president of the UASBC, who said the Robert Kerr would have been a familiar sight in Departure Bay during its coal-hauling days, taking payloads from the Wellington mine and later bearing coal from the Extension mine out of Ladysmith Harbour.

    “There was a fleet of these things travelling to and from Vancouver,” said Hill-Turner, adding that of the hundreds of wrecks in the waters around Vancouver Island, the Robert Kerr is one of just seven recognized under B.C.’s Heritage Conservation Act.

    It is also one of the most spectacular and most intact, said Peter Luckham, a Thetis Island-based dive master and guide who regularly visits the site.



  • Students discover shipwreck treasures in the tanks

    Artifacts from the shipwreck of Modern Greece, a Civil War era blockade runner that sank in June 1862


    From N.C. Department of Cultural Resources


    While their peers may be wiling away spring break on the sunny beaches of Key West or the Bahamas, 11 graduate students from East Carolina University (ECU) and two interns from UNC-Wilmington, are looking for treasure in murky tanks of crusty old objects.

    They are examining artifacts from the shipwreck of Modern Greece, a Civil War era blockade runner that sank in June 1862.

    Under the direction of Susanne Grieve, director of conservation for ECU’s Maritime History program; and Nathan Henry, assistant state archaeologist, Underwater Archaeology Branch, N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the students will examine some of the 11,500 artifacts that were recovered from the wreck which was discovered lying just 300 yards off Fort Fisher in 25 feet of water in 1962.

    Some of the artifacts were conserved and now are exhibited at the N.C. Maritime Museums in Beaufort and Southport, the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh and other museums in and out of state. Thousands more remain to be researched.

    The students will determine the type and condition of artifacts, and will record, catalog, photograph, and evaluate future conservation needs. From water filled tanks the students have retrieved cases of Enfield rifle muskets, antler handled knives, hand cuffs, hoes, picks, and other 1860s farm and household goods.


    Read more...



  • Cannons recovered from the lost ships of Captain Morgan

    From Past Horizons


    In the shallow waters surrounding Lajas reef at the mouth of the Chagres river in Panama, a team of archaeologists has recovered cannons from the site where infamous privateer Captain Henry Morgan’s ships were wrecked in 1671 while carrying Morgan and his men to raid Panama City.

    Six iron cannons recovered from the reef are now undergoing study and preservation treatment by Panamanian researchers in cooperation with a team that has been studying the Chagres river with the permission of Panama’s Instituto Nacional de Cultura (INAC).

    Since 2008, an underwater archaeology team led by James Delgado, Frederick Hanselmann, and Dominique Rissolo has surveyed, mapped, and documented submerged sites, shipwrecks, and the 500-years of maritime history that rests along the banks of the Rio Chagres.

    In a press conference in Panama City on February 24, 2011, the team announced the recovery of the cannons from a shallow reef damaged by treasure hunters, whose blasting and dredging had exposed the fragile iron cannons to possible damage and loss. This led to the decision to recover the cannons.

    The cannons were measured and photographed in 2008 and studied by Dr. Ruth Brown, formerly with the Royal Armouries in the UK, an internationally renowned early cannon expert.

    The size and shape of the cannons appear to be a close match with the characteristics of small iron cannon of the seventeenth century; a more definitive identification of the cannons will take place after they are treated and years of encrustation and corrosion are removed in the laboratory.

     


     

  • Wrecks, war graves and treasure ships

    By Diane Maclean - Caledonian Mercury


    At over 10,000 miles, Scotland has one of the longest coastlines in Europe.

    This, coupled with the fierce gales that can spring up out of nowhere, has resulted in thousands of wrecks lying on our seabed. Little wonder, then, that we attract serious divers from around the world.

    Some wrecks – ranging from early 16th century galleons to battleships from the first and second world wars – are, depending on their provenance, protected.

    Currently, Historic Scotland oversees 15 shipwrecks under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act. For these, a licence is required if you want to dive – and you “must take only photographs, leave only bubbles”.

    Other wrecks are designated war graves and fall under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.

    Scotland has a huge range of dives – and, tantalisingly, also boasts the possible presence of two magnificent treasure ships. But more than the sand-strewn artefacts, these ships tell a story, and all too often a story that involves loss of life.

    Scapa Flow
    There are seven wrecks in Scapa Flow, Orkney. This stretch of water, with its shallow sandy bottom, is one of the best natural harbours in the world, and was used by the British Navy as its main base during both world wars. At the end of the first of these conflicts, the German fleet was taken here until a decision could be made about its future.

    In June 1919, rather than let it fall into British hands, Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter, the German officer in command at Scapa Flow, gave the order to scuttle the fleet. Although more than 50 ships sank, most were salvaged, leaving only a handful submerged.

    This is a popular site to dive and permits can be obtained from the Orkney Islands harbour authorities.

    HMS Royal Oak
    The Royal Oak, a Royal Navy battleship, first saw action during the Battle of Jutland in 1916. On 14 October 1939, while anchored at Scapa Flow, she was torpedoed by the German submarine U-47. Over 800 of the crew of 1,234 were killed, either immediately or as a result of their injuries.

    The loss of HMS Royal Oak was a huge blow to morale for a country that had assumed it “ruled the waves”. The ship remains in Scapa Flow, lying upside-down in 100 feet of water. Each year, there is a ceremony to remember the dead. As it is a war grave, access is limited to divers of the British armed forces who have been given specific permission to visit.

    17th century merchant vessels
    There are a number of protected merchant vessels wrecked around our coast, including the Kennemerland, which ship belonged to the Dutch East India Company and was lost on Out Skerries, Shetland, in 1664 as it sailed to the East Indies. Its cargo included treasure, mercury, golf clubs, jewels and tobacco.

    Also off Out Skerries lies the Wrangels Palais, originally a Swedish ship, captured by the Danish in 1677. It ran aground in fog 11 years later en route to Iceland, trying to outrun Turkish privateers.

     


     

  • Dr Silvano Jung, maritime archaeologist

    Dr Silvano Jung, Darwin based maritime archaeologist


    By Kate O'Toole and Miranda Tetlow - ABC News


    Silvano has been studying the wrecks since the early 90s, completing a Masters and a PhD on the subject.

    He thinks these World War Two wrecks are just as important as the ancient rock art shelters we also boast in the Territory...

    It's a lesson in underwater archaeology on The Guestroom, as we take you diving, surveying and into the intricacies of heritage listing in Northern Territory waters.


    Full story...


     

  • Underwater archaeology team helps preserve N.C. maritime history

    Chris Southerly, Julep Gillman-Bryan, Mark Wilde-Ramsing, Madeline Spencer and Nathan Henry make up the team at the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the N.C. Division of Archives and History based at Fort Fisher
    Photo Paul Stephen 


    By Amy Hotz - Star News Online


    On Good Friday of 1962, just as the nation’s collective thoughts reflected on the Civil War after 100 years of hindsight, a storm approached the Cape Fear.

    Sand shifted, as it always does along the Graveyard of the Atlantic. But this time grains scattered to reveal the wreck of a blockade runner, the Modern Greece.

    The steam-powered ship had run aground near Fort Fisher on June 27, 1862, while trying to deliver supplies to the Confederacy. This was the first time any human being had seen it in decades. And it was nearly full of cargo.

    Navy divers, representatives from the state of North Carolina and several U.S. government departments began a major salvage operation.

    To house the objects, the Fort Fisher Preservation Laboratory, a makeshift facility, was somewhat hastily set up. By today’s standards, it was primitive, but the whole field of underwater archaeology was primitive at that time. Still, more than 20,000 individual artifacts were recovered from the wreck, including bowie knives, rifles, andirons and straight pins.

    Much of the Modern Greece’s cargo today is scattered among museums across the Southeastern United States, including the museum at the Fort Fisher State Historic Site.

    But some artifacts will never be seen again. They were simply rinsed off and, unintentionally, left for corrosion to set in.


    Read more...



  • Historic underwater gear now a museum piece

     


    By Peter Collins - The Standard


    When Peter Ronald first started diving down to wrecks off the rugged south-west coast he used oxygen cylinders from World War II aircraft connected with stainless-steel pipes and held together with ex-army webbing.

    One of the diving regulators was made of silver solder brass.

    It's primitive compared with the hi-tech gear on today's market, but it did the trick for the former Terang teenager and his mates Andrew and Tim Goodall and Gary Hayden as they dabbled in archaeology in the early 1970s.

    They dived over the Falls of Halladale, Newfield and Schomberg and later the Loch Ard, all famous disasters along the Shipwreck Coast, and helped recover cargo and anchors from the wrecks.

    Today the diving gear is part of the local history collection at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, where Mr Ronald once worked and was director.

    He donated the equipment along with other maritime memorabilia last month.

    "I was pleased Flagstaff Hill accepted it," he said.

    "As teens we were very keen on spear fishing and snorkelling and our parents would drive us down to the Peterborough coast over the Falls of Halladale area.

    "As soon as we could afford it we got some scuba gear and dived down to her. We were at the cutting edge of amateur archaeology. 

    "The Loch Ard was 23 metres down. Most of the others were about 10 metres.

    "We got interested in heavy haulage and used disposable fuel tanks from aircraft which we would sink, then refloat by filling them with air.

    "The anchor on top of Flagstaff Hill weighs over two tonnes and was salvaged with Stan McPhee and John Laidlaw using 20 44-gallon drums.


    Read more...

     


     

  • A life spent underwater

    A silver spoon recovered from the wreck of the Loch ArdPhoto Robin Maguire


    By Jeremy Lee - ABC South West Victoria


    Peter Ronald loves diving. His face lights up when he talks about the sensation of flying and the joy of discovery and exploration in the underwater world, and the results of his exploring have been on display in Warrnambool for many years now.

    Born in Terang, Peter came from a great swimming family - his dad taught him (and most of Terang) to swim which led to snorkling and spearfishing, along with a great familiarity with the local coastline and its history, including the many shipwrecks here in the south west.

    By the 1970s he was exploring those shipwreks in detail and beginning the process of recovering artefacts.

    Peter says his feeling was always that the artefacts belonged to 'public hands and public display' - and as the concept of Flagstaff Hill emerged in the mid 70's, he thought it would be the perfect home for these objects.

    The lack of legal protection for shipwrecks in the 1970s made the recovery dives all the more important as much of what was there was being taken, looted, and sold as scrap to be melted down. Many artefacts were lost as a result.

    Flagstaff Hill and one of Peter's greatest finds - the Schomberg diamond - played a crucial part in getting the legislation changed to protect shipwrecks.

    The diamond was shown to Sir Rupert Hamer who was visiting Flagstaff Hill. When Sir Rupert asked why it wasn't on display, he was told that if people knew where it had come from the potential for looting would dramatically increase. As Peter puts it, Sir Rupert 'got it', and the legislation to protect the shipwrecks followed fairly swiftly.

    Since then, the salvaging of items has been much more tightly controlled with many factors coming into play including the state and rarity of the item and the real value of bringing it to the surface.

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  • Pilar Luna, Pioneer of Mexican Underwater Archeology

    Divers exploring submerged cultural heritage 
    Photo Subdirección de Arqueología Subacuatica


    From Art Daily


    As an acknowledgement to her 30-year trajectory, devoted to research and preservation of the submerged cultural heritage, archaeologist Pilar Luna Erreguerena, pioneer of Underwater Archaeology in Mexico, was awarded with the J.C. Harrington Award by the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA), becoming the first Latin American researcher -and the 4th woman- to receive this prize.

    The award given every year by the American society that gathers the greatest number of academics in the subject recognizes as well the labor conducted in Mexico regarding research and safeguarding of cultural and historical goods that lay in the depths, headed since 1980 by the expert from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

    The award named after the father of American historical archaeology, J.C. Harrington, is the most important honor conceded to those who had contributed to research and preservation of the world cultural heritage.

    This is the second time that the award is presented to a researcher of the Underwater Archeology field; the first was given in 1999 to George F. Bass, Ph.D., considered the “father of underwater archaeology in the world”.

    “When I was informed in 2010 that the Society for Historical Archaeology had decided to give me the J.C. Harrington Award, I did not know what it was about and I needed a few minutes to understand the importance of this acknowledgement”, recalled the head of the INAH Sub Direction of Underwater Archaeology (INAH-SAS).

    “I consider myself a privileged being, I am convinced that there are more persons that deserve acknowledgment for their achievements and do not receive it. To be given it in life, in company of my dear ones, is truly a gift from God”, she commented.


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  • Cache from shipwreck docking at N.C. museum of history

    A quillon block that was part of a small hunting swordPhoto N.C. Department of Cultural Resources


    From WNCT


    A case exhibit of small artifacts from the wreck of what is believed to be Queen Anne’s Revenge (QAR), Blackbeard’s flagship, will be on display at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh from Jan. 7 through Jan. 30. The artifacts are fresh catch from the fall expedition at the shipwreck site near Beaufort.

    The QAR ran aground in Beaufort Inlet in 1718, and the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources has led research at the site since 1997. The exhibit originated at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort, the official repository for the shipwreck artifacts, within the Division of State History Museums.

    Among artifacts displayed is a part of a handblown blue-green window pane believed to have been in the captain’s quarters. A brass buckle that may have fastened a belt or a bandolier full of weapons will be exhibited. Brass scale weights for weighing reale silver coins will be on view; the reale weights were necessary because the smooth-edged coins could be filed or chiseled down (giving rise to the term “chiseler”), thus devaluing the coins.

    A brass quillon block with gold gilding and a blade fragment from a small hunting sword will also be exhibited.

    The ornate scroll work and fancy handle design were unusual for pirate gear, so the sword may have been acquired on some adventure. It was recovered in 2007 and has been conserved and readied for display.


    Read more...



  • Madagascar - Island of lost treasures

    Off MadagascarPhoto Maurits


    From RFI English


    No-one knows how many ships lie on the seabed off the coast of Madagascar.

    Archeologists, and treasure hunters, have searched the ocean floor around the country for many years, discovering a number of wrecks.

    But until now, no-one has found the Degrave, a mythical ship that sank off the southern coast in 1703.

    Reporter Tim Healy goes to Madagascar to find out more.


     

    Listen to Crossroads (20:00)


    shipwreck of the Degrave
     





  • Russian and Jordan dive to find Sodom and Gomorrah

    Dead Sea


    By Stephen - Arch News


    Russia and Jordan have signed an agreement to search the bottom of the Dead Sea for the remains of the Biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Arabic news media reported over the weekend.

    According to the report, a Russian company has agreed to conduct the search in cooperation with Jordanian authorities, picking up all costs – in exchange for exclusive rights to film a documentary of the search.

    The report quoted one of the Jordanian heads of the project, Zia Madani, as saying that the search would begin in late December.

    The Russian company that was chosen as a partner for the search has special underwater exploration equipment that can stand up to the extreme salinity of the Dead Sea, the reports said.

    Biblical archaeologists have several theories as to where the Sodom and its associated cities were located. According to the Torah, God overturned Sodom, Gomorrah, and three other cities because of their degeneration, sin and iniquity, turning a once fertile plain into a stark wasteland. Abraham, who prayed for the cities, was unable to prevent God from mandating their destruction.

    Archaeologists and geologists have suggested that a major earthquake or meteor storm might have been the means by which it occurred. Research has centered on the area around the Dead Sea, and the modern city of Sodom, and nearby Mount Sodom, which is made almost completely of rock salt, is considered the most likely site of the ancient cities.

    However, some archaeological evidence has emerged that indicates that the site could be on the east bank of the Dead Sea, with two sites in Jordan - Bab edh-Dhra, and Numeira, both considered viable candidates.

    The Jordanian-Russian search will center on Bab edh-Dhra, which also has several Christian monuments.

    According to Madani, further evidence that the cities remains are located on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea came after recent NASA photographs of the area indicated that the bottom of the sea is littered with debris and objects not found in other bodies of water.

    According to the Jordanian, Israel recently sent a submarine down into the Dead Sea in an attempt to explore the bottom of the sea, but discovered that the objects in the NASA photos were on the Jordanian side of the sea.

    Jordan prevented the Israelis from searching over the border, and now Jordan is seeking to discover what it believes are the remains of the cities by itself.

     


     

  • Sussex hospital helps in probe of shipwreck mystery

    radiology staff at Beebe Medical Center X-rayed multiple artifacts pulled from the waters of the Roosevelt Inlet near Lewes


    From WBOC


    Delaware archaeologists turned to a Sussex County hospital this week hoping to find some clues surrounding a marine mystery.

    On Wednesday, radiology staff at Beebe Medical Center X-rayed multiple artifacts pulled from the waters of the Roosevelt Inlet near Lewes.

    The pieces belong to an unidentified shipwreck about 15 feet below the surface but are too difficult to identify by plain eye. The hope was an X-ray could provide an inside look at artifacts that may help identify the sunken vessel.

    "We're using techniques we've never really used before," radiology technician Josh Wyatt said. "It was through trial and error that we got the images we got."

    The vessel was first discovered by accident during a beach replenishment project in 2004, archaeologist Faye Stocum said. Thousands of artifacts from the shipwreck were pulled from the water during a dive operation about two years later or washed ashore, Stocum said. Initial guesses from experts suggest the ship went down no earlier than 1772 and possibly as late as 1780.

    Stocum arrived at Beebe with a green shoe box full of items, including a cylinder-shaped object believed to be an old piece of medical equipment, possibly a syringe. The problem, the outer shell was so dense even the equipment had trouble penetrating the covering.

    Images of another item, believed to be a piece of wax, showed small metal objects inside similar to safety pins. Stocum quickly noted that the safety pin had not yet been invented at the time of the perceived sinking.


    Read more...



  • NOAA and Spain: Arrangement to preserve maritime underwater heritage

    Ángeles González-Sinde, Minister of Culture (Ministra de Cultura) and James Turner, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for International Affairs and Director of NOAA


    From NOAA News


    NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and Spain’s Ministry of Culture announced today the signing of a memorandum of understanding outlining a framework to jointly identify, protect, manage and preserve underwater cultural resources of mutual interest within their respective areas of responsibility.

    The arrangement calls for the exchange of information on actual or potential identification and location of underwater cultural resources, research and archeological examination of the resources, provision of information concerning potential or actual unauthorized disturbances of underwater cultural resources, cooperation with non-governmental organizations engaged in historical or archeological programs compatible with the objectives of the arrangement, and preparation and dissemination of educational and outreach materials.

    “Today marks the beginning of a more formal and active interaction between NOAA and Spain as we learn from each other’s archives and share that information for a better understanding and appreciation of Spain’s important maritime cultural legacy in America,” said Daniel J. Basta, director of NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program.

    “The heritage spawned by Spain’s interactions with the sea and the exploration and settlement of our coasts by Spanish mariners dates back 500 years,” said James P. Delgado, Ph.D., NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Maritime Heritage Program director.

    “This arrangement will give us access to the incredible records in the archives and libraries of Spain.”

    An example of the type of work that will benefit from the new arrangement is the discovery of a wreck that may be the Spanish ship San Agustin, which was lost in November 1595 in the California waters of the Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and Point Reyes National Seashore.


    Read more...



  • Kozak boat discovered in Dnipro River

    By Tetyana Boychenko and Roman Feshchenko - Kyiv Post


    Archaeologists retrieved a rare treasure in November from the bottom of Ukraine’s Dnipro River near the city of Zaporizhya.

    After raging wars some 300 years ago, a Kozak (Cossack) boat rested, waiting to be discovered under water off Ukraine’s largest island and historical stronghold Khortytsya.

    Historians regale in the new finding, claiming it to be the only well-preserved artifact of 18th century Ukrainian shipbuilding. Sediment apparently helped preserve much of the boat’s structure, making it much more than a retrieved pile of wood.

    The story of Ukraine’s first freedom fighters, which can be traced behind the water-soaked beams and masts, is what makes this find truly special.

    The boat is like a time capsule representing an important part of Ukraine’s history. Historians think the boat participated in the 1735-1739 Russian war against the Turks and most likely was part of the Dnipro Flotilla.

    It was discovered at Zaporizka Sich, a fort compound established by Ukrainian Kozak warriors in the 16th century on the Dnipro islands.

    It was a place where enslaved peasants could find shelter and join the free-spirited warriors. Fighting Turks, Poles and Russians in different times, this group of Ukrainian diehards eventually grew into a strong republic – a prototype of the independent Ukrainian state.

    The reason for unleashing the war in which the boat allegedly took part were numerous attacks by Crimean Tatars, the Ottoman Empire vassals, against left-bank Ukraine, which was then controlled by the Russian Empire.

    The war was also a part of Russia’s campaign to gain access to the Black Sea.

    Cossack vessels were the main force to resist Turkish galleys in the Black Sea.

    With a capacity to carry up to 40 people on board, it is 17 meters long and 3.4 meters wide.

     


     

  • Ancient Cossack vessel raised from bottom of Dnipro

    From KyivPost


    Marine archeologists of the Khortytsia National Reserve in Zaporizhia have raised an ancient Cossack warship, a Cossack oak vessel, which had been lying beneath the waters of the reserve for some three centuries.

    Director of the Pivdenhidroarkheolohia State Enterprise Valeriy Nefedov told Interfax-Ukraine that the 18-meter long Cossack "oak"-type vessel is a "veteran" of the Russian-Turkish war of 1735-1739.

    "The ancient vessel was discovered in waters near Khortytsia Island in 1999. But it was impossible to lift it due to the lack of assets. Over this time the unique archeological find, which remained lying at a depth of six meters in the waters of the Khortytsia beach zone, started decaying and needed to be urgently lift from the bottom and preserved," he said.

    Some 80% of the ancient warship was preserved for three centuries due to sand and mud covering it on the bottom of the Dnipro River.

    Nefedov also said that "the Zaporizhia oak" was lifted for the first time in Ukraine and "any museum of the world could only dream of such an exhibit."

    "The Cossack "oak" vessel was constructed in the 18th century in keeping with the best traditions of Zaporizhia Cossacks' shipbuilding. Despite its hull being made of oak, it is light and maneuverable, and is thought to be a prototype of modern warships.

    Using "oaks" the Cossacks successfully countered the Ottoman navy in the Black Sea," he said.

    Nefedov also noted that after preservation, the Cossack vessel would be passed to the Museum of Ancient Navigation at Khortytsia Island, which already exhibits several ancient Cossack ships found in the last ten years in the water area of the Cossack shipyard at Khortytsia.


     

  • Excavation works on ancient shipwreck off Nea Styra

    From Ana Mpa


    Excavation works on a sunken vessel dated to the post Hellenistic era off the resort town of Nea Styra, in the southern Evoikos Gulf separating the mainland and large Evia (Euboea) island, were concluded for 2010.

    The ancient vessel was loaded with amphorae, considered extremely interesting, as the cargo, along with wooden remnants. The latter's presence indicates that the vessel also transported high-value products, possibly sculptures in whole or in parts.

    Amphorae Brindisi and vases filled with foods and wines, bronze and iron nails and small parts of copper statues of natural size, along with two legs of a day-bed, were collected and lifted from the vessel.ana-mpa

    The wreck was located in 2007 at a depth of 40 to 45 metres. Thirty-six divers, researchers, archaeologists, photographers, architects and other experts took part in the underwater excavation.ana-mpa

    The research was organised by the Maritime Antiquities Ephorate and the Institute of Maritime Archaeological Research.

    Excavation works will continue and in 2011.



  • Rare pistol uncovered in 18th century shipwreck

    Ancient pistol


    By Marcia Lane - St Augustine


    Good thing it was after hours in the Flagler Hospital Imaging Center recently when technicians ran a couple of dozen items found in an 18th century shipwreck through the center's CAT scan.

    "We were yelling," said Chuck Meide, archaeological director for the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program. "It was one of those moments. A moment of discovery."

    The discovery was a gentleman's pocket pistol concealed in a concretion, a concrete-like mass that forms around metal artifacts as they rust in the water.

    "Our eyes were instantly drawn to (the pistol)," Meide said. The pistol was one of several items that ended "stuck" together. Other artifacts included a large iron spike, lots of small lead shot known as bird shot ("really, really tiny"), an iron hook, two ring-like objects and a disk of metal.

    That disk of metal may be a coin and that would help date the wreck.

    "People always seem to think shipwrecks and treasure, but it's very rare that's the case," Meide said. The ring-like objects aren't like finger rings. One is about an inch-and-a-half in diameter. The other has little curlicues on it and could be a bracelet or a drawer pull.

    Finding the objects is one thing. Conserving them is another and one that takes considerable time. The pistol, for example, could take more than a year-and-a-half of work.

    A number of other items were found in concretions taken from a shipwreck discovered by LAMP on the last day of the field season in 2009 and more fully explored this year. The scan revealed a pocket knife, navigational dividers for charting courses on maps ("They're pretty rare."), a possible pair of scissors and groups of nails and hooks.

    "My gut reaction is that this appears the kind of cargo ... of items coming to supply St. Augustine. The preliminary interpretation is these are the kinds of things that would be needed in the 18th century. These kinds of things wouldn't have been manufactured here (then)," Meide said.


    Read more...



  • What marine archeology in Nova Scotia needs

    By Rob Rondeau - The Chronicle Herald


    In July, Nova Scotia announced it would do away with its Treasure Trove Act; yesterday, legislation was introduced to make this happen. The act allowed treasure hunters to actively look for treasure on land and underwater.

    Most important, it allowed them to keep 90 per cent of what they found (the rest was supposed to be turned over to the province).

    Doing away with the archaic act is long overdue! As Darryl Kelman, president of the Nova Scotia Archaeology Society (NSAS), said: "The proposed changes to the law bring the province in line with the rest of the country and the Western world."

    Government opted for the changes after reviewing the lengthy Blackstone Report, which was started in 2005 by a Toronto consulting firm, the Blackstone Corporation, which specializes in resource management and tourism consulting.

    It recommended three options for Nova Scotia to consider when dealing with treasure hunting.

    Of course, doing away with the act completely, which the province chose to do, was one option.

    While many consider the government’s decision to repeal the act a "slam dunk" for conserving the province’s underwater cultural heritage, we can learn a lot from the research done by the Blackstone consultants.

    They focused on several key areas, including possible legal ramifications, the potential need for institutional change, and how to improve protecting underwater cultural heritage. The three "scenarios" were weighed out against these criteria.

    Hundreds of individuals were consulted for the report. Many are world experts in the field of marine archeology. How the science is done in other countries was also described in detail.

    The report’s writers concluded that Nova Scotia needs to make managing its underwater cultural heritage more of a priority. Doing away with the act, Scenario C, was said to "reflect an approach much more consistent with UNESCO (and) … presents little risk of interference with the sovereign immunity claims of other countries."

    The report also concluded that the province can learn from other jurisdictions — giving greater weight to protecting underwater cultural heritage through policy and legislation.

    One concept that almost all stakeholders agreed to was the need for a full-time provincial marine archeologist. At present, only archeologists who have experience working on land are employed by the province.



  • Trafalgar emerge dos siglos después

    Pedro Espinosa - El Pais


    En la inmensidad del océano Atlántico, un simple botón ha dado la respuesta a una incógnita histórica. El botón 79, procedente de un uniforme francés del siglo XIX, ha permitido localizar, sin riesgo a equivocarse, el punto exacto donde descansan los restos del Fougueux (Fogoso), un navío francés que se hundió con medio millar de soldados tras haber participado en la histórica batalla de Trafalgar (1805).

    Es la primera vez que, de forma científica, se verifica el pecio de una embarcación protagonista de la celébre contienda.

    La investigación, coronada con éxito por el Centro de Arqueología Subacuática de Andalucía (CAS), con sede en Cádiz, tiene sus raíces en viejas creencias.

    Durante años se sospechó que un conjunto de cañones sumergidos frente a la playa de Camposoto, en San Fernando (Cádiz), pertenecían a un buque hundido en la batalla de Trafalgar, que enfrentó a una escuadra combinada de Francia y España contra la armada inglesa.

    Las pesquisas del CAS arrancaron en 1999, cuando un buzo, Juan Domingo Mayo, avisó al entonces recién creado centro de la existencia de unos cañones perfectamente visibles en una laja submarina a nueve metros de profundidad. Así arrancaron 10 años de análisis, inmersiones y búsquedas del personal del CAS, un organismo que depende de la Consejería andaluza de Cultura.

    Los arqueólogos se sumergieron varias veces y comprobaron la existencia de restos de un buque de guerra de época moderna o contemporánea. Enseguida se pensó en Trafalgar. La batalla había dejado tras de sí numerosos hundimientos.

    "Revisamos las fuentes documentales y descubrimos que el Fougueux se había hundido en la zona", recuerda la arqueóloga Nuria Rodríguez.

    El Fougueux llevaba a bordo a más de 500 hombres. Había partido en agosto de Ferrol. Al llegar a Cádiz, se colocó en primera línea y no resistió los ataques de la armada británica, aunque logró sobrevivir. Por poco tiempo.

    Lo que no logró el enemigo, lo consiguió un gran temporal, que provocó el hundimiento de la mayoría de los 33 buques españoles y franceses.

    Al Fougueux trataron de remolcarlo sin éxito. Se hundió con su medio millar de soldados franceses presos y una veintena de ingleses a bordo.

    Sobrevivieron 21 hombres, que llegaron a la playa, fueron alimentados en el Ventorrillo El Chato y dieron pie a relatos que salen a flote 205 años después.

    Mas...



  • Shipwreck near Fort De Soto may receive state designation

    John W. ‘’Billy’’ MorrisPhoto Florida Aquarium


    By Stephen Thompson - The Tampa Tribune


    Roughly two miles west of Fort De Soto Park, in about 18 feet of water, lies what's left of the USS Narcissus, a Civil War tugboat that exploded after hitting a shoal in 1866, killing all 29 people on board.

    When the state started surveying the wreck in the 1990s, there wasn't much for divers to see in this particular spot in the Gulf of Mexico – basically only part of the ship's steam engine.

    But as time passed, the sand surrounding the wreck shifted. Maybe the busy 2005 hurricane season had something to do with it.

    Maybe nearby dredging, designed to re-nourish Pinellas beaches, played a part.

    In any event, when another group of divers associated with the Florida Aquarium took a look a few years ago -- thanks to a state grant -- it found substantially more was now visible.

    "We went out and discovered the vast majority of the site had been uncovered," said Mike Terrell, the dive training supervisor for the aquarium. "We discovered the entire engine, the propeller and part of the boiler that exploded were exposed."

    That's one major reason why the aquarium and a handful of archaeologists are asking the state to designate the shipwreck site Florida's 12th Underwater Archaeological Preserve.

    A public meeting on the nomination is scheduled to be held at the aquarium tonight from 6 to 8 p.m.

    One point of the meeting is to gauge whether there is enough public support for the designation, said Franklin Price, senior archaeologist for the state's Underwater Archaeology Program.

    "If people don't support it, we wouldn't make it a preserve," he said.

    Roger Smith, the supervisor of the state's Underwater Archaeology Program, said a preserve – or "museum at sea'' – is intended to protect a wreck and foster historical appreciation for it.

    "There are some incredible shipwrecks in Florida," Smith said. "The designation means it's a formal Florida historical site."

    However, the designation won't mean new restrictions for divers, Smith said. In fact, brochures on the preserves are usually put together and made available to dive shops and dive charters, which can use them as a selling point for expeditions.


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