• 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.


    Full story...

  • 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.

    Full story...

  • 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.

    Full story...

  • 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.

    Full story...



  • 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.

    Full story...



  • ‘Undisturbed’ ancient Roman shipwreck found

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

    By Stephanie Valera -

    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.

    Full story...



  • 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...”

    Full story...



  • 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.

    Full story...







  • 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.

    Full story...







  • 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.








  • 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.

    Full article...






  • 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...

  • 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

  • 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.



  • ‘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...

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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.


  • 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...

  • Diving team to document 90-year-old wreckage

    HMS Raleigh became infamous when it ran aground on a reef off the coast of southern Labrador in 1922.

    From CBC News 

    Divers and archaeologists begin their work Monday documenting the wreckage of a historical British ship that ran aground in a corner of southern Labrador nine decades ago.

    The remains of HMS Raleigh will be mapped, photographed and recorded during the mission.

    Wednesday marks 90 years since the battle cruiser ran into a reef off the coast of southern Labrador, on the Strait of Belle Isle that separates the mainland from Newfoundland.

    The episode is considered one of the biggest blunders in British naval history.

    At the time, HMS Raleigh was the pride of the Britain's North Atlantic squadron. It was 180 metres in length, heavily armed and had a crew of 700. The ship was a symbol of British sea power.

    "The Raleigh is an amazing historical wreck, and it's in an obscure place and hardly anybody knows it exists," said Chris Harvey-Clark, who is leading the volunteer dive team.

    The ship's three-year reign at sea ended during a fishing side-trip on Aug. 8, 1922, when the boat blundered onto a reef close to the Labrador coast.

    Most of the men were saved, but the ship was a total loss.

    "It really was a terribly embarrassing thing for the British, said Harvey-Clark. "It sat there, less than a kilometre from the biggest lighthouse on the coast."

    Full story...

  • You're wrecking our wrecks !

    Trawled by fishermen in 1946

    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.

    Full story...

  • 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


    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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Underwater archaeologists get education far away from the sea

    Three professors, three assistant professors and two research assistants work in the Turkey’s only underwater archaeology department

    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.

    Full story...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Confederate shipwreck in way of Savannah River dredging

    CSS Georgia

    By Russ Bynum - The Post and Courier

    Before government engineers can deepen one of the nation’s busiest seaports to accommodate future trade, they first need to remove a $14 million obstacle from the past – a Confederate warship rotting on the Savannah River bottom for nearly 150 years.

    Confederate troops scuttled the ironclad CSS Georgia to prevent its capture by Gen. William T. Sherman when his Union troops took Savannah in December 1864. It’s been on the river bottom ever since.

    Now, the Civil War shipwreck sits in the way of a government agency’s $653 million plan to deepen the waterway that links the nation’s fourth-busiest container port to the Atlantic Ocean. The ship’s remains are considered so historically significant that dredging the river is prohibited within 50 feet of the wreckage.

    So the Army Corps of Engineers plans to raise and preserve what’s left of the CSS Georgia. The agency’s final report on the project last month estimated the cost to taxpayers at $14 million. The work could start next year on what’s sure to be a painstaking effort.

    And leaving the shipwreck in place is not an option: Officials say the harbor must be deepened to accommodate supersize cargo ships coming through an expanded Panama Canal in 2014 – ships that will bring valuable revenue to the state and would otherwise go to other ports.

    Underwater surveys show two large chunks of the ship’s iron-armored siding have survived, the largest being 68 feet long and 24 feet tall. Raising them intact will be a priority.

    Researchers also spotted three cannons on the riverbed, an intact propeller and other pieces of the warship’s steam engines. And there’s smaller debris scattered across the site that could yield unexpected treasures, requiring careful sifting beneath 40 feet of water.

    “We don’t really have an idea of what’s in the debris field,” said Julie Morgan, a government archaeologist with the Army Corps. “There could be some personal items. People left the ship in a big hurry. Who’s to say what was on board when the Georgia went down.”

    Also likely to slow the job: finding and gently removing cannonballs and other explosive projectiles that, according to Army Corps experts, could still potentially detonate.

    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...


  • 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...

  • Van por tesoro hundido en el Golfo de México

    La nave que buscan se sumergió en 1631, revelaron.  
    Foto Isabel Zamudio

    Impreso Milenio

    En mayo próximo un grupo internacional de investigadores zarpará en un buque de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México en busca de un galeón hundido en 1631 en el Golfo de México, frente a costas de la Sonda de Campeche, cargado de oro y diversos objetos, señaló Roberto Junco, investigador de la subdirección de Arqueología Subacuática del Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH).

    En entrevista durante el Segundo Coloquio de Cultura Subacuática en México, Roberto Junco dijo que el buque hundido ha sido asediado y codiciado por cazadores de tesoros desde hace varios siglos.

    Se trata de una nave considerada patrimonio nacional que será localizado por investigadores del INAH, quienes consideran que aportará información histórica muy importante.

    Durante mes y medio los investigadores estarán en alta mar sobre el buque de la UNAM Justo Sierra y realizarán estudios de geofísica, sin inmersión.

    Detalló se trata de un galeón español muy importante y codiciado por buscadores de tesoros y el objetivo es que no caiga en manos de cazadores furtivos, que pretendan explotarlo personalmente.

    Flor Trejo Rivera, investigadora también del INAH, señaló que en nuestro país existen más de 100 tesoros arqueológicos bajo el mar, que han sido poco investigados y promovidos.


  • Solving the mystery of the English China Wreck

     Project members taking notes and excavating underwater

    By Kimberly Munro - Popular Archaeology

    Over 40 shipwrecks are located within the waters which now make up Biscayne National Park in southern Florida.

    Among those wrecks, the English China Wreck is one of the best preserved. Unfortunately, looting and unintended damage caused by fishing and diving are a threat to the site's integrity and artifacts.

    These threats, along with a search for conclusive proof of the ship's identity, led the National Park Service, in partnership with George Washington University, to conduct field excavations during the summer of 2011.

    The English China Wreck (ECW) was discovered in 1975, and first evaluated in 1984 by National Park Service archaeologists. The ECW was identified as a middle to late eighteenth century vessel, carrying a cargo of British ceramics for export.

    The wreck was named “The English China Wreck” due to the large quantity of British "chinaware" ceramics onboard.

    During the 1984 evaluations, archaeologists speculated that the ECW could be the remains of either the Ledbury, a British vessel lost in 1769, or the Hubbard, a British vessel reported lost in the area in 1772.

    In 2010, however, a non-invasive surface ceramic inventory was conducted which may have cast doubt on that original assessment.

    The presence of Spanish-made ladrillos (bricks) on the wreck, along with British materials may indicate the ship was involved in secondary trading, and could in fact be of North American, not British origin.

    Since its discovery in 1975, the ECW has been protected and monitored by law enforcement authorities and the Biscayne National Park Archaeologst. Despite this protection, the wreck has been a target by looters because of its large quantity of easily collectable artifacts.

    As a result of the threat posed by looters and the new theory of a possible North American origin, further study of the wreck was proposed with an eye toward expanding on knowledge of American colonial history.

    This past summer, Biscayne National Park partnered with George Washington University and their Southern African Slave Wrecks and Diaspora Heritage Project (SASWDHP) to conduct an archaeological field school.

    The field school was held in June and July of 2011, and included George Washington University graduate students, as well as participants from IZIKO-Museums of South Africa, and the African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA), both of which are located in Capetown, South Africa.

    The field school was overseen by Charles Lawson, Biscayne National Park Archaeologist, Dr. Stephen Lubkemann of George Washington University, and National Park Service Regional Archaeologist, Dr. David W. Morgan.

    Full story...

  • 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. 



  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Survey uncovers shipwreck clues near Columbia

    Graduate student William Schilling deploys the side scan sonar off the research vessel.

    By Michelle Wagner - Outer Banks Voice

    Maritime archeologists have just completed a survey of the Scuppernong River and Bulls Bay near Columbia, uncovering potential new shipwrecks and data about known vessels that were wrecked or abandoned.

    The Scuppernong River has a rich history of settlements and maritime industry, said Nathan Richards, a maritime studies professor at East Carolina University and the interim head of the University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute’s Maritime Heritage Program.

    “This area is really untapped,” he said of the Scuppernong River. “This is the first extensive archeological survey done of the whole river system.”

    Prior to this venture, limited research was done in the late 1980s and early 1990s by the state near the Columbia waterfront. Some artifacts and timbers of the well-known passenger steamer the Estelle Randall were recovered. The steamer sank near the Columbia waterfront in 1910.

    Richards, who led East Carolina University’s Advanced Methods in Maritime Archeology class in the project, says he is now compiling the findings of the survey, which provides never-before-seen high resolution imagery of the river bottom using side-scan sonar. Magnetometers were also used to detect human-made disturbances on the river floor. Both tools are standard in shipwreck discovery.

    The survey now gives maritime archaelogists a much better picture of the Scuppernong riverbed and its shipwrecks. The imagery shows how intact not only the Estelle Randall is, but other shipwrecks in the river that little is known about.

    The 200-foot Estelle Randall, Richards said, was the perfect shipwreck to show students how to use the side-scan sonar and magnetometers because its whereabouts are so obvious and known.

    “You can throw a stone off the dock there and hit the shipwreck,” he said.

    Students also surveyed about nine other potential shipwrecks. Once the information is compiled, researchers will have a submerged cultural inventory of the region.

    “We will know what we have and what the next steps to take are and if there is a good reason to send divers down to get more information,” Richards said.

    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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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.


  • 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.

  • State works to preserve artifacts from sunken blockade runners

    Underwater Archaeology Branch Conservator Nathan Henry holds several examples of artifacts recovered from the blockade runner Modern Greece that are still being maintained in water tanks at he Underwater Archaeology Branch of the N.C. Division of Archives and History at Fort Fisher 
    Photo Mike Spencer

    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.

    Full story...

  • 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...

  • Artefacts halt site works at Bathers Beach

    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”.

    Full story...

  • 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...

  • 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.



  • 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...

  • 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.

  • Newly exposed artifacts to be recovered from the Marie Celeste

     The bow of the Confederate paddle steamer Mary Celestia emerges from the sands off the South Shore. Conservation Services will this summer work to rescue artifacts at the diving landmark.

    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.”

    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.


  • 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.

  • 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 ?"


  • 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”.


  • 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.



  • 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.



  • 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.


  • 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.



  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Salvagers get rights to recover historic shipwrecks

    By Bobby Pritchett

    Anchor Research & Salvage, S.R.L. (ARS) has entered into an agreement with the Dominican Republic Oficina Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural Subacuático.

    The contract gives ARS the exclusive rights to explore and archaeologically recover historic shipwrecks along an undisclosed stretch of the Caribbean Sea on the island nation's South coast.

    According to government officials, this is the first time that such a contract has been granted for the area.

    Robert Pritchett, president of ARS, says his company will be working under the direction of the Oficina Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural Subacuático. And professional Marine Archaeologist Dr.Lubos Kordac and Dr E. Lee Spence both have wrote books on the islands shipwrecks

    ARS will be using state-of-the-art remote sensing equipment to survey the contract area, and a specially designed Geographical Information System (GIS) will be used to map discoveries. All of ARS' survey, archaeological, and GIS data will be shared with the government.

    Under a preliminary agreement, ARS has already located a number of shipwrecks threw research & exploration of the lease area,

    For Pritchett and the management of ARS this is a lifestyle, not a job. The members of ARS have dedicated their lives to archaeologically sensitive exploration rescue and preservation of historical shipwrecks.

    ARS' discoveries and other developments will be posted on the company's website at

    Pritchett has been personally funding this project, but now expects to raise additional working capital.

  • Conservation of the royal warship Vasa evaluated


    The conservation of the royal warship Vasa, which sank in Stockholm on her maiden voyage in 1628 and was raised in 1961, has provided a unique insight into how large waterlogged wooden archaeological relics can be preserved for the future, reveals an evaluation of the conservation programme by a researcher at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

    "I hope that the importance of the conservation of the Vasa will be recognised and provide inspiration and guidance for other attempts to stabilise the dimensions of waterlogged archaeological timber.

    As conservation projects of this kind are not carried out all the time, my thesis is a way of preserving experience," says Birgitta Håfors from the Department of Conservation at the University of Gothenburg.

    After spending her entire career as a chemist working on the conservation of the Vasa, the now retired Håfors has evaluated the conservation programmes using polyethylene glycol (PEG) that was chosen for the vessel's hull and loose wooden items.

    At the age of 75, she is now presenting a doctoral thesis on the treatment developed for the warship and used from 1962 until January 1979.

    The evaluation focuses particularly on the ability of PEG to prevent or reduce shrinkage during the drying-out of waterlogged archaeological timber, with special emphasis on the oak of the Vasa.

    "It turned out that there was often shrinkage during the actual treatment, especially when timber was treated in baths of the preservative solution. This phenomenon is due to water molecules migrating out of the waterlogged timber and into the preservative solution more quickly than the PEG molecules move the other way."

    In her research, Håfors conducted experiments to find the ideal temperatures and concentrations of the preservative solution to prevent waterlogged wood from shrinking during the actual preservative treatment.

    "I soon realised that temperature-raising programmes were unsuitable, as they increased the tendency for water molecules to leave the timber. For the conservation of wood from the Vasa in baths, therefore, a stable temperature was chosen, namely 60°C.


  • Seas sink wreck efforts

    Uncovered shipwreck about 50 metres of Lighthouse Beach at Ballina.Jay Cronan

    From Northern Star

    Heavy seas have prevented any light been being shed on the mystery shipwreck that appeared at Ballina last month.

    Tim Smith, deputy director of the Heritage Branch of the NSW Department of Planning, which runs the State’s shipwreck program, said a maritime archaeologist had been recruited to inspect the site at Lighthouse Beach recently.

    “Unfortunately, unfavourable sea conditions meant that he could not undertake any survey fieldwork,” he said. “We will have to wait for another window of opportunity.

    “There have also been reports of another wreck sighting that we’re keen to check out.”

    Mr Smith suspects the first wreck spotted near the north wall is the ill-fated SS Tomki that met its demise on the northern side of the Richmond River entrance, before the current wall was built, on September 14, 1907, while being towed to sea by a tug. There was no loss of life with all passengers and crew rescued.

    However, Clem McMahon, from the Ballina Naval Museum, disagrees. He suspects the Tomki is the second wreck, spotted further north along the beach; and the wreck nearer the wall is another, unknown ship.

    “With these heavy seas it’s Murphy’s Law out there at the moment,” he said.

    The NSW Department of Planning’s Heritage Branch has recorded about 87 wrecked vessels in or around the treacherous Richmond River entrance since the 19th Century.

    Shipwrecks are protected under both the NSW Heritage Act and the Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Act, which stipulate penalties up to $1.1 million for any disturbance to a site, although divers and beach-goers are free to view any wrecks.

  • Shipwreck may yield secrets of antiquity

    Antique wreck off Cyprus

    By Clara Moskowitz - MSNBC/LiveScience

    The examination of a Mediterranean shipwreck from the 4th century B.C. could shed light on ancient sea routes and trade, researchers say.

    The remains of a merchant vessel, full of amphoras that probably had been filled with wine, were discovered in 2006 on the seafloor south of the island of Cyprus. A team has been excavating the site, diving and dredging up important pieces, since then.

    The wreck was first discovered in 2006 by fishermen. One of the ship's anchors was also uncovered.

    The particularly well-preserved remains, especially the amphoras, which were oval, narrow-necked vases, reveal many clues about the ship's story, the research team says in a new paper.

    "We know by having studied a lot of these ceramic containers — we have created catalogs with different shapes — we know where they come from and where they date," said Stella Demesticha, a professor of maritime archaeology at the University of Cyprus, who is leading the shipwreck research team.

    The amphoras found at this site, she said, are very typical of those made on the Greek island of Chios in the Aegean Sea.

    "We know the red wine from Chios was praised," Demesticha told LiveScience. "It was very good quality, very expensive."

    A large collection of olive pits was also discovered at the shipwreck site. The scientists don't know whether the olives were packed as a source of food for sailors or were a commodity to be sold.

  • Underwater archaeology chronicles moments in time

    The Mercator in 1932 
    Photo Jack Papes

    By Shannon M. Nass - Post-Gazette

    Before dives on known wrecks, divers research the vessels. Located on the grounds of the Great Lakes Historical Society in Vermilion, Ohio, is the Peachman Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center, a research facility that documents Lake Erie shipwrecks and offers maritime archaeology workshops.

    It also serves as the headquarters for the MAST program (Maritime Archaeological Survey Team Inc.), which trains divers to survey shipwrecks.

    "Most of what we do with MAST are straightforward, two-dimensional site plans," said Carrie Sowden, archaeological director at the research center.

    "We're looking at how the ship sits on the bottom and mapping all of it out so we know exactly what it looks like sitting on the bottom of the lake."

    MAST consists of 200 volunteers devoted to documenting and preserving Lake Erie shipwrecks. They focus on older sites that are more prone to degradation due to frequent visits by divers.

    "Nobody's malicious or anything, but once you start having human intervention on a site, it will start to degrade over time," said Sowden. "You know, the little touch here, the sitting down there. We're trying to create a baseline so that we know what is there."


  • Ancient shipwrecks found off central Italy's coast

    Photo: Italian Ministry of Culture

    From Voice of America

    A team of marine archeologists using sonar scanners has discovered new underwater treasures in the Italian seas.

    Trading vessels dating from the first century BC to the 5th through 7th centuries AD were found in the waters of the Pontine Islands. Their cargoes were found to be intact.

    Italian culture authorities and the Aurora Trust, a U.S. foundation which promotes underwater exploration in the Mediterranean, discovered four shipwrecks resting on the seabed.

    The discovery was made in a beautiful stretch of sea off the tiny rock of Zannone, part of the Pontine Islands in central Italy.

    After the discovery, the team of marine archaeologists used sonar scanners for the exploration and filmed the targets lying on the seabed.

    The remains of the ships, up to 18 meters long, were found and documented at a depth of between 100-150 meters.

    Annalisa Zarattini is an underwater archaeologist with Italy's culture ministry. She says the deeper a wreck is found, the higher the chance that it is better preserved.

    These, she adds, are in such good condition after so many centuries because they have not been disturbed by fishermen or illegal archaeology hunters.

    Zarattini says Italy's seas are an incredible museum which help uncover history.

    Traveling with her on a finance police boat, which helps the ministry patrol the waters, she described this latest find.

    "We identified four Roman wrecks, four ships that probably sunk during a storm at different time periods," said Zarattini.


    Continue reading

  • Ancient shipwreck sheds light on mariner's diet

    From Reuters

    A huge quantity of olive stones on an ancient shipwreck more than 2,000 years old has provided valuable insight into the diet of sailors in the ancient world, researchers in Cyprus said Thursday.

    The shipwreck, dating from around 400 B.C. and laden mainly with wine amphorae from the Aegean island of Chios and other north Aegean islands, was discovered deep under the sea off Cyprus's southern coast.

    Excavation on the site, which started in November 2007, has determined that the ship was a merchant vessel of the late classical period.

    "An interesting piece of evidence that gives us information on the conditions under which the sailors of antiquity lived, are the large numbers of olive pits that were found during excavation, since these pits must have been part of the crew's food supply," Cyprus's antiquities department said Thursday.

    The excavation is shedding light on seafaring in Cyprus in antiquity, commerce between the island and the Aegean and the sizes of the period's cargo ships, it said.

    Olives and olive oil are a staple of the Mediterranean diet and their consumption over hundreds of years has been well documented.

    Italian archaeologists discovered that some of the world's oldest perfumes, made in Cyprus, were olive oil based. The commodity was also used to fire copper furnaces.

    Apart from the amphorae, or large clay wine jars, two lead rods with remains of wood were found.

    "This especially rare find enhances the importance of the shipwreck and strengthens the possibilities of finding preserved wood from the ship's keel," the department said.

  • Dig reveals story of America's last slave ship

    Press-Register - G.M. Andrews

    By Roy Hoffman - Press Register

    From bits of brick, pieces of slate and shards of glass, Neil Norman is hoping to piece together the lost world of Africatown.

    For the last several weeks, the anthropology professor from the College of William & Mary has excavated sites in Plateau, in north Mobile County, looking for remnants of the daily life of the Africans who arrived in Mobile in 1860 as captives on the slave ship Clotilda.

    "This is one of the few projects of its kind in the country," said Norman, who was accompanied by a group of students helping with the dig.

    His personal interest deepened after working in Benin, in west Africa, home to the slaves who were brought to Mobile on the Clotilda.

    In a room at the Brookley Conference Center, Norman looked out at bags of seeming rubble and debris that his group had collected. 

    But in those bags, he explained, were archaeological treasures. He picked up a bright red bead and cradled it in his palm -- a piece of jewelry, or adornment, he said.

    He examined a piece of crockery, and a bit of pig bone.

    In Plateau, he said, on the homesites of the Clotilda's descendants, were architectural elements that he had just begun to uncover, like a double hearth in the home of one former slave.

    The objects "talk about the dynamics of daily life," he said.


  • Sonar scanners find ancient wrecks off Italian coast

    By Ella Ide - Washington Post

    A team of marine archaeologists using sonar scanners have discovered four ancient shipwrecks off the tiny Italian island of Zannone, with intact cargoes of wine and oil.

    The remains of the trading vessels, dating from the first century BC to the 5th-7th century AD, are up to 165 meters underwater, a depth that preserved them from being disturbed by fishermen over the centuries.

    "The deeper you go, the more likely you are to find complete wrecks," said Annalisa Zarattini, an official from the archaeological services section of the Italian culture ministry.

    The timber structures of the vessels have been eaten away by tiny marine organisms, leaving their outlines and the cargoes still lying in the position they were stowed on board.

    "The ships sank, they came to rest at the bottom of the sea, the wood disappeared and you find the whole ship, with the entire cargo. Nothing has been taken away," she said.

    The discoveries were made through cooperation between Italian authorities and the Aurora Trust, a U.S. foundation that promotes exploration of the Mediterranean seabed.

    The vessels, up to 18 meters long, had been carrying amphorae, or large jars, containing wine from Italy, and cargo from North Africa and Spain including olive oil, fruit and garum, a pungent fish sauce that was a favorite ingredient in Roman cooking. 

    Another ship, as yet undated, appeared to have been carrying building bricks. It is unclear how the vessels sank and no human remains have been found.

  • Historical gold in a shipwreck off St. Augustine ?

    By Dan Scanlan - Jacksonville

    It sure didn’t look like the proverbial pot at the end of a rainbow as it emerged from an estimated 250-plus years of slumber 30 feet under the waves off St. Augustine.

    Encrustations of century’s-old mud marred the cauldron’s shape as it was hauled onto the dive boat Wednesday by the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program team.

    But there could be historical gold in the pot removed from a shipwreck within sight of the St. Augustine Lighthouse. Chuck Meide, Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program director, found what could be a spoon stuck inside.

    Meide is hoping the cauldron is the key to unlocking a time capsule to a rare ship from St. Augustine’s bustling 1800s colonial period. He said only one colonial shipwreck has ever been found off Northeast Florida.

    “This particular shipwreck was even harder to find because it was completely buried under the sand,” Meide said. “It makes it harder to find, but it also makes it a really great find because no one has ever dived it before and we don’t think anyone knows about it.”

    Placed in an electrolysis tank to leach salt from its iron to preserve it, the cauldron could soon be on public display at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum as it undergoes up to two years of cleanup.

    More artifacts should be pulled up soon by the team and its high school interns in what lighthouse museum Executive Director Kathy Fleming said is another step in bringing the region’s maritime history to the community.

    “It would be nice if it were a Spanish wreck. We don’t know. It might be British,” Fleming said. “We will find out more about the colonial period, engage more students and we will probably do more in the community.”

    More to read...

  • Libro verde para la protección del patrimonio subacuático

    Hoyes Arte

    La ministra de Cultura, Ángeles González-Sinde, ha presentado hoy en el Museo Nacional de Arqueología Subacuática de Cartagena (ARQUA) el Libro Verde del Plan Nacional de Protección del Patrimonio Cultural Subacuático, fruto de dos años de trabajo de una comisión de expertos formada por representantes de Cultura, a través del ARQUA, comunidades autónomas y universidades para mejorar la gestión de nuestro rico patrimonio sumergido.

    El Libro Verde ofrece las herramientas para el cumplimiento de los objetivos del Plan Nacional que prevé un decálogo de medidas que van desde la documentación e inventario de este patrimonio arqueológico a la protección física y jurídica de las zonas arqueológicas más importantes de nuestro litoral, pasando por la formación en este campo, y acuerdos de colaboración con los Ministerios de Defensa, Interior y Exteriores.

    Cultura ya ha puesto en marcha algunas de estas medidas en colaboración con las comunidades y se está tramitando un convenio de colaboración con cada una de ellas cuyo objetivo principal es realizar cartas arqueológicas.

    Igualmente, ha suscrito un acuerdo con el Ministerio de Defensa con objeto de optimizar los recursos de ambos departamentos para la protección del patrimonio subacuático.

    En cuanto a la financiación de las medidas para la protección de este patrimonio, la cifra ha pasado de los 800.000 euros de 2009 a los 1.275.000 de este año.

  • Sinking oil threatens historic wrecks

    USS ORISKANY - Jim Meyers/AP


    Not just flora and fauna are getting caked in oil. So is the Gulf of Mexico's barnacled history of pirates, sea battles and World War II shipwrecks.

    The Gulf is lined with wooden shipwrecks, American-Indian shell midden mounds, World War II casualties, pirate colonies, historic hotels and old fishing villages.

    Researchers now fear this treasure seeker's dream is threatened by BP PLC's deepwater well blowout.

    Within 30 km. of the well, there are several significant shipwrecks - ironically, discovered by oil companies' underwater robots working the depths - and oil is most likely beginning to cascade on them. 

    "People think of them as being lost, but with the deepsea diving innovations we have today, these shipwrecks are easily accessible," said Steven Anthony, president of the Maritime Archaeological and Historical Society.

    "If this oil congeals on the bottom, it will be dangerous for scuba divers to go down there and explore," Anthony said. "The spill will stop investigations; it will put a chill, a halt on (underwater) operations."

    The wrecks include two 19th Century wooden ships known as the Mica Wreck and the Mardi Gras Wreck. The German submarine U-166 and ships sunk by other German submarines during World War II are within the spill's footprint.


  • Colonial-era shipwreck found

    Chuck Meide and Devin O'Meara

    By Andrea Asuaje - The St. Augustine Record

    Archaeologists from the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program have found a potential colonial shipwreck buried under the sand about a mile off the coast and north of the St. Augustine Beach pier.

    The scientists found a cauldron, thousands of lead shot, a glass base and a second cooking vessel about 400 meters from the site of where the ship the "Industry" sank in 1764.

    The newly discovered ship could be older than the "Industry," said Chuck Meide, director of the archaeological program. If that's so, the shipwreck would be the oldest known one off the waters of St. Johns County, Meide said.

    Scientists found the shipwreck in August, but only announced the discovery Friday. The site is about a mile offshore, south of the St. Augustine Amphitheatre and north of the St. Augustine Beach pier.

    Meide calls the wreck a "true time capsule."

    "This is the first completely buried shipwreck that has ever been found off of St. Augustine," he said. "It's pretty unique."

    Because the new shipwreck is completely covered by sand, items from the ship may be better preserved than the wreck of the "Industry," he said.

    He also said there could be other ships not yet discovered in the area.

    "There could be a hundred shipwrecks out there," Meide said.

    Archeologists found the area in August by using sophisticated technology to find buried objects. Using that they were able to locate the general area of the wreck. Then they used unsophisticated methods -- feeling with their hands in the sand -- to find buried objects. Meide calls it "archeology by braille."

    That's how they found the first cauldron along with wooden planks and other items from the wreck.

    In June, the group returned to the area and began working on the site. They found glass, lead shot and a second cauldron last week.

    Meide said he and those working on the site are thrilled about the discovery and want to find out basic information about the ship: its function, where it sailed from and how old it is.

    After that, it's about piecing together the history of the ship itself.


  • Roman shipwreck discovered near Aeolian Islands

    From Ansa Med

    The wreck of a Roman ship from the first century AD which is still whole and has over 500 wide-mouthed amphorae on board has been discovered to the south of the island of Panarea. 

    The discovery, which was made by the Sea Superintendence together with the American Foundation "Aurora Trust" and the support of the Environment Ministry, was illustrated in a press conference this morning in Palermo by the Regional Councillor for Cultural Heritage, Gaetano Armao, and by the Superintendent, Sebastiano Tusa. 

    "From the first surveys, we can establish that it is a merchant shipping measuring around 25 meters, in perfect condition, which transported fruit and vegetables from Sicily to the markets in the north." said Tusa.

    The style of the amphorae is in fact typical of the 'workshops' of the island and of southern Italy. The merchant ship was identified with the use of a wire-controlled ROV video camera.

    Now the campaign in the Aeolian islands will proceed with research carried out, with particularly sophisticated robots which will allow us to better contextualize the wreck in time and space." said Tusa.

    "The ship might not be the only one: on the seabed of Panarea there is believed to be another ship.

    "Traces have been found of a second wreck that has not yet been identified. Research will be carried out in this direction" concluded Tusa.

    The amphorae are the Dressel 21-22 type, datable to the first century AD, made in Lazio and used for the transport of Garum (a popular sauce in Roman times), fresh and dried fruit, as well as various types of cereals.

    The amphorae were found placed in a slightly different position to their original one on the ship. They are in fact lying on one side. This would indicate that the ship, sliding along the seabed, came to rest leaning on one side.

  • Tin pots might prove sunken ship's destination

    A tin pot from Nan'ao No.1

    From People's Daily Online

    A new batch of cultural relics from the ancient ship of Nan'ao No.1 were salvaged and exhibited on May 18, including 2 tin pots, walnuts and other porcelains carrying cultural elements of Han and Buddhism.

    Therefore, experts concluded that Nan'ao No.1's destination might have been Southeast Asia.

    Sun Jian, the leader of the archaeology team for Nan'ao No.1, said those color glaze porcelains salvaged yesterday are more delicate than relics from the ancient ship before, and similar porcelains were found during the excavation of another ancient ship called "Wanjiao No.1" in the sea area of Fujian province.

    Such porcelains, according to him, were popular in the European market as well as Japanese market, and most of them came from Pinghe oven in Fujian.

    Among the cultural relics salvaged yesterday, there are two tin pots with typical Ming characteristics. Sun said the two tin pots were close to each other, and that might indicate these two things were not the personal possessions of sailors but rather goods packaged for export.

    Full story...

  • The race to preserve shipwrecks, artifacts

    Underwater Heritage Program Directorate/Adhi Perwira 
    Credit: Underwater Heritage Program Directorate/Adhi Perwira

    By Andrea Booth - The Jakarta Post

    Lack of finance, technology and trained divers, the attempt to sell sunken artifacts — not to mention looters — appear to be hindering the potential to conserve Indonesia’s abundant underwater heritage, a topic under hot discussion of late.

    The Underwater Heritage Program Directorate (PBA) under the Culture and Tourism Ministry’s Directorate General of History and Archaeology is keen to set up a system to overcome these challenges.

    “Our objective is to preserve these culturally valuable remnants of our past,” Gunawan, chief director of the PBA said.

    The directorate recently conducted five dives over 10 days to recover artifacts in the Karimunjawa region, Jepara, Central Java.

    “We want the artifacts we have uncovered to stay and be looked after in Indonesia so that citizens and generations to come can learn more about the role Indonesia has played in the maritime industry from the 9th to the 19th centuries.” The PBA said in a press statement it would also help boost the tourism industry.

    This initiative is not without challenges, however. Gunawan says the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry Pannas BMKT’s (the national committee of excavation and utilization of precious artifacts from sunken ships) commercializing of artifacts, including the unsuccessful auction early May of treasure reportedly worth US$80 billion, is devaluing Indonesia’s history.

    Pannas BMKT’s secretary general Sudirman Saad recently told The Jakarta Post that artifacts the state wanted to preserve were held in a government warehouse in Cileungsi, West Java, with the remainder stocked in a privately owned warehouse in Pamulang, South Jakarta.

    Gunawan said he was concerned that precious artifacts would not be preserved and wanted to encourage people to value them — as well as shipwrecks — more so they could learn more about their past and enhance national pride.

    The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) agreed that selling the underwater artifacts meant Indonesia would lose its valuable heritage. “Exploiting an archaeological site and dispersing its artifacts is an irreversible process. Yet the contents of the shipwreck found off the coast of the city of Cirebon have much to tell us about cultural and commercial exchanges in the region at that time,” UNESCO director general Irina Bokova said in a press statement.

    While Gunawan said it would take time to build a solid system to extract and preserve the artifacts, and gain people’s interest, he believed this goal could still be reached.

    “People may be worried that [we may not have the technology], especially in Indonesia, and this may be because there has never been a preservation process undertaken before,” Gunawan said. “But we have to start at some point and I’m sure we are capable.”


  • University divers plumb new depths in Egypt


    Great lighthouse of Pharos

    From BBC News

    University of Ulster divers have been passing on their expertise to maritime archaeologists in the historic Egyptian port of Alexandria.

    Staff from the UU's maritime archaeology centre conducted a 10-day training workshop for 15 archaeologists from north and east Africa who wanted an insight into the challenges of working underwater.

    During their stay the UU divers were granted a rare opportunity to explore the underwater remains of the famous Pharos lighthouse - one of the wonders of the ancient world.

    Work on the great lighthouse began in 290 BC and when it was completed 20 years later, it was the first lighthouse in the world and the tallest building in existence with the exception of the Great Pyramid.

    The course, hosted by Alexandria University's new Centre for Maritime Archaeology and Underwater Heritage (CMA), involved all aspects of survey, documentation and management of archaeological sites and artefacts from maritime environments and enabled students to gain practical experience by diving in Alexandria's eastern harbour.


  • Old Corolla shipwreck to go to Hatteras museum

    L. Todd Spencer | The Virginian-Pilot

    By Jeff Hampton - The Virginian-Pilot

    Remains of a ship nearly 400 years old salvaged from the surf early this month will be moved from Corolla, N.C., to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras.

    The wreck now sits exposed to the elements under an oak tree near the Currituck Beach Lighthouse.

    State and local officials agreed it would be better off out of the weather. Typically, sand and salt water protect old wrecks but once up on land and dried, they tend to deteriorate.

    Plans are to move the wreck about 90 miles south the museum within the next few weeks, said Joe Newberry, spokesman for the North Carolina Maritime Museums.

    Held together with wooden pegs, the skeleton of large timbers, 17 feet wide and 37 feet long and weighing 12 tons, could be the oldest ship wreck ever discovered on the North Carolina coast.

    State underwater archaeologists plan to study the wreck further to document its construction and try to identify the ship.

    When the remains appeared years ago deep in the sand near the Currituck lighthouse, local beachcombers found coins and other artifacts around them.

    Severe winter storms late last year fully exposed the timbers and grabbed the attention of state scientists.

    In the last few months, surf and tide moved the wreck two miles south and washed away some of its pieces.


  • Scuba diving volunteers discover underwater archeology


    By Alex Wilson - VCR Reporter Online

    A dedicated group of volunteer scuba divers employ their expertise surveying underwater archeology in the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary.

    Coastal Maritime Archeology Resources members spend about a week living aboard research vessels twice a year, to measure and map shipwrecks, sunken airplanes and archeological sites scattered on the ocean floor.

    CMAR Director of Operations Patrick Smith says there’s nothing quite like seeing a shipwreck for the first time. “It’s indescribable. There’s excitement, maybe a little bit of trepidation,” says Smith.

    “There’s that wonderful feeling of breaching the unknown. There’s the anticipation of seeing something that nobody has seen for scores of years, or maybe hundreds of years.”

    Smith says diving on shipwrecks evokes thoughts about the people who sailed on the historic vessels and sometimes perished aboard them.

    “Each shipwreck is unique. They are a snapshot of that period of time, and they become a time capsule of that period of time,” says Smith.

    “A shipwreck goes down, and it freezes that moment. It freezes all aspects of the human environment. What the people were eating and wearing. You can tell what their technology was.


  • And... Khoob-Surat, said the pirate

    By Ashleshaa Khurana - Times of India

    Burned and scuttled off the Carribean in the 17th century, The Quedagh Merchant, an Armenian trade vessel that was built in Gujarat and hijacked by the notorious William Kidd — whose story inspired 'Treasure Island' — is preparing for a return to her homeland as a 'living museum'.

    Shiver me shattered timbers" screamed headlines across the world, when the 310-year-old , barnacle-covered , coral-encrusted 'The Quedagh Merchant' was discovered in the pristine seas off the Dominican Republic, 70 feet off Catalina Island.

    This was no ordinary vessel — it was stuff that legends are made of, on the hot list of every treasure hunter.

    The Quedagh Merchant, alias Cara Merchant, belonged to the notorious Captain William Kidd — a Scottish privateer-turned-pirate who was hanged after a summary trial in London in 1701. Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island and Edgar Allen Poe's The Gold Bug are some among the works of pirate lore inspired by Kidd's story.

    Now, three years after this find, Charles D Beeker, director of Underwater Science and Academics at Indiana University, USA, is preparing to visit the Gujarati city of Surat, where the ship was built in the 17th century, for "a presentation on a unique and significant aspect" of India's maritime lore.


  • Under the bottom

    By David Moore - The Arab Tribune

    An underwater archaeological team has been diving and excavating core samples for the past week from Browns Creek.

    The purpose was to ensure that a new intake line Arab Water Works wants to bury in the creek bed will not destroy old graveyards or other significant archaeological sites that have been underwater since TVA flooded the wide creek plain in 1939 while creating Guntersville Lake.

    The good news for AWW is that preliminary findings show the route for the 36-inch lines - part of a $6.6 million upgrade - shouldn't disturb anything more than sediment and clay.

    That was expected, but from a purely archaeological standpoint, said Dr. Michael K. Faught, the findings were less than spectacular.

    "It was not exactly Atlantis," he laughed, lighting up a weathered face under a braided ponytail.

    "But it's intriguing and a good way to make a living and protect resources."



  • Chemical analyses uncover secrets of an ancient amphora

    Chemical analysis

    From FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology

    A team of chemists from the University of Valencia (UV) has confirmed that the substance used to hermetically seal an amphora found among remains at Lixus, in Morocco, was pine resin.

    The scientists also studied the metallic fragments inside the 2,000-year-old vessel, which could be fragments of material used for iron-working.

    In 2005, a group of archaeologists from the UV discovered a sealed amphora among the remains at Lixus, an ancient settlement founded by the Phoenicians near Larache, in Morocco. Since then, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry at this university have been carrying out various studies into it components.

    The latest study, published recently in the journal Analytical Letters, focuses on the resinous material that sealed the vessel.

    There are remains of a circular rope-effect decoration around the mouth of the amphora, and on which some fingerprints of the craftsman who moulded it can still be seen.

    It would probably have been sealed with a lid of cork or wood, of which nothing remains, possibly including a ceramic operculum, such as those found nearby.

    "We have studied the substance that was used to seal the container using three different techniques, and we compared it with pine resin from today", José Vicente Gimeno, one of the authors of the study and a senior professor at the UV, tells SINC.

    The results confirm that the small sample analysed, which is 2,000 years old, contains therpenic organic compounds (primaric, isoprimaric and dehydroabietic acids), allowing this to be classified as resin from a tree from the Pinus genus.

    The researchers have identified some substances that indicate the age of resins, such as such as 7-oxo-DHA acid, although this kind of compound was not abundant in the sample due to the amphora's good state of preservation.

    In addition, Gimeno says that the archaeological resin of the amphora found was hard and blackish with yellow spots, unlike present-day resin, which is more malleable and orangey in colour, similar to the fresh sap of the tree.


  • Guerra al expolio submarino

    Desde Elcorreo Digital

    Era un secreto a voces. «Sólo en el Golfo de Cádiz hay más oro que en el Banco de España», dijo hace ya dos décadas el catedrático Manuel Martín Bueno.

    Lo sabían aventureros como Robert Max, el arqueólogo norteamericano que cuantificó el botín hundido en la desembocadura del Guadalquivir en 116.000 millones de euros. O el investigador Gonzalo Millán del Pozo, que estima que la cifra supera los 160.000 millones.

    Lo tenían claro especialistas del prestigio de Javier Nieto, que denunció en los 70 que buceadores franceses venían de vacaciones a nuestro país y aprovechaban el vacío legal para saquear los fondos marinos. Y las 28 empresas que en EE UU se dedican, oficialmente, a «localizar y rescatar pecios».

    Lo intuían los documentalistas del Archivo de Indias, los aficionados a las inmersiones superficiales que desde los 60 acumulan colecciones particulares dignas de cualquier museo, los tasadores, los compradores y los anticuarios.

    El litoral era un filón, inmenso y desprotegido. Se trataba de llegar, sondear las coordenadas, cargar la botella, 'pescar' las piezas y venderlas, a ser posible, dentro de nuestras fronteras.

    Algunos cazatesoros, como el italiano Claudio Bonifacio, hasta concedían entrevistas, y posaban tan tranquilos para la foto de primera, bronceados y con gesto intrépido, emulando a los viejos lobos de mar.

    Al circuito sólo le faltaban anuncios en prensa, vallas publicitarias y luces de neón. Reinaba la impunidad.

    A mediados de los 80, el Gobierno dio los primeros y tímidos pasos para atajar el desavío, incluyendo los yacimientos submarinos en la Ley de Patrimonio Histórico.

    En los 90, los Centros de Arqueología Subacuática (Cataluña, Cartagena, Andalucía) se convirtieron en las primeras entidades especializadas en la investigación histórica de los fondos.

    Leer más...

  • Davy Jones's lock-up

    Bridgeman Art Library

    From The Economist

    A shipwreck is a catastrophe for those involved, but for historians and archaeologists of future generations it is an opportunity.

    Wrecks offer glimpses not only of the nautical technology of the past but also of its economy, trade, culture and, sometimes, its warfare.

    Until recently, though, most of the 3m ships estimated to be lying on the seabed have been out of reach. Underwater archaeology has mainly been the preserve of scuba divers.

    That has limited the endeavor to waters less than 50 meters deep, excluding 98% of the sea floor from inspection.

    Even allowing for the tendency of trading vessels to be coasters rather than ocean-going ships, that limits the number of wrecks available for discovery and examination.

    Moreover, shallow-water shipwrecks are often damaged. Storms reach down to affect them. Seaweeds and corals, which need light to grow, colonize them.

    Freelance divers, seeking salvage rather than knowledge, despoil them. Archaeologists do sometimes team up with people who have access to miniature submarines (some manned, some unmanned) to explore deeper waters.

    But such expeditions are expensive—a million dollars a pop is not untypical—and archaeology is not a well-resourced profession. Often, these expeditions are privately financed, speculative ventures which amount to little more than treasure-hunting.

    Modern robotics, however, is changing this. A new generation of cheap, free-swimming, automatic underwater vehicles (AUVs) is being developed. Past minisubs have needed a lot of backup and, if unmanned, have had to be guided by signals passing down tethers.

    Their mother-ships have thus had to be fitted out specially, which is one reason for the expense. An AUV, by contrast, can be dropped into the ocean and left to fend for itself. A wider range of vessels can thus support it.


  • Citrus, Marion county divers to help find old shipwrecks

    From Citrus County Local News

    The Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN), Hernando Past and Southeastern Archaeological Services invite the public to Bayport Park from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday to watch archaeologists, FPAN staff and volunteer divers record possible shipwrecks located during recent remote sensing surveys.

    Bayport was the site of two brief engagements between Confederate land troops and Union blockading vessels during which several blockade runners were "scuttled,” or burned, on purpose by the Confederacy to keep them out of Union hands.

    The archaeological remains of Civil War-era vessels associated with these events are reported to lie in the waters off Bayport.

    Archaeologists are concerned about the preservation of the submerged cultural resources at Bayport and recently conducted a remote sensing survey in the hopes of relocating the archaeological remains of the blockade runners.

    The blockade running vessels used in and around Bayport were designed to navigate the shallow waters of the central gulf coast; however, no documents exist that show how these vessels were built.

    Archaeologists hope the archaeological remains, if located, will provide knowledge about this unique ship construction.



  • Caesar rises: several millennia's artefacts from the bed of the Rhone

    Museum in Arles

    By Eloi Rouyer - AFP

    In a dark space in a new exhibition at Arles museum in southern France, underwater sounds play over looped video footage of scientists on underwater digs along the Rhone riverbed.

    An intrepid team of archaeologists have been diving for 20 years, struggling with poor visibility, strong currents and flipper-nibbling bullhead catfish to bring up the 500 or so objects now being displayed.

    In 2007, just when these Indiana Joneses of the water were ready to hang up their wet suits, they bumped into intriguing column fragments, friezes and chunks of mausoleums.

    And then they brought up the most extraordinary buried treasure of all: a bust of Julius Caesar.

    The find, dated 46 BC, is all the more remarkable for likely being made during the emperor's lifetime and provides the centrepiece for the exhibition organised by Luc Long, head of the French state department for archaeological, subaquatic and deepsea research.

    The "unifying theme" in "Caesar, the Rhone for Memory", running to September 2010, is "to maintain the feeling of going on a journey with the archaeologist, following every stage of their work from the site of the digs right up to the restoration and exhibition of the artifacts", says its designer Pierre Berthier.

    The collection shows ancient Arles was not only a port and place of passage, but "decorated" and "monumental" says Long, "an ostentatious facade aiming to display Rome's wealth and power".

    The most stunning finds are together in the last room of the exhibition that Long calls "the saint of saints".

    Alongside Caesar is the 1.8-metre (six-food) marble statue of the god Neptune dating from the beginning of the third century AD, and a bronze satyr with its hands tied behind its back.

    "We made new and very beautiful discoveries in 2009," Long said, "which leaves one thinking that we have not come to the end of the reserves that this great natural museum -- the Rhone river -- still holds".

    More to read...

  • Divers probe Mayan ruins submerged in Guatemala Lake

    By Mica Rosenberg and Jackie Frank - ABC News

    Scuba divers are exploring the depths of a volcanic lake in Guatemala to find clues about an ancient sacred island where Mayan pilgrims flocked to worship before it was submerged by rising waters.

    Samabaj, the first underwater archaeological ruins excavated in Guatemala, were discovered accidentally 12 years ago by a diver exploring picturesque Lake Atitlan, ringed by Mayan villages and popular with foreign tourists.

    "No one believed me, even when I told them all about it. They just said 'he's mad'," said Roberto Samayoa, a businessman and recreational diver who grew up near the lake where his grandmother told him legends of a sunken church.

    Samayoa dived for years at the lake, often stumbling across pieces of pottery from the Mayan pre-classic period. In 1996, he found the site, with parts of buildings and huge ceremonial stones, known as stelae, clearly visible.

    He named it Samabaj, after himself, but only in the past year have professional archeologists taken an interest, mapping the 4,300-square-foot (400-square-meter) area with sonar technology and excavating structures on a raised part of the lake bed.

    Researchers believe this area, 50 feet below the lake's surface, was once an island until a catastrophic event, like a volcanic eruption or landslide, raised water levels.

  • Shipwreck pillage threatens heritage

    American barquentine Addenda

    By Tanya Katterns - The Dominion Post

    For more than a century, the wreck of the barquentine Addenda has lain in its sandy grave, a reminder of the treacherous seas off Cape Palliser.

    But now vandals have tampered with the wreck, taking pieces of timber and exposing fragile pieces to the air.

    Conservation Department Wairarapa area manager Chris Lester said holes had been dug around the wreck on the rugged south Wairarapa coast and pieces of it removed.

    Mr Lester said the vandalism may have been an act of curiosity but could have far-reaching consequences for what was left of the ship.

    "Even just exposing the timbers to air means they will start to deteriorate faster."

    The remains of the Addenda, in three sections, are buried near the eastern end of Onoke Spit and just iron hull fasteners can be seen jutting above the sand.

    More to read...


  • Grid makes a SPLASH in underwater archaeology


    From ISGTW

    Submerged beneath the waves lies a large part of human history.

    For our ancestors, the ancient coastlines were attractive places to settle and experiment with what became the foundations of civilization.

    As the major glaciers melted between sixteen and six thousand years ago, these sites — where people first began to make fishing equipment, build boats and create permanent settlements — became engulfed by the rising seas.

    But rather than destroying these ancient landscapes, the rising sea level instead preserved many of them, and with them many details in the story of our past.

    “We have a lot to learn by looking under-water. There are many sites to discover and examine, and preservation is in fact often better than on land,” says Geoff Bailey, at the Department of Archaeology, University of York, UK.

    “There are large gaps in our general knowledge of early history.”


  • Ship over 2,000 years old found in Novalja

    By Joseph Stedul - Javno

    In the Caska Bay on the Island of Pag, near Novalja, an ancient sewn ship over 2,000 years old was found.

    This is the result of research done by the city of Novalja and the Zadar University, in cooperation with the French institute for scientific research (CNRS-CCJ University in Marseille) and numerous other foreign associates.

    Archaeologists have found a ancient sewn ship more than 2000 years old in Pag’s Caska Bay, reports

    The research, which was organized by the City of Novalja in cooperation with the Zadar University in cooperation with the French national institute for scientific research, was led by professor Zdenko Brusic from the Zadar University.

    More to read...

  • A history of discovering seabed treasures

    By Anchalee Kongrut - Bangkok Post

    Underwater archaeologist Erbprem Vatcharangkul takes pride in recovering ancient items in the sea to make sense of it all and better understand the past.

    What is your idea of a romantic and adventurous career ?

    Answers tend to vary - an explorer, a professional extreme sports athlete, a treasure hunter, or a character in any Hollywood action film such as Indiana Jones.

    One career that might fit the notion of being romantically adventurous could be that of Erbprem Vatcharangkul, 55, and one of few underwater archaeologists in Thailand.

    The position of Chief of Underwater Archaeology Division, Fine Arts Department (FAD), Cultural Ministry, brings to mind footage that is commonly found in National Geographic features.

    Almost every week, Erbprem jumps on to a boat and goes for a dive with the hope of recovering cargo items or any historical evidence from wreck sites, which are mostly remains of ancient commercial ships from the Ayutthaya period some 600 years ago.

    Erbprem said he feels like a detective when approaching these mysterious ancient vessels.

    "It is quiet and very, very cold under the sea. When you approach a [wreck] site, everything is blurred and you cannot distinguish A from B. Eventually, the images become slightly clearer, but you still have to touch the subject with your hands, taking care you don't destroy it. Sometimes, you don't even know what you've found once you're back in the boat," said Erbprem, describing his experience under the water.

    The richest archaeological site his team found was Bang Rachai - an ancient vessel dating back almost 400 years, which cruised along commercial port towns within the Gulf of Thailand, loading and delivering goods.

  • Raising the Vasa: exploring Sweden's most famous ship

    By G. Irvin Lipp

    Wilmington, Delaware, April 16, 2009 The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, in keeping with its educational mission to enrich the lives of students of all ages, today announced its second lecture in a new series designed to engage the intellectual interest of all Delawareans.

    For its second lecture, the Foundation will present Dr. Frederick Hocker, the Vasa Museum's Director of Research, which will take place at the Chase Center on the Riverfront on May 13, 2009. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring Fred Hocker to the greater Wilmington community,” said Samuel Heed, the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation's Director of Education.

    “Dr. Hocker comes to us all the way from Stockholm, Sweden,” Heed noted, “where he is the Director of Research at the world famous Vasa Museum. Dr. Hocker is one of the world's leading authorities on maritime archaeology.

    He has been directing the archeological research at the Vasa Museum since 2003, where he is responsible for documenting and publishing all the archaeological finds associated with the extraordinary Vasa.” The Vasa is reputed to be the biggest single object that has ever been preserved, a monumental undertaking, one that continues to delight and surprise all sorts of historians and archaeologists.


  • Awesome wreck dives - Casting call - Diver co-hosts

    Wreck dive

    Emmy-winning production company will produce an on-going reality-based TV series of a hardcore shipwreck diver who teams up with a female underwater archaeologist to explore the best wrecks in the world accessible to everyday sport divers.

    Across the globe, the ocean floor is littered with the wrecks of seafaring mankind. Viking longships, steamships, submarines, warships and Spanish galleons. Each has a unique and fatal story, many are submerged tombs, and some hold unbelievable treasure.

    For an underwater archaeologist, wrecks are priceless and fragile time capsules, glimpses into past lives and cultures. For salvage divers, wrecks offer more tangible rewards -- from gleaming brass ships’ bells to Spanish gold.

    In Awesome Wreck Dives, viewers will join our co-hosts as they research, dive and explore the world’s most exhilarating wrecks, unaided by submersibles and hi-tech professional equipment.

    Both topside and deep within the wrecks, our cameras will be there to capture the fear, excitement and challenge of sport wreck diving at its very best.


  • Wreck diving in Sri Lanka

    Great Basses reef

    By Sri Lanka Navy Wreck Divers

    During the recent past number of Maritime Archaeology Projects were launched by Archaeology Department and Central Cultural Fund (CCF) of Sri Lanka. Most of these projects were funded by UNESCO.

    Even though, Archaeology Department of Sri Lanka has few divers (some are qualified others not) at Maritime Archaeology Unit, Galle, Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) has provided support in terms of divers, boats, diving equipments in big way in all successful underwater archaeology projects.

    The last being the Galle Harbour project 1992, which was launched to recover what ever possible artifacts from 25 historical (more than 100 years old) Maritime Archaeological sites within the Galle Harbour, prior to commencement of Galle Harbour Expansion Project dredging work.

    A separate Maritime Archaeology Museum was established in Galle Fort in 1993 (later damaged during Tsunami disaster in 2004) and whatever possible artifacts from wrecks in Galle Harbour were recovered.

    However delay in commencement of proposed Galle Harbour expansion project has reduced the importance of this Maritime Archaeology in Galle. Excavation of VOC ship ‘Avondster’ (which was sunk in 1659) was the highlights of this Galle Harbour project.

    More to read...

  • Greek fisherman nets 2,200-year-old bronze statue

    From The Associated Press

    A Greek fisherman must have been expecting a monster of a catch when he brought up his nets in the Aegean Sea last week. Instead, Greek authorities say his haul was a section of a 2,200-year-old bronze statue of a horseman.

    A Culture Ministry announcement said Monday the accidental find was made in waters between the eastern islands of Kos and Kalymnos.

    The fisherman handed over the corroded metal figure to authorities, who have started the cleaning process. Dating to the late 2nd century B.C., the statue represented a male rider wearing ornate breast armor over a short tunic and armed with a sheathed sword.

    The trunk of the horseman and his raised right arm have survived.


  • Turkey's Aegean explored in underwater archaeology excavations

    Turkey exploration

    From Balkan Travellers

    Archaeologists announced today they have begun underwater excavations of the prehistoric site of Limantepe in western Turkey.

    The underwater research, headed by Professor Hayat Erkanal of the Archaeology Department of the Ankara University, explores the prehistoric settlement located in the coastal town of Urla near İzmir in western Turkey.

    The harbour settlement was inhabited as early as starting from 6,000 years ago and, as such, it is one of the oldest known artificial harbours in the Aegean Sea.

    A big part of it, including a fortification wall, was submerged in the sea due to a massive earthquake which occurred in 700 BC, according to Erkenal.

    Layers from three different periods have been found at Limantepe. The lowest layer belongs to the Early Bronze Age and dates from the third millennium BC onwards. The second one dates to the Middle Bronze Age from the first half of the second millennium BC onwards.

    According to experts, evidence from these two early periods indicate cultural ties with the nearby prehistoric sites of Tepekule, Bayraklı within the city of İzmir and the Panaztepe site at the mouth of the River Gediz.

    More to read...

  • ROV investigates 2,000 year-old Roman wreck

    Amphoras   R.O.V

    From Engineer Live

    A Saab Seaeye Falcon ROV has been used to investigate the wreck of a Roman ship outside the Spanish harbour of Cartagena.

    The wreck is believed to be 2,200 years old. Its cargo included thousands of amphora of wine. The clay jars were still carefully packed in the hold.

    The discovery was made by explorers working for the Aurora Trust, a not-for-profit oceanographic exploration, education and archaeological organisation based in Malta. 

    Working with the National Centre for Underwater Archaeology of Spain, the Aurora Trust has created a map of the submerged cultural heritage on the seabed outside the harbour, and have set about targeting various items of interest.


  • Researchers look for shipwrecks

    By Eugene Boisvert

    Researchers from Flinders University recently spent a week near Streaky Bay looking for two shipwrecks and the remains of camps set up to salvage material from the ships.

    “We’re researching the location of two shipwrecks in Sceale Bay,” associate lecturer Emily Jateff said. “One is the Arachne lost in 1848 and the other one is Elizabeth Rebecca and that was lost here in 1845.

    “And we’re also looking for information on a third vessel, Camilla, lost in – we think – the northwest quadrant of Streaky Bay in 1844 and all three were involved in the whaling operations here.”

    They found some material from the salvage camp at Sceale Bay but no conclusive evidence for the location of either ship. “A location of a shipwreck in Sceale Bay that was shown to … and we’ve done magnetometer surveys there. The magnetometer found iron.”

    Iron can indicate the bolts that were used to put the ship together but many of these were taken by the crew, who all survived. The academics visited the Streaky Bay Museum and spoke to people in Streaky Bay and nearby towns, who all knew a little information, or had heard about, the shipwrecks.

    “The interesting thing is information comes from very different sources,” said Associate Professor Dr Mark Staniforth, an expert in marine archeology.

    “The people in Yanerbie know of the area near Yanerbie but people in Sceale Bay know much more about that area…



  • Urla to host underwater Archeopark

    From Hurriyet Daily News

    The world’s second underwater "Archeopark" will be created in İzmir’s Karaburun district by the 360 Degree Historical Research Foundation, Ankara University and İzmir Underwater Foundation.

    A ship prepared in Urla within the Mordoğan Yapay Resif Projesi will be sunk in Mordoğan at the end of the month. This will create a platform for the study of underwater archaeology, and contribute to the development of diving tourism. 

    "The sinking in Mordoğan will be the second example in the world after that in Kaş," archaeologist Osman Erkurt said. "We think the underwater archeopark to be constructed here will be very important for scientific research. This project is being conducted with the contribution of Ankara University and the Urla and Mordoğan municipalities." 

    "As widely known, amateur divers are not allowed to conduct research on ancient sunken ships. This will facilitate these divers to widen their field of specialization," said Professor Hayat Erkanal, chairman of Limantepe Excavations. 

    "The Mordoğan district is very important for excavations. Erkanal is struggling to make people conscious of our history by revealing our historical values so they can understand its importance.

    We, as the local authorities, will cooperate in this pursuit," said M. Selçuk Karaosmanoğlu, Urla mayor. 

    "We initiated this important project to attract amateur divers around İzmir to this district. We aim to turn our district into an underground center and publicize this value to the whole world," explained Mordoğan Mayor Ahmet Çakır.

  • Crash barriers to save shipwreck

    By Michael Hopkin

    Scientists have enlisted an unlikely ally in their bid to protect one of WA’s most historically important shipwrecks.
    They are aiming to adapt road crash barriers into a makeshift corral that will protect the James Matthews from the shifting tides.
    WA Museum expert Vicki Richards said the plan was to place the plastic barriers in a ring around the wreck, which is lying in Cockburn Sound near Woodman Point, allowing it to be buried in sand to prevent decay. The homemade sandbox would stop sediment being stripped away and exposing the boat’s delicate hull.
    Maintaining a layer of sediment on top of shipwrecks offered the best hope of preserving the historical treasures in their original resting places, Ms Richards said.
    “The wood can be exposed and eaten by marine worms. We were losing this historic shipwreck,” she said.
    The James Matthews, a former slave ship turned merchant vessel, sank in 1841. It was excavated in the 1970s but its hull remains on the seabed 100m from the shore.

  • L'Estaque, nouvelle base mondiale de l'archéologie sous-marine

    From La Provence

    Créé en 1966 par André Malraux, alors ministre de la Culture du Général de Gaulle, le Département des recherches archéologiques subaquatiques et sous-marines (D.r.a.s.s.m) s'apprête à vivre un tournant dans son histoire avec l'inauguration de son nouveau siège national par Christine Albanel, actuel ministre de la Culture.

    Dirigé par Michel l'Hour, le D.r.a.s.s.m quitte donc ses locaux vétustes et inconfortables du fort Saint-Jean, dans le Vieux Port, pour prendre ses quartiers à l'Estaque, dans un bâtiment flambant neuf, beaucoup plus fonctionnel et d'une surface totale d'environ 2000 m².

    Ce déménagement fait suite au transfert, il y a quelques mois, des collections du Drassm dans un centre de stockage situé dans la zone industrielle des Milles, près d'Aix-en-Provence; centre où sont désormais préservés dans des conditions optimales les quelque 21000 objets remontés du fond depuis quarante ans.

    Ne resteront à Marseille que les pièces en cours d'études ou de traitement en vue de leur conservation.


  • A la recherche des trésors engloutis

    From Var Matin

    Missionnée par le Département des recherches archéologiques et sous-marines, Anne Joncheray a relevé une trentaine de sites dans le golfe de Saint-Tropez.

    Entre le cap Lardier et Camarat, les eaux du golfe recèlent des trésors. Faits d'argile, de verre, de bois ou de corail. Anne Joncherey, directrice du musée archéologique de Saint-Raphaël, les a répertoriés. Patiemment avec ses quinze amis scientifiques...

    Des bénévoles qui, d'avril à juillet, ont plongé sur d'anciens sites. Épaves antiques ou contemporaines, zones archéologiques subaquatiques, les spécialistes passionnés ont ainsi dénombré une trentaine de positions. Ce qui est beaucoup.

    Lieu de passage lors du commerce de cabotage, le golfe de Saint-Tropez est depuis l'Antiquité l'une des destinations phares de Méditerranée.

    « Et forcément, précise Anne Joncheray, on retrouve des épaves et des lieux de relâche comme à Bonne Terrasse sous Camarat, où les marins d'avant notre ère et les plaisanciers d'aujourd'hui font tomber dans l'eau des objets usuels. »



  • Why I oppose commercializing underwater wrecks

    Painting of a wreck

    From Archaeology

    The glee that I took last week in seeing the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage coming into force seems to have provoked much puzzlement on the part of readers.

    While most respondents agreed that historic shipwrecks scattered on the ocean floor deserved careful archaeological study, many wondered why academic or non-commercial archaeologists should have exclusive right to the world’s underwater heritage.

    “Why is it wrong for a private company,” wrote one thoughtful reader, “if it did the excavation the same way a museum or university would have done it, and disseminated the information about it (whether in AJA or on Discovery Channel), why is it wrong for them to keep what they found ?

    Why is that any different from the many, many boxes of artifacts that museums have stowed away [and] gather dust not to be seen by anyone?”

    There are several points here which I think are important. To begin with, I have yet to come across a treasure-hunting company operation that even comes remotely close to most government- or university-sponsored excavations.

    Excavating a shipwreck is a very time-consuming and laborious operation. Quite apart from the slow, tedious work of excavating and meticulously recording an underwater site (work that takes even longer at the bottom of the sea than it does on land), there is the delicate, decade-long or more business of stabilizing and conserving artifacts removed from the water.

    Then there is the analysis and publication of the finds.

    More to read...

  • Shipwrecks harbor evidence of ancient sophistication

    By Bruce Bower

    Surprising insights about ancient shipbuilding have floated to the surface from the submerged remnants of two major harbors, one on Israel’s coast and the other bordering Istanbul, Turkey.

    Researchers described their finds January 9 at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America. 

    Analyses of salvaged crafts indicate that shipbuilders started making sophisticated frames for their vessels by about 1,500 years ago, 500 years earlier than had been suspected, reported Yaakov Kahanov of the University of Haifa in Israel.

    By a few hundred years later, craft constructors had steadily improved hull designs for a diverse collection of ships, says Cemal Pulak of Texas A&M University in College Station.

    Frames provided greater structural stability for ships than an earlier hull-building technique that had relied on joining planks with adhesives and fasteners to form a shell. Such vessels date to as early as approximately 2,000 years ago.

    Kahanov and his colleagues have documented the existence of frame-based hulls on five shipwrecks, all from the fifth to ninth centuries. Water-logged wood from the vessels was recovered at the now-submerged Mediterranean harbor off the island of Dor in Tantura Lagoon, south of Haifa. Researchers then transported the finds to the University of Haifa for study.



  • Archaeologists explore sunken steamboat on first coast


    By First Coasts News 

    On Crescent Lake, there are beautiful birds, turtles, and alligators. But a crew is looking for a different kind of alligator on the edge of the lake.

    A team of archaeologists and volunteers are working on a wreck of a steamboat. They want to know if it could be the Alligator which carried cargo and tourists down the St. Johns and Ocklawaha Rivers around the turn of the century. 

    Dan Smith was one of the half dozen people on the east side of Crescent Lake. He smiled and said, "This is fun.

    I've never done anything like this before. I'm trying to do my best not to get in the way of people who know what they're doing."

    Smith is not an archaeologist but a retired meteorologist. However, he may be the man who knows the most about Alligator.

    He has researched steamboats and Alligator for about 15 years. He asked the staff at the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) in St. Augustine to help determine if the wreck on Crescent Lake is the wrecked Alligator that burned 99 years ago.


  • Archaeologist at Shipwreck and Coastal Heritage Centre

    Peter Marsden

    From the Rye and Battle Observer

    Archaeologist Dr Peter Marsden, of the Shipwreck and Coastal Heritage Centre, has won a coveted prize for his presentation on Bulverhythe.

    He was awarded first place in the British Association Festival of Science in Liverpool after being selected as one of eight finalists to give a talk the public and panel of heritage judges. 

    Archaeologist Julian Richards, presenter of television program Meet the Ancestors, handed out the awards.


  • Fishbones reveal our ancient transport secrets

    By Clodagh Sheehy

    Old fish bones and dead insects could be the key to the story of Ireland's transport system, 500 years before gridlock.

    The fish bones, insect carcasses and dead plant material are wedged in the timbers of a medieval boat recovered from the river Boyne, near Drogheda.

    The boat has now been lifted from the river-bed and the Department of Environment is looking for experts who will be able to unravel the story from minute remains left in the vessel.

    The "Drogheda Boat" was discovered during dredging operations in the river and carbon dating of some of the timbers suggest it is at least 500 years old.

    The Department wants a proper analysis, which should be able to pinpoint the age of the boat to within a couple of decades.

    The wreck of the medieval coastal boat is the first discovery of its kind in Ireland and, unusually, much of the boat is intact.

    It was excavated and lifted from the river bed by the Department's Underwater Archaeology Unit in cooperation with the National Museum of Ireland and Drogheda Port company.


  • Ship built in Bay City to become an underwater preserve

    USS Dexter

    By Tim Younkman

    Another piece of Bay City's shipbuilding history will be sent to the bottom of Lake Michigan this fall but it won't be an accident.

    The 83-year-old USS Dexter, now known as the Buccaneer, built by Defoe Boat and Motor Works of Bay City in 1925 will be scuttled in late October for divers to examine and explore off the Chicago shoreline, says Joan Forsberg, president of the Underwater Archeological Society of Chicago.

    The 100-foot-long ship was one of 13 patrol boats constructed for the U.S. Coast Guard by Defoe in 1925-26 to be used against rum runners both on the Great Lakes and in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The ship had been used in recent years as an excursion party boat by the Wagner Charter Co., of Chicago, before being purchased for use by the Underwater Archeological Society of Chicago, Forsberg said.



  • All hands on deck to save sunken historic galleon, the HMS London

    By Will Pavia, Frank Pope and Tom Sheldrick

    When Charles Trollope, an internationally renowned expert on historic ordnance, arrived at the Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson, Hampshire, to view five cannon salvaged from the sea, he came to a stark conclusion.

    An historic site had apparently been stripped of valuable artefacts by an independent diving team and an important piece of Britain’s heritage was soon to be put up for sale.

    So began a fight to save one of the bronze cannon, whose provenance is still in dispute, and to protect the remains of HMS London, a 17th-century warship, from the expeditions of profiteering salvage companies. 

    After an investigation by The Times and outrage among historians and marine archaeologists, English Heritage said that it had applied to have the wreck listed as a protected site, ensuring that further independent salvage expeditions were illegal.

  • Ancient mouse offers clues to royal shipwreck

    From New Scientist

    Remains of a long dead house mouse have been found in the wreck of a Bronze Age royal ship.

    That makes it the earliest rodent stowaway ever recorded, and proof of how house mice spread around the world.

    Archaeologist Thomas Cucchi of the University of Durham, UK, identified a fragment of a mouse jaw in sediment from a ship that sank 3500 years ago off the coast of Turkey.

    The cargo of ebony, ivory, silver and gold - including a gold scarab with the name of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti - indicates it was a royal vessel. Because the cargo carried artefacts from many cultures, its nationality and route is hotly debated, but the mouse's jaw may provide answers.

    Cucchi's analysis confirms it belonged to Mus musculus domesticus, the only species known to live in close quarters with humans (Journal of Archaeological Science, vol 35, p 2953).

    The shape of the molars suggests the mouse came from the northern Levantine coast, as they are similar to those of modern house mice in Syria, near Cyprus.

    And, when generations of rodents live aboard ships, they evolve larger body shapes.

    Yet this mouse was roughly the same shape and size as other small, land-dwelling mice of the time, suggesting it boarded just before the ship set sail.

  • Old father Thames gives up his secrets

    By Francis Pope

    The dark waters of the Thames estuary are the last resting place of a secret sunken navy - from 17th-century galleons to Second World War victims of the Luftwaffe.

    Now the London Port Authority is deepening shipping channels to allow some of the world's biggest boats to approach the capital. As a result of the dredging, historic shipwrecks are again seeing the light of day.

    The HMS London should have been an auspicious ship; she was one of the first vessels of Charles II's reformed Royal Navy, having been part of the fleet that brought him back from exile in the Netherlands in 1660 to end the anarchy that had reigned since Cromwell's death two years previously. Yet she was anything but lucky. 

    When she was lost in 1665 all was peaceful: we were between squabbles with the Dutch. The London was sailing up the river with 300 men and noblemen on board - and 14 tons of gunpowder.

    Either traders had sold the ship cheap, unstable powder, or a flame - from a candle carried by a crew member - blew up the warship.

  • DNA survives two millennia underwater to shed light on amphorae

    By Norman Hammond

    Amphorae were the workaday containers of the ancient world, used to ship everything from aromatic wine to smelly fish sauce around the Mediterranean and beyond.

    Thousands have been found, in shipwrecks and in fragments at their destinations. 

    Over the years, certain assumptions have grown up as to what was shipped in particular forms of amphorae and from specific source areas, and the remains of pottery containers have stood proxy for their presumed contents’ significance in ancient economies.

    In most cases no direct evidence of those contents could be obtained: long burial in the ground or on the seabed had, it was thought, washed away any evidence. 

    A new study now shows that traces of ancient DNA can survive more than two millennia underwater.

    These can be multiplied using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) established in forensic analysis to yield evidence of what the amphorae contained: sometimes the results are surprising.


  • Looters heading for Greece

    From Blueflipper

    With the opening of dive sites of once forbidden areas to divers, Greece is becoming a haven for looters.

    When it was first proposed, it seemed like a good idea: open up the Greek seas to divers and create a paradise for tourists underwater.

    Those who backed the law never thought of it as a windfall for looters, nor did it occur to them that it might put the acquisition policies of museums under further scrutiny.

    But the Greek parliament's unprecedented step last month to allow divers access to the once forbidden coastline has raised fears that archaeological riches preserved in an untouched world will be taken by ruthless thieves.

    "There are treasures in our seas," says Dimitris Athanasoulis, president of the Archaeologists' Association. "This will open the floodgates to smugglers.

    It'll serve to encourage them at a time when evidence shows the trafficking of antiquities is on the rise."

  • Website following archaeologists to the bottom of the lake

    From Johns Hopkins University

    Follow along online as Johns Hopkins University Egyptologist Betsy Bryan and her team of graduate students, artists, conservators and photographers expand their investigation of Mut Temple this summer, turning their attention to the temple's Sacred Lake.

    Bryan and her crew are once again in Luxor, Egypt, sharing their work via "Hopkins in Egypt Today," their popular digital diary offering a virtual window into day-to-day life on an archaeological dig. 

    In collaboration with the American Research Center in Egypt, which also supports Johns Hopkins' work inside the temple proper, Bryan will excavate on the northeast arm of the lake after ARCE's engineers have drained the lake.

    Excavation will proceed from the region of an ancient stone dock in a swath around 20 meters in breadth down into the basin of the drained lake.

    Any materials found in the lake bed will be conserved and desalinated near the bank of the lake before being transferred to a protected environment.

    The primary goal of this brief dig is to develop procedures for more extensive excavation of the lake next year. The lake will be refilled with less saline water after the work is completed in July and will be drained again next winter when the dig resumes.

    The team will consist of former Johns Hopkins graduate student Violaine Chauvet, now a lecturer in Egyptology at University of Liverpool in England; photographers Jay Van Rensselaer and Will Kirk; Hiroko Kariya, stone conservator; Will Schenck and Keli Alberts, artists; Lotfi Hassan, conservator; and three Johns Hopkins graduate students, Ashley Fiutko, Shaina Norvell-Cold, and Meredith Fraser, all of whom are finishing their first-year studies.



  • The search for an Egyptian Pharoh off Cartagena

    From Typically Spanish

    A schooner carrying the sarcophagus is thought to have sunk in waters off Cartagena in 1838.

    Egypt wants to search for the sarcophagus of the Pharaoh Menkaure in Spanish waters off Cartagena, and finance is already being assembled for the project.

    The EFE news agency quotes sources in the Egyptian government, with the General Secretary of the Supreme Council for Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, said that the National Geographic channel had been asked to help in funding the search.

    They wanted to employ Robert Ballard, the man who found the Titanic, to lead the search.

    The sarcophagus went down when the schooner Beatrice went down when it was being taken with other pieces to the British Museum in London in 1838.

    The sarcophagus had been found in 1837 by the British archaeologist Howard Vyse.


  • Tsunami or melting glaciers: What caused ancient Atlit to sink ?

    By Ofri Ilani

    At the bottom of the sea, some 300 meters west of the Atlit fortress, lies one of the greatest archaeological mysteries of the Mediterranean basin.

    About 20 years ago, archaeologists discovered a complex of ancient buildings and ancient graves with dozens of skeletons at the underwater site of Atlit-Yam.

    The team of marine archaeologists that excavated the site, headed by Dr. Ehud Galili of the Israel Antiquities Authority, came to the conclusion that an ancient settlement once existed there, but sank beneath the surface of the sea some 8,000 years ago.

    The finds at the site, including goat and pig bones and wheat seeds, indicate that it was a well-established community whose residents supported themselves by agriculture, hunting, fishing and animal husbandry.

    Over the past few months, a major argument has erupted among researchers over what caused the village and the surrounding region to flood.

    A few months ago, a team of geologists from Pisa, Italy published a paper that offers a dramatic theory about how the ancient settlement met its end.

    They claim that the settlement was submerged all at once by a tsunami in the Mediterranean, causing the death of dozens of its inhabitants.

    This theory attributes the tsunami to something that happened thousands of kilometers away.


  • Old ship gives up treasures in Cyprus

    From Famagusta Gazette

    The first amphorae from a 4th century BC ship have been brought to the surface by a team of Cypriot experts.

    It is believed that the commercial vessel, possibly carrying wine from the Greek island of Chios, sunk off Cyprus’ southern coast. It is said to have been carrying about 500 amphorae.

    Dr. Stella Demesticha, Visiting Lecturer of Underwater Archaeology at the University of Cyprus, in charge of the research programme, has said that the wreck lies at a depth of 45 metres and the apmphorae had to be brought to the surface for study.

    We cannot be sure of its journey, nor of its destination but we believe it has passed by Chios and other islands in the Aegean around the middle of the 4th century BC and then arrived in Cyprus, she explained.

    She noted that so far scientists have not located anything else in the shipwreck except amphorae, adding that the shipwreck is under guard.

    Wine from Chios was believed to be of excellent quality. Of course no wine has been found but we are almost certain that the amphorae were filled with this very good quality red wine, she said.

  • Divers find Caesar bust that may date to 46 B.C.


    From Yahoo! News

    Divers trained in archeology discovered a marble bust of an aging Caesar in the Rhone River that France's Culture Ministry said Tuesday could be the oldest known.

    The life-sized bust showing the Roman ruler with wrinkles and hollows in his face is tentatively dated to 46 B.C. Divers uncovered the Caesar bust and a collection of other finds in the Rhone near the town of Arles — founded by Caesar.

    Among other items in the treasure trove of ancient objects is a 5.9 foot marble statue of Neptune, dated to the first decade of the third century after Christ.

    Two smaller statues, both in bronze and measuring 27.5 inches each also were found, one of them, a satyr with his hands tied behind his back, "doubtless" originated in Hellenic Greece, the ministry said.

  • The needle in the sea

    By Simon Worrall

    Simon Worrall sets sail for a southern island to meet a man fighting the looters of China's underwater treasure.

    It isn't easy getting to Hailing Island. As ever in China, there is the language barrier.

    I have been told to head for Yanjiang, a provincial city about three hours south-west of Guangzhou, or Canton, as it used to be. But the receptionist at my hotel hears the name of the city as Zhangjiang. Finally, after much poring over maps, we get the right place...

    I am not here for a holiday, though. I have come to meet a man called Zhang Wei, head of China's marine archaeology unit. An energetic man of 52 with a winning smile and a mop of black hair, he drives an Audi and dresses in smart western clothes.

    Dangling from a silver chain under his pink cotton shirt is a chunk of jade worth more than £1,000. His cellphone rings incessantly.

    "We estimate that there are 2,000 ancient shipwrecks in the territorial waters of China," he says, as we sit drinking "Kungfu" tea from thimble-sized cups at the marine archaeology unit's base, which doubles as a hotel.

    In a classroom below us, a group of students, including two from Kenya, pore over barometric tables. Through the window, we can see brightly painted fishing boats bobbing on the waves.

    "We have identified more than a hundred sites off the coast of Guangdong and Fujian alone."

    Full story...



  • Divers pull out 140-year-old cannon

    By Randi Somers

    Less than six months after surfacing from the 140-year-old wreckage of the Torrent, diver and shipwreck hunter Steve Lloyd was ready to head back under the icy cold waters of Dangerous Cape to bring up a fairly significant artifact from the 641-ton U.S. Army ship.

    State and federal archaeologists, along with a shipwreck consultant, have joined Lloyd's shipwreck discovery team to attempt to raise the ship's bronze howitzer cannon to the water's surface.

    If they succeed, the team will bring the big gun into Homer Harbor for transport up the road to Anchorage.

    Three archeologists will monitor and verify the removal of artifacts from the site.

    They include: Dave McMahan, State Archeologist with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources Office of History and Archeology; Tane Casserly, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and Jason Rogers, a consultant with a private firm of underwater archeologists in Anchorage.


  • Message in a 2,400-year-old bottle

    By Roger Highfield

    A new DNA technique could provide a revolutionary insight into the lives of the Ancient Greeks - using jars that have lain on the seabed for millennia.

    These amphoras were the cargo containers of the ancient world, used for shipping all kinds of things, from wine to olive oil.

    Studying those left in shipwrecks could tell us much about the trade, agriculture and climate of historic societies - except that the contents wash away over the centuries, leaving archaeologists with glorified empty bottles.

    Now a team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the US and Lund University in Sweden has performed the first successful extraction of DNA from the remains of a 2,400-year-old shipwreck off the Greek island of Chios.

    The wooden merchant ship sank in the fourth century BC, coming to rest 70 metres down.


  • Roman wreck may point to massive battle

    A shipwreck from the imperial Roman era, found off Cyprus, could lead to the discovery of vessels sunk in antiquity's largest naval engagement, the Battle of Salamis in 306 BC, said an official statement on Thursday.

    "According to (historian) Diodoros, it was somewhere in the area where in 306 BC the Macedonian (King) Demetrius Poliorketes triumphed over Ptolemy of Egypt in one of the largest naval battles of antiquity," said Cyprus' Antiquities Department.

    More than 300 ships were believed to have been engaged in the battle that saw Demetrius capture Cyprus.

    The Roman ship, dating from the first century AD, was discovered sunk off Cape Greco on the Mediterranean's southeast coast during an underwater survey to determine the area's long-term maritime history.

    Material found provided solid evidence of maritime traffic from the archaic or classic period.

    The discovery had encouraged international archaeologists working in deeper waters offshore, and more extensive mapping of the wreck and the seabed is planned for next summer.