Museum News

Maritime Museums News

  • Diving among ancient ruins

    0 SHARES In this photograph taken on August 18, 2021 a dive guide shows tourists a copy of the original statue preserved at the Museum of Baiae, representing Dionysus with ivy crown in the Nymphaeum of punta Epitaffio, the submerged ancient Roman city of Baiae at the Baiae Underwater Park

    From Andrea Bernardi - The Jakarta Post


    Fish dart across mosaic floors and into the ruined villas, where holidaying Romans once drank, plotted and flirted in the party town of Baiae, now an underwater archaeological park near Naples.

    Statues which once decorated luxury abodes in this beachside resort are now playgrounds for crabs off the coast of Italy, where divers can explore ruins of palaces and domed bathhouses built for emperors.

    Rome's nobility were first attracted in the 2nd century BC to the hot springs at Baiae, which sits on the coast within the Campi Flegrei -- a supervolcano known in English as the Phlegraean Fields.

    Seven emperors, including Augustus and Nero, had villas here, as did Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony. The poet Sextus Propertius described the town as a place of vice, which was "foe to virtuous creatures".

    It was where "old men behave like young boys, and lots of young boys act like young girls," according to the Roman scholar Varro.

    But by the 4th century, the porticos, marble columns, shrines and ornamental fish ponds had begun to sink due to bradyseism, the gradual rise and fall of land due to hydrothermal and seismic activity.

    The whole area, including the neighbouring commercial capital of Pozzuoli and military seat at Miseno, were submerged. Their ruins now lie between four and six metres (15 to 20 feet) underwater.

    Full story...



  • Greece opens first underwater museum

    Greek island Alonissos is home to the country’s first underwater museum: a 2,500-year-old shipwreck

    From AFP


    Emerging from the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea, Hans-Juergen Fercher has just returned from his fourth dive to where mounds of 2,500-year-old wine jars mark the site of an ancient shipwreck – and Greece’s first underwater museum.

    “This is a combination of diving and archaeological diving. It’s diving into history,” says the 48-year-old psychiatrist after pulling himself onto the deck of the Triton dive boat. “It makes it special and unique.”

    The museum beneath the waves at Peristera, a rocky outcrop off the island of Alonissos, opened in 2020, though the site has been largely mothballed until now due to Covid-19 restrictions. As Greece opens up its vital tourism industry, the site offers an example of a new and more sustainable source of revenue.

    Divers like Fercher and Danish wine-cellar maker Lisette Fredelund are willing to pay €95 (US$110) a dive – about 50 per cent more than the cost of a regular recreational scuba outing – for a guided tour of a site once the preserve of professional archaeologists.

    Full story...





  • Underwater museum of Alonissos opens soon

    The Peristera Shipwreck

    From Keep Talking Greece

    The underwater archaeological site off the island of Alonissos, the Peristera Shipwreck, will open to visitors on June 1, 2021, the Greek Culture Ministry said in a statement.

    The first underwater museum in Greece was inaugurated off  the coast of the island of Alonisos, Sporades, last summer. The Shipwreck Peristera is now the oldest marine archaeological site that can be visited.

    The site with more than 5,000 intact antique amphorae.

    The water museum of Alonisos with the famous amphorae shipwreck of 5th century BC opens its water gates for amateur divers and free diving divers in the summer months. The underwater museum is located on the site of the ancient shipwreck off the islet of Peristera, off its rocky shore on the West and at a depth of 28 meters.

    The shipwreck was discovered by a fisherman in 1985.

    The large merchant ship, probably an Athenian one, sank around 425 BC. It was loaded with wine amphorae from Mendi, an ancient city in Halkidiki, and Peparithos, today’s Skopelos. Both regions were famous in the antiquity for their wines.

    Full story...



  • Ancient shipwreck recovered off South Korea

    The exhibition at the National Museum of Korea in Seoul

    By Park Chan-kyong - South China Morning Post

    A 14th-century Chinese trading ship, which was wrecked carrying priceless cargoes before being discovered in 1976 off the southern coast of South Korea, provides an endless source of information about China’s porcelain manufacturing, maritime trade and high culture in East Asia.

    The National Museum of Korea in Seoul marked the 40th anniversary of the discovery of the treasure boat in Sinan County with a special exhibition in 2016 and published in three volumes the results of decades of examinations of 24,000 recovered relics.

    Most recently, the museum opened a special display of 180 of 800 black-glazed porcelains from the wreck. The museum also has a permanent display corner dedicated to Sinan shipwreck treasures.

    “This is a rare chance of seeing the highly prized black glazed porcelains manufactured at various kilns in 14th-century China that have been brought together in the same place,” curator Kim Young-mi said.

    Full story...



  • Ancient shipwreck to become underwater museum for divers

    Ancient amphoras lie at the bottom of the sea from the shipwreck

    From Associated Press

    Near the northern Greek island of Alonissos lies a remarkable ancient shipwreck: the remains of a massive cargo ship that changed archaeologists' understanding of shipbuilding in antiquity.

    Now this spectacular find is to become the first ancient shipwreck to be made accessible to the public in Greece, including to recreational divers. Greece's rich underwater heritage has long been hidden from view, off-limits to all but a select few, mainly archaeologists.

    Scuba diving was banned throughout the country except in a few specific locations until 2005, for fear that divers might loot the countless antiquities that still lie scattered on the country's seabed. Ancient shipwrecks and even many more recent ones are still off-limits.

    Now that seems to be gradually changing, with a new project to create underwater museums. Divers will be able to tour certain shipwrecks and non-divers will experience the sites through virtual reality in information centers on land.

    The first of these sites is the Peristera shipwreck, named for the uninhabited Greek island opposite Alonissos where it was discovered in the early 1990s.

    The cargo ship was laden with thousands of amphoras, or vases, probably containing wine, when it sank in the late 5th century B.C. All that survives is the cargo, the exposed parts of the wooden ship having long since rotted away.

    But the sight is spectacular. Thousands of ancient vases, the vast majority intact, lie in layers. Fish, sponges and other sea creatures have made the amphoras their home, adding color and life to the site. In some places, the cargo towers above divers as they pass along the perimeter of the wreck.

    Full story...



  • Deep dive into ancient history, off Xlendi

    The exhibition is open at the Cittadella in Gozo.

    By Josef Cutajar - Times of Malta

    Some 110 meters underwater off the coast of Xlendi Bay there lay, for centuries, an archaeological treasure that is now warming the cockles of archaeologists and historians.

    Unearthed in an expedition that was far from your ring-lost-in-the-sand search, the mesmerising shipwreck clasps intriguing artefacts dating back to 700 BC, knowing their origin to Phoenician traders. And for the first time on these islands, a selection of the artefacts – from what Heritage Malta describes as the oldest wreck ever found in this region – are on public display, at the Cittadella in Gozo.

    “This exhibition is another jewel in the Cittadella’s crown,” said Timmy Gambin, from the University of Malta, the man who led the search. Speaking to The Sunday Times of Malta, Prof. Gambin said the exhibition was not the end of the years’ long excavation and research.

    Over the coming years further information and more artefacts would throw additional light on that period of the island’s history. Gozitan historian George Azzopardi said this was no ordinary exhibition.

    “First, we’re dealing with an underwater excavation where the context is extremely difficult to study. Second, the wreck was found undisturbed, which is utterly rare.”

    There were at least two reasons why this archaeological discovery could be called a ‘treasure’, said Dr Azzopardi. “One is its massive size.

    We’re not talking here about a single object but about a whole wreck. Two, it looks like the wreck is the oldest from the Classical period ever found in the Mediterranean.”

    Full story...



  • Photo Galleries Franklin exhibition in London

    Ceramic plates and tunic buttons recovered from the wreck of HMS Erebus

    From The Canadian Press

    When the Canadian Museum of History began planning a new exhibition on the Franklin expedition, neither of the voyage's two doomed ships had been found.

    But after HMS Erebus was located in 2014 and HMS Terror was found in 2016, curators for the exhibit were given the opportunity to include some of the newly recovered artifacts. The exhibition, now on in the United Kingdom, also highlights the role that Inuit oral history played in finding the shipwrecks.

    "We really wanted to give credit where credit was due in the exhibition," said curator Karen Ryan. "The Inuit were in the Arctic long before Europeans went looking for the Northwest Passage.

    "What we know up until now about what happened to the Franklin expedition comes largely from Inuit oral history that has been passed down for 170 years."

    Ryan noted that Parks Canada and researchers started looking in areas where the Inuit had indicated they had seen ships still inhabited and then later deserted. The expedition led by Sir John Franklin left England in 1845 with 129 men to search for a northern sea route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

    No one ever returned, and search missions determined that both ships became icebound and were abandoned. Remains of some of the sailors have been found.

    Some theories about the ill-fated voyage include lead poisoning and spoiled tinned preserves. Interest in the mystery has remained strong in the U.K., where some people trace family trees back to Franklin's men.

    Full story...







  • Show of shipwrecked treasures raises scientists’ ire

    Gold vessels from the Belitung wreck are shown here at the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore

    By Tracy Watson - Nature

    A museum show of sumptuous treasures from a ninth-century shipwreck is being denounced by researchers, who say that commercial salvage of the artefacts irreversibly damaged the wreck’s scientific value.

    On 6 February, the Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology sent a letter of opposition to the Asia Society, the non-profit group that is mounting the show of Chinese Tang-dynasty porcelains, gold vessels and other objects from the wreck at its New York City museum. Critics fear that the exhibition, slated to open on 7 March, will encourage exploitation of wrecks by for-profit firms.

    Museums that show salvaged treasures don’t intend to promote treasure-hunting, “but that’s the effect it has”, says Marco Meniketti, an archaeologist at San José State University in California who leads the advisory council.

    Artefacts from the Belitung wreck, named after the Indonesian island close to the ship’s final resting spot, were scheduled to go on display at the Smithsonian Institution's Sackler Gallery in Washington DC in 2012.

    The institution cancelled the exhibition in December 2011 after vocal opposition from Smithsonian scientists and others. But the problems presented by exhibiting the spoils of commercial salvage remain, says maritime archaeologist Filipe Castro at Texas A&M University in College Station.

    That type of excavation “silences all the questions that a vessel like that could answer”, he says, reeling off a list of data that should have been collected at the Belitung site.

    In a statement, the Asia Society said that “American audiences should have an opportunity to see this material because of its significance”. In recognition of “the sensitivities” around the exhibition, the society is co-sponsoring a public symposium about the ethics of archaeology and commercial salvage.

    And the head of Seabed Explorations, the company that salvaged the wreck, defended his team’s work. “Without Seabed Explorations there wouldn’t be any data existing at all about the Belitung shipwreck,” says Tilman Walterfang.

    Full story...







  • Furneaux Islands' shipwreck 'graveyard'

    The steel-hulled shipwreck of the Farsund is slowly rusting into the sea

    By Rosemary Grant - Radio Australia

    Tasmania's rich maritime history can be seen in the wrecks dotted around almost every treacherous stretch of the coastline, but the Furneaux Group of islands in Bass Strait is especially notorious for leaving vessels in ruin.

    The wreck of the trader the Sydney Cove in 1797 put the area on the map — even before British navigator Matthew Flinders charted the islands in 1798.

    From then on the local sealing and mutton bird industries boomed, and ships were regularly trading in the area. The Furneaux Maritime History Association now wants to establish a permanent artefact display near the coast at Lady Barron.

    Sixth generation local Gerald Willis grew up fascinated by the shoals and wrecks and is part of the group keen to see more of the area's history on display.

    "My father was born on Puncheon Head, which is Cape Barren Island, lived there until he was three, [then] came to Lady Barron," he said. "Mum's father was a Welshman but her mother, through her side goes back through six generations [of] early settlers on the islands.

    The shipwrecks around the island have always intrigued Mr Willis.

    "There's countless wrecks, we've got the shoals to the south-east of Flinders Island called the Pot Boil, which is an area where the sea bottom is sandy, very hard sand, the channels shift and you really need local knowledge to get through them," he said.

    "They've been a problem for seafarers for a long time."

    Over the years lighthouses were peppered around the islands to aid the safe passage of ships sailing between Europe, South America and the east coast cities of Sydney and Newcastle.

    But they could not save the iron barque, Farsund, which was headed to Sydney from La Plata, Argentina, early last century.

    "There are still signs of the Farsund, a wreck that went aground in 1912, that's on Cape Barren Island," Mr Willis said.

    "It's still there, it's falling to pieces, the stern is falling off, 20 metres or so of the rear has fallen and just gone into the sand, and wiggled its way down towards the centre of the Earth.

    "It's a dangerous sort of ship to walk on because there's so much rust — it's just falling to pieces.

    Full story...







  • Hayle heritage centre to receive a bell

    By Kirste Smith - The Cornishman

    A heritage centre will be taking over the ownership of a ship's bell from the 1800s next month.

    Hayle Heritage Centre will be taking over the ownership of the bell from the SS Carnsew, which was a coastal steamer built by Harvey's Foundry in 1888.

    The ship was used to ferry coal, tin and copper ore between ports in Cornwall and South Wales via Bristol.
    It sunk in a collision with another cargo ship, the SS Everest, off Bull Point on the North Devon coast on October 17 1903 but the captain and crew survived.

    The bell, which was discovered by North Devon Diving Club, has been donated in memory of Phil Durbin, a keen diver with the club.




  • Hawaiian King's treasures lost in shipwreck 191 years ago

    King's shipwreck

    From Dailymail

    A museum in Hawaii is preparing to open a treasure-trove of artifacts from the shipwreck of a royal yacht sunk off the coast of Kauai 191 years ago.

    Richard Rogers, a Hawaii shipwreck chaser, worked with scientists from the Smithsonian Institution to dredge up the findings from the ship owned by King Kamehameha II, aka Liholiho, the second king of Hawaii.

    'We found gold, silver, Hawaiian poi pounders, gemstones, a boat whistle, knives, forks, mica, things from all over the world, high- and low-end European stuff. Every bit of it is royal treasure,' Rogers said.

    Rogers volunteered his time aboard his research vessel, the Pilialoha, over a five year period in four-week intervals from 1995 to 2001 to pull up the treasures.

    'It's all pickled and nice and ready to be displayed,' Rogers said. 'There are over a thousand artifacts. We did our homework and this find is invaluable because it all belonged to the king. It is a fabulous window into the 1820s.'

    Rogers said the king's belongings were buried in 10 feet of water and 10 feet of sand. His favorite discovery was a trumpet shell.

    'I found it under a bunch of sand and carried it onto the deck. This was in 1999. I blew it and it made the most beautiful sound going out over Hanalei Bay,' Rogers recalled. 'I thought about how it hadn't been blown in over 170 years.'

    Kamehameha II purchased the yacht from George Crowninshield II, who named it 'Cleopatra's Barge' in 1816. According to historian and Kauai Museum volunteer Zenon Wong, it cost $50,000 to build the 192 ton yacht. Rogers said it was the first luxury ocean-going yacht built in the United States.

    Full article...

  • Spain’s hard-won shipwreck coins finally go on public display

    coins from the Mercedes

    By Miguel Tébar - El Pais

    Five years after being scooped up from the seabed off the coast of Cadiz by US deep-sea treasure-hunting company Odyssey, and following lengthy legal wrangling over their ownership, around 8,000 coins from a much larger haul that was aboard a Spanish frigate sunk by the British in 1804 have gone on display at ARQUA, the National Sub-Aquatic Archeology Museum, in Cartagena.

    The Spanish government sees its success in reclaiming the coins as a major victory against companies such as Odyssey, which scour the world’s oceans in search of sunken booty.

    The case sets a legal precedent, providing Spain with the mechanisms and procedures to protect hundreds of its vessels lying on the seabed around the world sunk in centuries past.

    “This is an unprecedented international triumph against plundering and the illegal traffic in cultural heritage,” José María Lassalle, Spain’s secretary of state for culture, told assembled dignitaries on May 29 at the opening of a permanent exhibition about the vessel, Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes, which will focus on Spain’s fight to recover almost 600,000 coins worth an estimated half-a-billion dollars that Odyssey found aboard.

    Iván Negueruela, ARQUA’s director, gave journalists a guided tour of the exhibition, which aside from explaining the historical background to the treasure haul, also highlights what he calls the dangers of underwater “piracy.”

    The exhibition is divided into four parts: “New Routes and Inter-Oceanic Trade”; “Naval Construction”; “Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes”; and “A Legacy to be Protected ?”.

    Full article...

  • Looking down the barrel of history

    USS Shark


    By Ted Shorack - The Daily Astorian

    After five years of painstaking restoration work, two cannons from a 19th century American ship that surveyed the region are now ready to be displayed at the Columbia River Maritime Museum.

    Museum staff used a forklift Tuesday to hoist the 1,300-pound iron cannons and carefully place them in replica wooden carriages and original mounting pieces.

    Although the ship was broken apart on the Columbia River bar 168 years ago, the cannons still technically belong to the U.S. Navy.

    The museum partnered with the Navy and the state of Oregon to restore and display them.

    “To us it’s so much more than just a maritime story,” said Dave Pearson, deputy director of the museum. “This was the dawn of the Oregon territory. This is something that I think has a bigger story to tell.”

    The two cannons, known more specifically as carronades, were discovered in 2008 during Presidents Day weekend.

    Mike Petrone of Tualatin and his daughter Miranda, who was 12 years old at the time, discovered the first cannon while walking along the beach in Arch Cape. Two days later the second one was found by Sharisse Repp of Tualatin.

    Staff with the Nehalem Bay State Park and others had to use a backhoe for the first cannon and dig trenches alongside it before pulling it out.

    Both were displayed in tubs at the park as officials tried to determine their origin.









  • SS Gairsoppa

    From Afloat

    Silver recovered from the wreck of the SS Gairsoppa which was sunk by a German U-boat 300 miles southwest of Galway on February 17, 1941 is to be put on public display for the first time at an exhibition at Discovery Times Square in New York on May 24.

    The SS Gairsoppa was a British steam merchant ship that saw service during the Second World War. The name Gairsoppa was given in honor of the stunning waterfalls in Karnataka, India.

    She sailed with several convoys, before joining Convoy SL 64. Running low on fuel, she left the convoy and headed for Galway, Ireland, until a German U-boat torpedoed and sankher.

    The SHIPWRECK ! exhibition features hundreds of authentic artifacts and historical treasures recovered from marine expedition firm Odyssey's deep-ocean projects from around the world.

    Odyssey Marine Exploration recovered the silver from the 412 foot steel-hulled British cargo steamship at a depth of 4,700 metres below the surface. Recovery work began in 2012.

    Odyssey recovered Silver from the wreck, which lies approximately three miles deep off the Galway coast will be going on display in the first public showing of some of the 1,218 silver bars of silver recovered the Gairsoppa, which is the heaviest and deepest recovery of precious metal from a shipwreck in history.

  • Pirate ship treasure to be displayed at Union Station

    By Matt Campbell - 

    The grim yet compelling visage of the Jolly Roger will wave over Union Station, at least in spirit.

    The booty of a real-life pirate ship — including precious coins that you can touch — will be the station’s next traveling exhibit and main summer attraction, officials announced Thursday.

    “Real Pirates” displays the salvaged remains of the Whydah, a fearsome galley that ruled the Caribbean and Atlantic coast before she was vanquished in a storm off Cape Cod nearly 300 years ago.

    ”Everybody has a fascination with sunken treasure,” said Union Station CEO George Guastello. “Pirates transcend generations and captivate the imagination. Look at the movies. People love it.”

    The exhibit, which will fill the gallery on the station’s lower level, features more than 200 objects including scads of gold and silver coins, cannons, swords and personal items that formed the world of a pirate ship in 1717. It will also include a replica of the actual ship that visitors may climb aboard.

    And it was an impressive ship, square-rigged, three masted, 102 feet long and fitted with 18 cannon before the pirates added even more.

    Full article...

  • World’s longest Viking shipwreck to be exhibited in Denmark

    Viking wreck

    From the Copenhagen Post

    The National Museum in Copenhagen is set to unveil a major special exhibition called VIKING, highlighted by the display of the largest Viking shipwreck ever found.

    The exhibition will be the largest on Vikings in 20 years, and will be cover the themes of war, expansion, power, aristocracy, rituals and beliefs, as well as cultural contacts and trade.

    The 37-metre-long warship, which was found in Roskilde, could carry up to 100 warriors and is thought be have been part of the royal fleet of King Cnut the Great, who conquered England in 1016 and Norway in 1028.

    In excess of 25 percent of the ship has been preserved and will be exhibited in a specially-constructed steel skeleton that will show the ship in its full size.

  • Underwater art exhibit from Vandenberg shipwreck

    by Andreas Franke with an underwater exhibition in The Vanderberg

    By Cammy Clark - Miami Herald

    A dozen digitally composed photographs were submerged 90 feet below the ocean’s surface, encased in Plexiglas with stainless steel frames and silicone seals.

    After sharing habitat with parrot fish, barracudas and Goliath groupers for more than four months in 2011, the art was removed from its unusual exhibit site — the deck of the USNS Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg shipwreck.

    The silicone seals did not work perfectly, allowing seawater seepage on the sides of the photos, and the Plexiglas was covered with algae, microorganisms and marine-life skeletons.

    But when photographer Andreas Franke saw the results, he was not upset.

    “Look how cool it is,” he says. “Now it’s unique. You can’t reproduce this because of the help of Mother Nature.”

    Franke’s underwater art can now be seen without SCUBA gear at The Studios of Key West in a free exhibit, Vandenberg Project: The Life Above Refined Below, through Feb. 15.

    “But don’t come in here with Windex and paper towels,” says Erin Stover-Sickmen, The Studios’ artistic director.

    “Yes, please tell everybody in Spanish and English not to clean them,” Franke says with a smile.

    The project began with Franke photographing the sunken Vandenberg in April 2010.

    The commercial photographer from Vienna had seen the ship on the cover of a dive magazine, and knew, he says, that it would be the perfect “theatrical stage” for his new art.

    Full article...

  • Recovered Titanic jewels to be on display

    Titanic jewelry

    By Johnny Clark - The Associated Press


    Most of the jewelry recovered from the wreckage of the Titanic will begin a tour of three US cities, its first public display since being salvaged from the ocean depths.

    In a nondescript industrial office in north Atlanta, Premier Exhibitions Inc. and RMS Titanic Inc. officials previewed the artifacts before they go on display Friday in Atlanta.

    Alexandra Klingelhofer, vice president of collections for RMS Titanic Inc., said the purpose of the exhibit is to enlighten the public of the wonder of exploration.

    "Going down two and a half miles below the ocean, recovering a bag, bringing it back up and opening it and finding ... jewelry," Kingelhofer said.

    "We're able to give them a glimpse of how it must have been to have opened that for the first time and to see, together, the beautiful jewelry of the Edwardian Period."

    The jewelry recovered is from a single purser's bag found during a 1987 research and recovery mission. The collection includes diamond and sapphire rings, brooches, necklaces, cuff links and a gold pocket watch.

    Conservators and curators have been studying and preserving the jewelry to gain a better understanding of individual passengers' lives aboard the ill-fated voyage.

    Although single pieces of jewelry have been on display at one or more permanent and traveling exhibits sponsored by Premier Exhibitions Inc., their Atlanta debut is the first time the majority of the collection has been available to the public.

    Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, opened in Atlanta earlier this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912. Klingelhofer noted that this jewelry mini-exhibit is being added to provide personal insight.

    "We are constantly researching the artifacts, learning more about their story, and we thought jewelry is so beautiful and responds well to people," she said.

    After a two-month exhibit at the Atlantic Station gallery in Atlanta, the jewels travel to Orlando, Florida, and Las Vegas.


  • Darling Harbour's Maritime Museum searches for archaeological treasure

    Great Barrier Reef

    By James Gorman - Sydney Central

    The Australian National Maritime Museum is preparing for its latest expedition to a shipwreck off the Great Barrier Reef.

    Over the past four years, the museum has uncovered evidence of the strong colonial trade links Australia once held with India.

    Early next year, Dr Nigel Erskine and his team will be heading out in search of the Indian-built Fergus(son) which was bound from Sydney carrying 170 troops when it wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef.

    "The reef is known as a bit of a ship trap and so there are several wrecks up there with fairly sketchy information about them that we plan to work on," Dr Erskine said.

    Full article...

  • Museum’s Treasure! exhibit offers valuable lessons

    By Lannis Waters

    By Willie Howard - Palm Beach Post

    Visitors to the South Florida Science Museum can explore the quest for gold and other valuables in the days of pirates and modern times through the exhibit Treasure !, which runs through Jan. 6.

    While learning about treasure in the days of Spanish galleons and pirates, kids of any age can take turns trying to “fire” a cannon through a port hole to protect their vessel by sinking a passing pirate ship.

    Those who miss are instructed to “swab the deck, you scallywag.”

    Moving forward in time, visitors can learn about the history of the metal detector or about Geocaching — the use of hand-held GPS devices to find hidden caches, a hobby created in 2000 by Dave Ulmer near Portland, Ore.

    Treasure! is not only about the quest for precious metals and other valuables.

    It’s about the methods used to find them.

    Because scuba gear is used by divers to recover treasure from sunken Spanish galleons, the history of the Aqua Lung, invented in 1943 by Jacques Cousteau and Emile Gagnan, is featured in the exhibit.

    A more modern underwater exploration tool, the remotely operated vehicle, or ROV, is available for visitors to steer in an aquarium.

    One mysterious display describes the so-called Money Pit at Oak Island, Nova Scotia, where underground caverns discovered in the 1800s supposedly contain man-made objects.

    The island in Mahone Bay is rumored to be a place where Captain William Kidd or possibly Edward Teach (Blackbeard) buried treasure.

    Full article...

  • Heart of Louisiana: The Mardi Gras shipwreck

    By Dave McNamara - Fox8 Live

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Full article...

  • Queen Anne’s Revenge Community Day at N.C. Maritime Museum


    From Beach Carolina

    As part of “National Archaeology Day” the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort will host a number of fun-filled activities related to the Queen Anne’s Revenge (QAR) project on Saturday, Oct. 20, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

    With a focus on artifacts recovered from the wreck of Blackbeard’s flagship, conservators will explain how the items are freed from the cement-like casings called concretions after nearly 300 years in the ocean.

    Free family fun, educational entertainment, and 18th century tools last touched by pirates will provide a unique experience for all audiences on Community Day. Games, crafts, weapon demonstrations, and a chance to talk with members of the research team also are part of the day’s activities.

    In June 1718, the Queen Anne’s Revenge ran aground in Beaufort Inlet.

    The shipwreck was located in 1996 by Intersal, Inc. of Florida by Operations Director Mike Daniel through research provided by Intersal President Phil Masters.

    Since 1997 the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources’ Underwater Archaeology Branch has led research at the wreck site.

    The fall dive expedition will conclude later this month and updates are available at on the project’s website.

    Full article...

  • Shipwrecked painting returns to Scilly

    Derek Kemp presents the painting to museum curator, Amanda Martin

    By Andy - Scilly Today

    A painting that was salvaged from a nineteenth century shipwreck has been returned to Scilly.

    The picture of the Eric Rickmers, the same ship that was wrecked on that foggy October night in 1899, was yesterday presented to the Isles of Scilly Museum by Derek Kemp, the grandson of the Bryher resident who found it.

    79-year old Derek, who is related to the Jenkins family of Bryher, says his grandfather pulled the painting from the water after the wreck. It’s thought to have been owned by one of the ship’s officers and painted in Bangkok.

    Derek said the painting went to the mainland with his father when he moved to Kent looking for work. He said he wants it to hang in the Museum in Scilly along with other artefacts from the Eric Rickmers.

    The German-registered, three-masted barque was on her maiden voyage from Bangkok to Bremen, carrying a cargo of rice when she hit Scilly Rock in thick fog off Bryher. All her crew managed to get to shore safely.

    Museum curator, Amanda Martin, said the wreck is well known for the amount of valuable canvas that was salvaged, at some personal danger, by the residents of Bryher.

    She says the bell from the ship was installed in the tower at the old Carn Thomas school site.

  • Rick Scott selects shipwreck artifacts for governor's mansion

    Nuestra Senora de Atocha and Santa Margarita

    From NBC Miami

    The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum is currently conserving the pieces from Nuestra Senora de Atocha and Santa Margarita.

    Gov. Rick Scott visited a Key West museum Friday to select shipwreck artifacts to be displayed in the Governor’s Mansion this month, the Florida Keys News Bureau announced.

    The artifacts, currently conserved at Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, were salvaged from 16th and 17th century Spanish shipwrecks off the Florida Keys and the Bahamas.

    They are expected to be exhibited at the mansion during National Hispanic Heritage Month, the bureau said.

    "Part of the history of Florida is all the treasure ships, what Mel Fisher did, the ships that were coming back and forth from Spain," he said.

    "My wife has opened up the mansion to a lot more children coming through, and it's a way for them to learn a lot more about the history of the state."

    Full story...>

  • Zwaanendael Museum to spotlight shipwrecks

    From Cape Gazette


    During the month of September, the Zwaanendael Museum at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes will shine a spotlight on southern Delaware’s unique maritime history with a series of programs that explore local shipwrecks, seafaring traditions and the area’s early whaling industry.

    Lectures and tours of the remains of His Majesty’s Sloop DeBraak, which was capsized and lost off the Delaware coast on May 25, 1798, will take place at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Mondays, Sept. 10, 17, 24 and Oct. 1.

    The program begins at the Zwaanendael Museum and includes a trip to the DeBraak hull facility in nearby Cape Henlopen State Park for an interpreter-led tour of the ship’s remains. Limited seating. Admission is $10 in advance by reservation only at

    From 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 15, historical interpreter and artist Sharyn Murray will demonstrate the stipple technique used to draw artifacts from the Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck, a British commercial ship that sank off Lewes in the late 18th century. Free admission.

    At 3 p.m., Friday, Sept. 21, “Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of … .” The Fun Friday Oktoberfest program will explore beer, grog, rum and other beverages and foods that sustained sailors on their long voyages. Museum open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Free admission.

    At 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 29, “A Whale of a Tale, Part One” will explore the whaling industry’s relationship to the first settlement in the First State by the Dutch in 1631. Museum open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Free admission.


  • Civil War shipwreck artifacts come to Dunedin Historical Museum

    Museum director Vinnie Luisi places an 1861 Springfield musket on a mannequin of a Confederate soldier. 
    Photo Terri Bryce Reeves

    By Terri Bryce Reeves - Tampa Bay Times

    It was 1864 and the moon was full when the Maple Leaf steamed down the St. Johns River carrying Union troops and equipment to Jacksonville.

    Lurking in the murky waters below: a dozen mines or "torpedoes" made from wooden kegs filled with 70 pounds of black powder.

    When the transport vessel struck one, the explosion ripped apart the ship and killed four soldiers. The vessel sank and with it thousands of artifacts to be preserved in a muddy tomb for discovery 120 years later.

    Now some of those artifacts can be seen at the Dunedin Historical Museum as part of a traveling exhibit called "The Maple Leaf: An American Civil War Shipwreck."

    The exhibit is on loan from the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee.

    "What is unique about this shipwreck is that there were over 6,000 artifacts found, giving us a time capsule from the Civil War era," said Vinnie Luisi, executive director of the museum.

    "It helps us understand what a Union soldier's life was like."

    The large amount of civilian items found shows that widespread looting took place around the Union camps, he said.

    Full story...

  • Maritime museum opens new Blackbeard exhibit

    Blackbeard Illustration 
    Illustration Art by Don Maitz

    From Beach Carolina

    As Hollywood pirates reign on the big screen, Blackbeard rules in a big, new exhibit at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort.

    In 1718, the notorious pirate ran his flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge (QAR), aground in Beaufort Inlet, roughly two miles from where the Museum stands today.

    On Saturday, June 11, the Museum opened “Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge” – the largest exhibit to date of artifacts from the shipwreck.

    “The exhibit includes around 300 artifacts, most of them never before seen on display,” said North Carolina Maritime Museums Nautical Archaeologist David Moore. “We’ve endeavored to tell the story of Blackbeard, along with his associates, adversaries and ships, and the archaeological efforts at the shipwreck site.”

    Newly released artifacts, as well as old favorites such as weaponry, will be mixed with interactive computer features, quizzes, props and a look into what the future holds for the shipwreck site.

    The Museum offered a full range of buccaneer-based events leading up to the grand opening.

    Museum members got a sneak-peak at the exhibit during Members Only Preview Days, June 8 – 10.

    On the eve of the grand opening, the Museum celebrated pirate-style with ”An Evening of Merriment.” The seaside soiree included music, exhibit tours, dinner and a rum-tasting !

    Full story...

  • Exhibit features shipwreck found in Hawaiian Islands

    Two Brothers exhibit, Nantucket

    By Wendy Osher - Maui Now

    A new exhibit featuring a shipwreck found in the northwestern Hawaiian islands opens in Massachusetts tomorrow.

    The Lost on a Reef exhibit features displays and research information on the Two Brothers vessel, which wrecked on a stormy night in the French Frigate Shoals on February 11, 1823.

    The Two Brothers is recognized as the first discovery of a wrecked whaling ship from Nantucket. The ship was also captained by Captain George Pollard Jr., who previously commanded the ill-fated Essex, the story of which inspired the storyline for Herman Melville’s epic tale, Moby Dick.

    Archaeologist Kelly Gleason, the Maritime Heritage Coordinator for Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, will introduce the exhibit during the opening festivities.

    Gleason will describe the discovery of the 19th century wreck site, and the research that ensued which led to the positive identification of the vessel.

    The exhibit, on display at the Nantucket Historical Association’s Whaling Museum, highlights the maritime heritage of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, and presents findings and artifacts from NOAA research missions.

    Full story...

  • A lake of tragedy and mystery

    Diane Robnik, community resource officer at the Thunder Bay Museum, is researching shipwreck stories and artifacts for an exhibit that is to open in the summer of 2013.

    From the Chronicle Journal

    The waters of Lake Superior are known for being deceptive.

    Great Lakes mariners have watched walls of water appear out of nowhere and swallow ships whole.

    Diane Robnik, community resource officer at the Thunder Bay Museum, wants to put you in the mariner’s shoes to experience the cold wind and the icy waves, and the sheer terror the power of the lake evokes.

    Robnik is collecting first-hand accounts of shipwrecks on the lake that will become part of a travelling exhibit next year.

    She said that when she was looking into creating a travelling exhibit about the lake, she noticed much interest in the shipwreck stories.

    “There have been some spectacular tragedies just on our side of the lake,” Robnik said. “So I think that those are important to highlight at this point.”

    The exhibit will focus on shipwrecks that have taken place in Canadian waters and around Isle Royale. The exhibit is to open next summer in Thunder Bay and travel throughout the North Shore and Ontario.

    Robnik said she hopes to collect artifacts and historical photos of ships and shipwrecks, but the exhibit will focus on first-hand accounts from survivors and family members.

    “I think it creates more of a personal tie to people and more of an emotional bond when someone reads a first-hand account,” she said.

    “It gives you an idea of what it’s like to be there rather than just a static reading of the event.”

    Full story...

  • Kalamazoo museum to have pirate-themed hands-on exhibit

    Museum exhibit

    From Holland Sentinel


    The Kalamazoo Valley Museum’s Summer Hands-On Happenings series is based on the theme of the new traveling exhibit, “Treasure.”

    The exhibit runs from June 16 to August 26 and explores the history of treasures and treasure hunting, the technology that enhances it, and the people and personalities who hunt for treasure.

    The Summer Hands-On Happenings program, "In Search of Lost Treasures," takes place on Wednesdays from 1 to 4 p.m. beginning on June 27 and ending on August 15. There is no session on July 4.

    The June 27 session, “Holding On to Treasure,” is about the ways that treasures are protected.

    Pirate-related crafts like eye patches and treasure maps will be created during the July 11 session, “Pirates and Their Treasures."

    The July 18 event, “Treasures of the Sea,” is all about mysterious treasures waiting to be found under the sea.



  • First underwater museums in Africa to be built in Mombasa

    From The Star

    The National Museums of Kenya is in the process of setting up Africa’s first underwater museums to study marine life and shipwrecks in the coast region.

    Archeological studies have already discovered over 35 ship wrecks in the Coastal line in the Indian Ocean which could be turned into underwater museums.

    The museums, according to the experts, would not be like the normal museums with buildings but the old shipwrecks that shall be turned to attraction sites where visitors could visit and see them.

    Head of Archaeology at the National Museum of Kenya Cesar Bita said because of the heavy costs of setting up the project, they had identified five shipwrecks that would be set up for a start before embarking on the others.

    Speaking on the phone, he said study and excavation work for the three shipwrecks in Mombasa was complete with all the information gathers and expected the construction work to begin soon adding that the first museums will be ready after two years.

    “Under water museums are not buildings but entails the development and preparations of shipwrecks that are underwater for people to be able to see,’’ he said.

    He said the ships wrecks were spread all over Lamu, Mombasa, Malindi , Watamu and the South coast adding that each individual shipwreck would act as a Museum of its own.

    Bita said experts would dive under the water and install information and clean the area to ensure safety measures are put in place for those who would tour the museums.

    Full story...

  • The Egan Maritime Institute announces

    From Market Watch


    The Egan Maritime Institute announces "Guiding Lights: Nantucket's Lighthouses, Keepers & their Families," an exhibition celebrating the island's historic monuments, at the Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum from May 24 - October 8, 2012.

    This warming exhibit celebrates the beacons of light and the families that guided mariners through the treacherous shoals for centuries that surround Nantucket.

    Before modern technology, captains and sailors could only rely on the light from the lighthouses to guide their vessels to safety.

    And for centuries, the families that manned these lighthouses were just as important in guiding sailors to safety as were the lighthouses.

    This year's exhibition celebrates not just the Island's historic monuments but also these early heroes.

    The Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum is excited to honor and pay tribute to the men, women, and children by sharing their stories and photographs of their daily life as well as true tales of shipwreck sights and salvage at sea.

    In addition, a small replica of Sankaty Light, for children to climb into, as well as other kid oriented activities will be included.

    The Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum shares the fascinating stories of yesterday's maritime heroes through permanent and changing interpretive exhibits and special events.



  • IU archaeologists keep up Caribbean shipwreck work

    From Indy Star

    Silver coins and other artifacts recovered from shipwrecks off the Dominican Republic coast by Indiana University researchers over the years went on display Tuesday at the Children's Museum in Indianapolis.

    The artifacts were collected as part of the university's ongoing efforts to work with the Caribbean country to establish underwater museums in the many shipwrecks off its coast.

    The artifacts found by IU underwater archaeologists over the years include silver coins recovered from the 1725 wreckage of the Spanish merchant vessel Nuestra Senora de Begona, as well as older items from the indigenous Taino tribes, The Herald-Times reported.

    Charles Beeker, director of IU's Office of Underwater Science, said the items on display represent spillage from the wreck, but he is confident the remains of the ship are nearby.

    IU investigators learned after a trip to examine records in Saville, Spain, that the Begona was a merchant vessel that made stops throughout the Caribbean before it encountered rough weather in the Caribbean Sea and ultimately had to be beached by the captain. It broke up and sank off what is now the Dominican Republic.

    Full story...

  • Coloma museum to recall Berrien shipwrecks

    By Andrew Lersten - Herald Palladium

    Between 1835 and 1902 at least 41 ships sank or smashed onto shore in Southwest Michigan - claiming at least 95 lives.

    An exhibit opening next month at the North Berrien Historical Museum in Coloma not only maps out the Lake Michigan shipwreck sites off Berrien County, but takes a close look at the era's shipping industry.

    Cargo routes from St. Joseph and Benton Harbor to Chicago and Milwaukee were vital to the development of Berrien County in the mid-19th Century, said curator Alexander Gates.

    The new exhibit, called "Shipwrecks of the Berrien County Coast," examines the trends in what kinds of goods were shipped from and to area ports. The shipwrecks highlighted in the exhibit are good examples of the ships plying the lake during the peak of the commercial shipping era.

    One interesting artifact to be displayed is the ship's bell from the propeller steamer Montezuma.

    The ship, built in 1848, sank at the mouth of the St. Joseph River in 1861. Coloma's first postmaster, H.M. Marvin, bought the bell from a salvage company and donated it to Coloma's first church, the Coloma First Congregational Church. The church used it as its church bell until it was replaced in 1916, but is still owned by the church, Gates said.

    Full story...

  • Cannon and other artifacts from Blackbeard’s pirate ship

    Conservators Sarah Watkins-Kenney and Wendy Welsh clean one of the cannons recovered from Blackbeard's ship, Queen Anne's Revenge

    From The Raleigh Telegram

    Recovered artifacts from the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the sunken ship of famous pirate Blackbeard’s sunken ship, will be on display and open to the public next month.

    Items that will be part of the open house will include a 12 foot anchor and a ship’s cannon that is over eight feet long.

    The Queen Anne’s Revenge Conservation Lab at East Carolina University in Greenville will host an open house on Saturday, April 21st, from 11am to 3pm as underwater archaeologists will demonstrate the process of taking artifacts from ocean floor to museum door.

    Queen Anne’s Revenge is Blackbeard’s flagship that ran aground near Beaufort, North Carolina in 1718 and was abandoned by the pirate. Some have speculated that the fearsome and cunning pirate intentionally beached his ship to divide up the crew, giving him a larger share of any treasure.

    The discovery of the ship has been a major find in North Carolina and is viewed by many as one of the most intriguing under water archaeology discoveries on the eastern seaboard.

    Since 1997, the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources’ Underwater Archaeology Branch has led research at the shipwreck site and plans full recovery of the artifacts at the site by 2013. According to the branch, to date more than 280,000 artifacts have been recovered.

    At the open house, cannons, anchors, ballast stones, and other recovered artifacts housed at the lab will be presented in various stages of conservation.

    “Through hands-on demonstrations, archaeologists, conservators and other scientists will explain their work,” says the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

    “Visitors will be able to learn first-hand as they look down a microscope at some of the smallest artifacts, determine how much a ballast stone weighs, guess the weight of the largest artifact, see x-rays of objects encased in a cement-like shell during the early stages of conservation, and much more.”

    Full story...

  • Blackbeard artifacts to be opened to public

    Conserved 19-inch cannon from the Queen Anne's Revenge Shipwreck

    From Popular Archaeology

    A newly restored cannon recovered from the 1718 shipwreck of Blackbeard's flagship, Queen Anne's Revenge (QAR), will be on display for the public in late February at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort.

    Other artifacts will include a pewter decorated wooden knife handle, cannon wadding, and a hand grenade.

    Blackbeard, otherwise known as Edward Thatcher (or "Teach" in some circles), was perhaps the most notorious pirate along the eastern seaboard of North America during the heyday of ocean-going piracy between the late 17th and first quarter of the 18th centuries.

    In June of 1718 his fleet attempted to enter Old Topsail Inlet, NC, now known as Beaufort Inlet.  His flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge and the Adventure ran aground at the Inlet and was subsequently abandoned by Blackbeard and many of his crew, fleeing to the north.

    He and some of his fellow crew members were eventually killed by an expedition of the Royal Navy the following November.

    In 1996 a shipwreck was discovered in the Beaufort Inlet by the Florida-based research firm Intersal, Inc., and gradual recovery and analysis of the artifacts since then have strongly suggested that the shipwreck is indeed that of the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

    Says archaeologist David Moore of the N.C. Maritime Museum , "The 19-inch bronze cannon possibly was used as a signal gun to warn victims of the pirate ship's presence or as part of combat.

    In fact, there is evidence that the cannon was well-used, as the vent had been worn from explosions and was replaced by the crew."

    Speaking of the decorated wooden knife handle, QAR Chief Conservator Sarah Watkins-Kenney said that "it is remarkable that a wooden object has survived nearly 300 years on the ocean floor."  

    The knife blade itself did not survive.

    Full story...

  • Treasure Trove: shipwrecked coral coins

    One of the Royal Australian Mint's most treasured items is a curious formation of coral, indented with old Dutch coins from the shipwrecked Gilt Dragon

    By Eleri Harris - ABC

    One of the Royal Australian Mint's most treasured items is a curious formation of coral, indented with old, foreign coins.

    The coins are Dutch cobs, the coral once grew on wreck of the Vergulde Draek or 'Gilt Dragon', one of the oldest recorded wrecks on the infamous Western Australian coast.

    The Gilt Dragon met its end in 1656 and, of the 78,600 guilders-worth of silver coin it was carrying, a few have become part of Australia's National Coin Collection and are on permanent display in the Royal Australian Mint's Gallery.

    Among the coins recovered are two eight reale coins, which are more commonly known as 'pieces of eight', the much sought after coins of pirate lore. 

    The 'Gilt Dragon' was a 260-tonne, 42-metre 'jacht', a light, fast sailing vessel used by the Dutch navy.

    On board was a crew of 193 and eight chests of silver coin to be used in the purchase of spices.

    On its second voyage to the spice-trading headquarters of the United (Dutch) East Indies Company at Batavia (Jakarta), it sailed too far east and struck a reef on 28 April 1656, just 5.6 kilometres off the Western Australian coastline.

    While 118 went to a watery grave, the remaining 75 crew managed to get to shore in two small boats, including Captain Pieter Albertsz.

    He decided to send seven men in the one remaining seaworthy boat to seek help from Batavia, some 1400 nautical miles to the north.

    Although they managed to reach their destination and raise the alarm, all of the subsequent rescue missions failed to find any trace of Albertsz and 68 other castaways.

    Full story...

  • New pirate museum in Galveston will get you hooked

    By Demond Fernandez - ABC Local

    If you've ever been interested in the history of pirates, Galveston locals say a new museum, Pirates Legends of the Gulf Coast, is the new treasure to check out. It's only been open for three days.

    A singing skeleton is first to greet you at Galveston's newest family attraction, and once inside, you'll quickly find more than just your ordinary museum in historic downtown Galveston.

    "This is a very child-friendly attraction, and it's also a learning experience for children of all ages," said Joyce McLean, managing member of the museum.

    This detailed and interactive exhibit is uniquely designed to totally immerse visitors into the world and legacy of pirates from the 1700s in the Caribbean to Galveston and the Gulf coast.

    "Well, we have pirates on board the ship who really kind of act like as a tour guide but not a tour guide. They are there to answer questions, but they are always in character," McLean said.

    You enter the museum through what appears to be the stern of a pirate ship crashing through a treasure map. Once you pass through the lower deck, you'll see artifacts and special effects.

    There are reconstructed buildings from New Orleans on one side, and on the other, there's a replica of Galveston pirate Jean Lafitte's home, Maison Rouge. Leanor Pickel designed the pirate exhibit.

    Full story...

  • The Vasa: an elegant seventeenth-century warship in Stockholm

    The Vasa

    By Sean McLachlan - Gadling

    Sweden's capital Stockholm has a lot to offer-fine dining, good shopping, lovely parks, access to some interesting day trips (the old Viking capital of Uppsala being my favorite) and a unique museum.

    The Vasa Ship Museum is one of Sweden's most popular tourist attractions and it's easy to see why. It houses a beautifully preserved 17th century warship.

    The Vasa was meant to be the pride of the Swedish fleet at a time when the nation was one of Europe's major powers. The galleon was 226 feet long, carried 145 sailors and 300 soldiers, and sported elegant woodwork over much of its exterior.

    Its 64 cannon could blast out 588 pounds of iron from port or starboard, giving it more firepower than any other ship then in existence. It must have been a major letdown when it sank barely a mile into its maiden voyage in 1628. It turns out the whole thing was top heavy.

    While the Vasa was a bad ship, it's an awesome museum piece. The cold water, silt, and pollution of Stockholm harbor kept it safe from microorganisms that would have eaten it up.

    When archaeologists raised it from the sea they retrieved thousands of artifacts such as weapons, utensils, coins, clothing, tools, and hemp sails and rigging.

    Some parts of the ship still had flakes of paint and gold leaf adhering to them, so its once-vivid colors could be reproduced in a scale model in the museum.

    This year is the 50th anniversary of its raising from the bottom of the harbor. This was a tricky operation that required 1,300 dives and a great deal of delicate underwater work in low visibility.

    Divers had to dig six tunnels under the shipwreck in order to run steel cables through them and attach them to pontoons on the surface. After that, the pontoons lifted it to the surface without a hitch.

    Full story...

  • Secrets of life on Newport's medieval ship revealed

    By Nicola Smith - BBC News Wales

    Next year marks the 10th anniversary of a remarkable discovery on the banks of the River Usk in Newport.

    In the summer of 2002, thousands flocked to the banks of the River Usk in Newport, to see a piece of history. In the middle of a building site, the mud had been cleared to reveal the 500-year-old remains of a trading ship.

    Built in 1447, it is the world's best preserved example of a 15th Century vessel. Nearly ten years after it was uncovered, archaeologists are still making new discoveries about life on board.

    They hope that in the next decade the ship will be rebuilt and put on display in its own museum.

    Charles Ferris, from the Friends of the Newport Ship group, remembers the excitement as news of the discovery spread.

    "It was amazing, it was absolutely palpable. I often think the Newport ship floats on a sea of goodwill," he said.

    "The Newport public did us proud and came out to support her in their thousands. People used to queue for two to three hours just to see her."

    The timbers were uncovered during work to build the Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre.

    After a campaign to ensure it was preserved, the ship was moved timber by timber to an industrial unit nearby. After a campaign to ensure it was preserved, the ship was moved timber by timber to an industrial unit nearby. Around 2,000 oak timbers have been preserved in chemically-treated water tanks.

    Full story...

  • Ship sunk four centuries ago virtually reconstructed In 3-D at Texas A&M


    From TAMU Times

    Sunk in 1606, the Portuguese merchant ship Nossa Senhora dos Martires is sailing again — in 3-D presently but perhaps one day in reality.

    If the cyber-replicated vessel ever does hit the high seas, the way will have been paved by the research of a persevering Texas A&M University nautical archaeologist combined with the high-tech applied study of a graduate student well versed in computer-based visualization techniques.

    The 3-D resurrection of the 17th century vessel, whose name translates to “Our Lady of the Martyrs,” is the handiwork of Filipe Castro, an associate professor of anthropology who grew up in Portugal, and Audrey Wells, who made the three-year project the basis for her master’s degree thesis in visualization sciences. Wells is now a freelance artist in Austin.

    A unique set of circumstance brought them together, combining the work of two of Texas A&M’s best-known programs worldwide. Castro had been a civil engineer in Portugal’s Ministry of Culture, and been assigned to the ship’s excavation project.

    Leaders of the project encouraged him to obtain a graduate degree in nautical archaeology, which he successfully pursued through the world-renowned program at Texas A&M, for which he now serves on its faculty.

    Wells is a product of the Visualization Laboratory, a trailblazing program that incorporates computer-generated graphics and animation in particularly innovative manners. The program’s graduates are highly sought by Hollywood producers, among others who want state-of-the-art video graphics.

    Their work is the basis for an extensive article published in the fall edition of American Bureau of Shipping’s publication, Surveyor, with a follow-up article posted on the website of the Department of Visualization in Texas A&M’s College of Architecture, which provides a link to the Surveyor article.

    The model Castro and Wells produced is described in the Surveyor article as replicating the vessel “in its entirety, including full scantlings, internal construction details, outfitting and the sail plan, such that seakeeping, stability and other analyses can be performed.”

    The meticulous work was accomplished even though only about 10 percent of the ship’s hull was ever recovered, meaning Castro and Wells had to reply heavily on analysis and interpretation — and applied visualization.




  • Mount Edgcumbe to display Cornish shipwreck cargo

    Divers found the Metta Catharina in 1973

    From BBC News

    Artefacts from a ship that sank off the Cornish coast in the 18th century will be on show at a country park when £41,000 has been secured.

    The Metta Catharina sank in 1786 off south east Cornwall. Its cargo, including calf hides and glassware will be on display at Mount Edgcumbe House.

    For 32 years divers have retrieved the artefacts which will be on show alongside an exhibition in 2013.

    A lottery grant has provided the money to help fund the project.

    Items found on the Metta Catharina von Flensburg included Russian calf hides, wine carriers, clay tobacco pipes and shoe buckles, a spokesperson from Plymouth City Council said.

    Ian Skelton, chairman of the Metta Catharina Trust, said: "It is wonderful news that after 32 years of diving and research, the story of it can be told.

    "Mount Edgcumbe is a fitting location for the artefacts to be displayed."

    The total cost of the project will be £60,500 with additional funding coming from the Friends of Mount Edgcumbe, the Metta Catharina Trust and Mount Edgcumbe, the council spokesperson added.

    The Metta Catharina lay almost completely buried in deep silt off Mount Edgcumbe and was discovered by divers in 1973.

    Full story...

  • Anniversary of Portland shipwreck

    From Wicked Local

    Join maritime archaeologists from Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary for a visit to the steamship Portland shipwreck that lies hidden beneath the waves.

    The event will include a showing of the Science Channel’s award winning documentary, The Wreck of the Portland, and a presentation on current research.
    The Commemoration of the Portland Gale and the Sinking of the Steamship Portland will take place from 1 to 2:15 p.m. and again from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Scituate Maritime and Irish Mossing Museum, 301 Driftway, Scituate.

    The Scituate Historical Society and National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary sponsor this event.
    Nov. 27, 2011 marks the 113th anniversary of the steamship Portland’s loss, one of New England’s greatest maritime tragedies. The ship sank during a tremendous storm that ravaged shipping and Massachusetts coastal communities on that fateful weekend after Thanksgiving. The storm became known as the “Portland Gale.”

    Scituate bears a lasting mark from the storm – the opening of a new mouth for the North River, which splits the community of Humarock from the rest of the town.

    Together, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the Scituate Historical Society seek to commemorate the Portland Gale with an interpretive program highlighting the sanctuary’s archaeological and historical investigation of the steamship and the museum’s collection of Portland artifacts.

    NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

  • 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...

  • Titanic exhibit coming to local museum


    From 10 News

    With many museums struggling through tough economic times, one of San Diego's premier museums could soon buck that trend with the help of a historic shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean.

    The sinking of the Titanic is one of the most familiar historical moments of the early 20th century. The ship that was proclaimed unsinkable sank in icy waters on April 15, 1912, taking more than 1,500 lives.

    One-hundred years after the infamous disaster, the "Titanic: The Artifacts Exhibition" is coming to San Diego Natural History Museum next February.

    "We jumped at the chance," said San Diego Natural History Museum CEO Dr. Michael Hager. Hager acknowledged that the museum has had to navigate some choppy financial waters.

    Though their budget is balanced, he said the museum is expecting the Titanic exhibition to do great things."It's the 100-year anniversary of the sinking, so that we know that a lot of people will be tuned in to it. James Cameron's new 'Titanic' 3-D movie is coming out," Hager said.

    The Titanic exhibition features more than 200 artifacts brought up from the bottom of the sea -- everything from clothing to china. There's even a simulated iceberg that allows visitors to get a feeling for how cold it was that night.

    But at the heart of the exhibit are the ship's passengers, and Hager told 10News, "It's really the personal stories that are told I think that are the most important."

    Full story...

  • Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum breaks tourist record

    From Hurriyet Daily News

    The Underwater Archaeology Museum, one of the most popular venues for tourists visiting the Aegean holiday resort town of Bodrum, receives plenty of visitors, even in winter. The museum will add two more rooms of underwater discoveries in the next few months.

    Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum, known as the only underwater museum in Europe, attracts great attention from tourists even at the end of the tourist season.

    The museum, visited by more than 300,000 people a year, has 13 display rooms where the world’s oldest sunken wrecks are exhibited. Two more display rooms will be added to the existing ones this year.

    Featuring thousands of historical works of art, ship wrecks and artifacts including the treasures of Queen Nefertiti, the museum is a very important one for Turkey’s culture tourism industry.

    Located in the harbor of the Aegean province of MuÄ�la’s popular holiday resort town of Bodrum, the Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum was visited by 300,000 tourists in the first 10 months of the year, spending nearly 2 million Turkish liras.

    The 2,400-year-old Carian Princess room and the room of 3,500-year-old Uluburun sunken ship, which is the world’s oldest surviving sunken ship, draws the greatest amount of interest from visitors. Among the other popular specimens are the Eastern Rome sunken room, Glass sunken room, Early Bronze Age sunken room, English Tower, German Tower, Turkish Bath, dungeon and amphorae.

    The removal of the wrecks and artifacts from the water and their conservation are explained to visitors by experts via slide shows.

  • Titanic fascinates nearly 100 years later

    By Lucy Haines - Metro Edmonton

    As the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic approaches, fascination with the famous shipwreck shows no signs of waning.

    To that end, the Telus World of Science is hosting Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, a re-creation of life aboard the fateful ship.

    Starting Saturday through to February 2012, visitors will be drawn back in time upon entry, as each gets a replica boarding pass of an actual Titanic passenger.

    Passengers then journey through the life of Titanic, from the ship’s construction, to life on board, to the sinking and artifact-rescue efforts.

    Lowell Lytle, who acts as Titanic’s Capt. EJ Smith, will be on hand as the exhibit opens.

    “Titanic brought the wealthiest and poorest of people together for one climactic moment,” he said.

    “You couldn’t make that story up.”

    Lytle is one of few who has been on a salvage expedition, calling it an exciting, fearful and ultimately lonely experience.

    He even uncovered one of Titanic’s seven telegraphs, used to relay commands to the engine room.

    Said to be unsinkable, the Titanic hit an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland in April 1912. More than 1,500 people died while some 700 survived the disaster.

  • Recovered artifacts offer window into piracy's golden age

    Treasure chest 
    Photo Al Behrman

    By Mandy Zajac - ahwatukee

    As a kid growing up in Massachusetts, Barry Clifford was familiar with the old tale of a pirate ship wrecked just off the coast in one of the worst Nor’easters on record.

    As an adult, he went out and found it.

    The Whydah, a slave ship seized by pirates and used to plunder some 53 other vessels, was said to be laden with stolen treasure when it sank in a storm in 1717. Nearly 300 years later, it became the first pirate ship ever discovered in North America, when underwater explorer Clifford found the Whydah’s bell, inscribed with the name of the ship and the year she was built, 1716.

    That impressive artifact — still encased in a chamber of briny water to protect it from decay — is one of more than 200 objects on view in “Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship.” A touring exhibition organized by National Geographic, it opens Sunday at Arizona Science Center.

    “For anyone who’s ever dreamed of finding pirate treasure, anyone who’s ever read Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island,’ this is the only pirate treasure ever discovered. The only certified, documented pirate treasure in the world is here,” says Clifford.

    Spanish coins, jewelry, dinnerware, silk ribbon and smoking pipes are on display. So are cannon and roundshot, sword handles, fancy pistols and pikes — long spears with double-edged blades that pirates would use for close combat when boarding ships.

    The items, dragged up from the sea floor by Clifford and his team over nearly 30 years, offer an authentic glimpse into piracy’s golden age — 1680 to 1725.

    “On board the ship, at least a third of the crew were of African origin, and everyone had an equal vote, and everyone had an equal share of the treasure. They had their own type of social security. If a man lost an arm or a leg, he would be given so much money. If he was killed, his family would receive almost a type of insurance.

    Prior to us finding the ship, I didn’t really understand any of that. They were actually experimenting in democracy, (these) outlaws and former slaves,” says Clifford.

    Full story...


  • Underwater footage of 1859 Royal Charter shipwreck

    Royal Charter

    From BBC News

    Underwater video footage of one of Wales' most notable shipwrecks will be shown for the first time next month.

    The steam clipper Royal Charter was smashed on rocks off Moelfre, Anglesey, by a force 12 hurricane - with the loss of least 459 passengers and crew on 26 October 1859.

    The ship was returning from Melbourne on its way to Liverpool, laden with gold.

    Chester Grosvenor Museum will show the film on 25 October.

    Diver Chris Holden, treasurer of the British Sub-Aqua Club's Chester branch, will show the film as part of a lecture to mark the 152nd anniversary of the maritime tragedy.

    Mr Holden and his wife Lesley, of Higher Kinnerton, Flintshire, wrote a book about the shipwreck, called Life and Death on The Royal Charter.

    Mary Tetley, chief executive of the British Sub-Aqua Club, said: "Chris and Lesley have done a phenomenal job in researching the story of the Royal Charter and the lecture will give us a new and fascinating insight into this maritime catastrophe."

    Along with the unseen footage, it will be the first opportunity for many to see artefacts from the wreck, which include a small model of the vessel's newly invented lifting propeller system, recovered from the wreck site less than 12 months ago.



  • Tales from sunkenships in Malaysian waters

    By Fadzli Ramli - Bernama

    At a glance, nobody will be able to guess that Sharipah Lok Lok Sy Idrus is a researcher of ship wrecks, as well as an underwater treasure hunter.

    Sharipah Lok Lok, who is the Assistant Curator of the Museum Department, has proven that her petite figure is no obstacle for her to conduct various types of salvaging work, including diving into the sea to retrieve items from sunken galleons, barges and man-of-wars.

    "Small physical build is not a big challenge, but what is more important is my interest, and to me diving into the sea to see the treasures buried on the ocean floor is something exceptional," she said.

    Sharipah Lok Lok spoke to reporters following a news conference held by the Director-General of the Museum Department Datuk Ibrahim Ismail in conjunction with the exhibition 'The Miracle of Shipwreck Treasures' being hosted here by the National Museum.


    Sharipah Lok Lok made her first attempt at diving during the salvaging of 'Wanli', believed to have been attacked before going down in the waters off Dungun, Terengganu in 1630.

    Wanli was found on Nov 1, 2003, 42 metres below the surface. However, among the challenges faced by Sharipah Lok Lok while diving was the high pressure at this depth.

    This had forced Sharipah Lok Lok to stop halfway through her dive to stablise the pressure on her body and she could only stay two hours under the sea, compared with professional divers in the team who could remain under water for three hours.

    She said what was retrieved from Wanli were broken and half-broken porcelain ceramics, similar to what had been recovered from other ship wrecks off the coast of Malaysia.

    "This had revealed a picture of ceramics trading in Asia in the 17th century where merchants from Europe, including the Dutch, Portuguese and English, bought many ceramics from China," she said.

    Sharipah Lok Lok said among the retrieved items were a mix of motifs including 'Kraak' and 'Transitional Wares' which had earlier been thought to have come from different times.

    She said the motifs were crucial in determining the purpose of the porcelain ceramics, such as for weddings or religious ceremonies.

    The sunken Tanjung Simpang Mengayau was the first vessel that Sharipah Lok Lok had experienced in research operations on sunken vessels. Tanjung Simpang Mengayau sunk after colliding with a reef some 700 metres from the Kudat coast in Sabah.

    The vessel was laden with trade goods from China and thought to be from the Sung Dynasty era (960-1126) is believed to have sunk during that period.

    "The wreck was 12.0 metres below the sea's surface. I did not make any dives, but was only carrying out research on the treasures retrieved from the ship," she said.


    Meanwhile, during the news conference Ibrahim pointed out that the oldest wreck found in the South China Sea was 'Turiang,' believed to have gone down in 1370 and was found resting 42 metres under the sea.

    He said the 26.0 metre-long ship, with its 7.5 metre-high mast, was made from wood and details indicated that the vessel was from China.

    "It was found in May 1998 with ceramics cargo from China, Vietnam and Thailand. Among the recovered items were Turiang ceramics from China, a 'green-glazed' variety from Sisatchanalai, Thailand and under-glazed bowls from Vietnam," he said.

    Another vessel with a consignment of ceramics that went down in 1830, some 2 nautical miles off the Desaru coast in Johor, was the 'Desaru'. It was discovered in 2001, some 20 metres under the sea.

    Ibrahim said the 50 metre-long, 7 metre-wide ship is a junk from China and made from pine and cedar wood.

    "No other junks were found earlier," he said, adding that the discovery shed new light on ship building methods in China during the 19th century.

    He added that most of the blue-white porcelain discovered aboard the ship was believed to be bound for the Southeast Asian market. Among the items were tea and bowl sets, as well as plates with 'Lotus' markings.

    The wreck of the vessel Singtai from China was found in April 2001 and has dispelled the theory that Sisatchanala was the only producer of 'under-glazed' ceramics.

    "This was proven when the ship was found with 'under-glazed' Sisatchanalai and Sukhotai ceramics. The ship did not carry any celadon ceramics," he said.

    The ship is believed to have sunk in 1550, some 12 nautical miles from Pulau Redang, Terengganu. It was discovered 53 metres beneath the sea surface.

  • Showcase of treasures on display from 13 shipwrecks

    By Fadzli Ramli - Bernama

    Seafarers from all over the world have sailed through the waters of Malay archipelago for centuries. Some of their vessels succumbed to inclement weather, leaks or attack and ended at the bottom of the sea.

    Many came from China, the Middle East, as well as within the Malay archipelago.

    "The ship wrecks are like time capsules, each with their own tales to tell," National Museum Director-General Datuk Ibrahim Ismail told Bernama after holding a news conference on the exhibition entitled 'The Miracle of Shipwreck Treasures,' at the National Museum here recently.

    Ibrahim noted that the emergence of Melaka as a trading hub in the 15th and 16th centuries that attracted merchants from around the world.

    "No surprise that some of the thousands of ships that crossed the seas to Melaka had sunk before reaching their destination. That is why the nation's waters are rich with the treasures from the ship wrecks," he said.

    He added that efforts to search and recover ship wrecks in Malaysian territorial waters have been underway since the 1980s.


    The discovery of the sunken wreck of Risdam by a Singapore citizen on April 24, 1984 off the coast of Mersing in Johor ignited interest in ship wrecks around the country.

    Risdam is believed to have sunk on Jan 1, 1727. The Dutch East Indies (VOC) vessel was 46 metres long, 15 metres wide, and 12 metres high.

    Further, he said, the maritime archaeological work was carried out by the Johor museum authorities assisted by divers from the navy and the National Museum.

    Among the items recovered were tin ingots, ivory, timber, and urns.

    Another sunken ship, Diana, was discovered on Dec 21, 1993 by members of the Malaysian Historical Salvors (MHS) at the Melaka Straits. The government outsourced Diana's salvage operations to MHS.

    "Most of the artifacts recovered from the wrecks were ceramics, some 11 tonnes of them that included plates, bowls, and tea sets. Some 24,000 white and blue China porcelain items were also recovered," he said.

    Ibrahim indicated other items recovered from the wreck were herbs, such as green tea, ginseng, ginger, and rhubarb, as well as benzoin and glass beads.


    The Malaysian Museum embarked on recovering ship wrecks in 1995 when its salvage team began to retrieve items from the sunken Dutch warship Nassau.

    "Nassau sank some 5 kilometres off the Port Dickson coast, Negeri Sembilan. It was believed to have sunk on Aug 16 in the battle at Cape Rachado with Portuguese ships," he said. Cape Rachado is now known as Tanjung Tuan.

    The salvage operation took place between August and December 1995 with the assistance from Transea Sdn Bhd, Mensun Bound, and Oxford University.

    He said equipment like 'magnometer' and 'side scan sonar' were used to detect some 5,000 artifacts from the vessel that included muskets, anchors, bullets and ceramics.

    The same year, another Chinese merchant ship, Nanyang that was believed to have gone down in 1380, was discovered in the waters near Pulau Pemanggil, Mersing, Johor. The wreck was found 54 metres under the sea.

    "This ship exemplified a typical Chinese and Southeast Asia architecture and was 18 metres long and had a mast 5 metres high," Ibrahim pointed out.

    He said the vessel's design gave some indication of the type of work ship builders were carrying out in Terengganu at the time. However, research on the wreck has yet to be carried out.

    "400 ceramic items had been retrieved so far. Among the items recovered were pots, small bowls, earthen ware and huge urns with Sisatchanalai patterns," he said.

    Sisatchanalai is an area in Thailand which was a centre for ceramics production in the 14th century.



  • Discover the Sail, Power and Steam Museum in Rockland

    By Shari Closter - Bangor Daily News

    Where can you find a working lime kiln, shipbuilding exhibits, nautical tools, a navigation room, shipwreck photographs, a knot exhibit, architectural half models, steam engines, antique machinery and more ?

    On the grounds of the legendary old Snow Shipyard in the Sail, Power and Steam Museum, where visitors can delve into the history of the working, sailing schooners of the 19th century built at the old shipyard. Visitors to the museum also can learn about power and steam driven vessels.

    The lime industry was a key aspect of Rockland’s history and tens of thousands of sailing vessels were here every year as part of the region’s early development.

    The Snow Shipyard built more vessels than any other yard in Maine or in New England from 1862 until 1937, with hundreds of artisans crafting some of the finest vessels to sail the seas.

    The museum has on display the shipbuilder’s tools of his trade with an extensive display of hand tools of the 19th century.

    You can be a rigger at the museum’s hands-on knot board and rope-working station. Learn the history behind the Matthew Walker knot, as he was the only man to have a knot named after him.

    One exciting addition to the museum is the completion of the first working lime kiln since 1890, which burns limestone and is fashioned like kilns of the late 19th century, complete with two fire boxes and a draw pit to extract the cooked stone. Learn about Rockland’s history as “Lime City,” when more than 100 of these structures burned day and night.

    The museum also has embarked on building Engine House 1, a 16-by-22-foot post and beam structure that was built by volunteers.

    Once completed, it will house a collection of about 10 steam engines and “make ‘n break” gas machinery, so visitors can hear the engines’ unusual cacophony of rhythms all under one roof. Don’t know what a “make ‘n break” engine is ? Find out by stopping by to talk to Capt. Jim Sharp.

    Full story...

  • Trunk that survived 1635 shipwreck at Colonial Pemaquid

    From Bangor Daily News

    A 376-year-old horsehide trunk that survived a shipwreck in Colonial America — caused by one of the most terrific storms to occur along the Maine coast — now is on display at Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site in New Harbor.

    John Cogswell of Buena Vista, Colo., a direct descendant of the same-named American colonist who first owned the trunk, has lent the historic artifact to the Colonial Pemaquid museum for seven years with the possibility of its becoming part of the museum’s permanent collection, according to Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands officials, under the Maine Department of Conservation.

    “We have a centuries-old barrel that once lined a well near the waterfront from which colonist John Cogswell may have drunk, and now we have his personal trunk that actually went down with the shipwreck in 1635,” said Tom Desjardin, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands historian.

    “There aren’t a lot of museums where you can see things that fascinating, especially as a part of Maine’s history.”

    “Our family has been the guardian of the Cogswell trunk since it floated ashore at Pemaquid Point on August 15, 1635,” the most recent John Cogswell said.

    “We are now pleased to pass it along to the State of Maine, which has the perfect place where the public can enjoy this piece of history, including those descendants of families who came to America on the Angel Gabriel which met its fate during the hurricane which sunk it and brought the trunk to shore.

    “The small museum at Pemaquid Point where the trunk will now rest safely and securely is a delightful place and a credit to the people of Maine,” he said.

    Colonial Pemaquid is a unique Maine historic site originally a colonial fishing settlement established in the 1620s that produced and shipped cod to England.

    A reproduction English fort, Fort William, an 18th-century farmhouse and a museum containing rare colonial artifacts and American Indian items going back 7,000 years define the historical significance of the site, located on a sheltered coastal peninsula, to human habitat.

    Last year, more than 28,000 visitors explored Colonial Pemaquid, where special events also are offered by the Friends of Colonial Pemaquid.

    In 1635, the English galleon Angel Gabriel went to the bottom of Pemaquid Harbor in the Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635, Desjardin said.

    John Cogswell, a young merchant hoping to build a new life and business in the New World, had been a passenger on the Gabriel’s voyage from England and, like many of his fellow travelers, disembarked for the night while the ship anchored at the Pemaquid settlement in modern-day Bristol, Maine.

    “Just before dawn the following morning, a storm that may have been the strongest ever to hit the Maine coastline blew through the region,” the park historian related.

    “When it had passed, all that remained of the Angel Gabriel — a ship very much like the Mayflower, only larger and with more cannons — was debris floating in the harbor.”



  • Tudor day at shipwreck museum wows crowds

    From Hastings Observer

    Visitors to the Shipwreck Museum were transported back in time several centuries as the attraction held a Tudor Discovery Day.

    Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth I and her two ladies in waiting, from Tudor re-enactment group Free Company, went on a royal walk about around the museum and held two “Audiences withs” during the day where she discussed her life, her father Henry VIII and the history of the Tudor era.

    Young and old visitors alike received a lesson in royal etiquette from the formidable Tudor monarch.

    The re-enactment group Free Company were able to set up their Tudor tents in the museum’s garden area behind the Primrose Barge.

    Throughout the day they gave demonstrations of Tudor cooking, craft and Tudor surgery as well as talking about daily life.

    In the afternoon they hosted an extravagant Tudor feast for Elizabeth I and her ladies in waiting.

    The spread included whole roast salmon, roast pork in spiced wine, bread, cheese, meats, welsh cakes and Lombard cake (“lethe lumbarde”) with syrup.

    Claire Eden, audience development manager at the Shipwreck Museum, said: “It was lots of fun and provided a hands-on learning experience that the visitors will hopefully never forget.

    “It was also a brilliant event for our year-long 25th anniversary celebrations.”


  • Exhibit opens on Queen Anne’s Revenge

    Queen Anne's revenge exhibit

    By Jannette Pippin - EncToday

    A ship’s bell that was one of the first artifacts raised from the Queen Anne’s Revenge shipwreck now stands at the entrance of the most comprehensive display of artifacts from the wreck believed to be the flagship of infamous pirate Blackbeard.

    The bell, pewter plates, cannons and coin weights are among the more than 300 artifacts that are now part of the new Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge Exhibit at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort. The exhibit opens to the public on Saturday.

    The artifacts date the QAR shipwreck from 1700 to 1725 and help to tell the story of Blackbeard, his flagship and the place piracy had in North Carolina’s history.

    “They are all like bits of clues (into that time period),” said David Bennett, a museum collections intern who helped to give tours for those who got an early preview.

    The exhibit begins with a bit of history about Blackbeard, and from the start it’s clear that many mysteries still remain about the man, who was also known as Edward Teach or Edward Thatch and spent time as a licensed privateer before turning to piracy.

    A model of how the Queen Anne’s Revenge likely looked sits in one corner of the exhibit and not far from it are display boards that tell of its demise. In 1718, Blackbeard ran his ship aground in Beaufort Inlet, roughly two miles from where the museum stands today. A map shows what shoaling may have looked like in the area at that time, but it’s still not known whether it was shifting sands or other reason that led to Blackbeard’s actions.

    “We don’t know exactly why he ran aground,” Bennett explained. “It could have been accidental, that’s one possibility. A second possibility is that he intentionally grounded the ship.”

    In one section of the exhibit, small vials hold flecks of gold dust recovered from the QAR site, but absent from the inventory of artifacts has been a large find of gold.

  • Pirate museum idea floated in Hampton

    From Weblogs Dailypress

    Arrrrr this old idea of transforming Hampton into a pirate destination seems to have got a few landlubbers in a stew, leading to the inevitable calls for folks to walk the plank.

    The Daily Press revealed this week the fondness for the pirate concept expressed by Yaromir Steiner, the Peninsula Town Center guru who has been brought in to wield a big cutlass to the dusty old treasure map that was the Downtown Hampton Master Plan, as well as that of historian John Quarstein.

    Steiner was brought in for a fee of $7,500 a month - for an initial six month period last year to work on a new vision for the downtown.

    The pirate museum concept was mentioned in a vision statement report in April produced by Steiner, but so were other ideas such as an art museum, a community art center, a foundry and glass blowing workshops. However, Steiner dwelled on the pirate concept at some length during a speech to the Hampton Downtown Development Partnership last year.

    Quarstein has produced a more detailed plan for a pirate museum in the present Circuit Court building, which is likely to be vacated when a new circuit court is built in Hampton.

    Quarstein is convinced of the pulling power of the pirate theme..

    "Ever since Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island and Robert Barre's Peter Pan were released, adults and children alike have been drawn to pirate tales," he said in a report on his concept.

    "Movies like Captain Blood and Pirates of the Caribbean always have drawn crowds to enjoy the mythical tales of piracy. Hampton's annual Blackbeard festival draws over 70,000 people into downtown Hampton.

    "Obviously, an effective planned museum presenting pirate and pirate hunter stories would bring visitors to be entertained by this learning experience. When coupled with the existing Hampton History Museum and the Virginia Air and Space Center, the Chesapeake Bay Pirate Museum would extend the time travelers, civilians, and students stay in downtown Hampton."

    Not everyone is as keen on pirates, it seems.

    Full story...

  • Shipwreck exhibit offers tales of danger in New Castle

    By Joey Cresta - Sea Coast Online

    What started as a search for the details behind an old family photograph has blossomed into an exhibit on 400 years of shipwrecks around the island.

    Fort Stark State Historical Site Director Carol White and Assistant Director Joan Hammond have been working on the project for 2½ years.

    White said the two history buffs began researching shipwrecks in the area because of a photograph passed down through the family of Andy White, Carol's husband.

    The black-and-white picture shows the Camilla May Page, a four-masted schooner, wrecked on a rock ledge near Fort Stark on Nov. 18, 1928. White said some of the town's older residents may remember rushing out with burlap sacks and picking up pieces of coal that washed out of the wrecked ship.

    That is just one of the stories highlighted at the new shipwreck exhibit that will be unveiled at the historical site on Wild Rose Lane from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 28.

    White and Hammond scoured old newspaper articles, keeper's logs and wreck reports at the Portsmouth Athenaeum and the public library, and the National Archives in Waltham, Mass., while conducting their research.

    White said they found out early on that no one had ever looked closely at the history of New Castle shipwrecks.

    "This was a whole new line of research, which became exciting," she said.

    They found that more than 100 shipwrecks occurred around the island since the 1600s. Not all of those were dramatic, ship-sinking wrecks, however. Similar to reports on car accidents today, White said, even minor shipwrecks required the filing of reports.

    Eight of the more dramatic wrecks are highlighted on displays inside the Fort Stark visitor's center.

    Most of them occurred around Jerry's Point, the peninsula on the southeast corner of the island where Fort Stark is located.


  • Exhibition: Pirates - The Captain Kidd Story

    Make your own mind up about Captain William Kidd in a revealing new show at the Museum of London Dockland

    From Culture 24

    Captain Kidd is variously portrayed as one of the most dastardly pirates of the 17th century and a privateer whose bravery in attacking hostile foreign ships deserved a little more than his gristly fate. His execution in Wapping, pointedly, has its 210th anniversary during the first week of this show.

    Just as Kidd remains a folkloric figurehead, informing the depiction of characters such as Blackbeard and Captain Jack Sparrow on stage, screen and page, so his life is a starting point for the exhibition’s theme of corrupt political activities entrenched in piracy during the 17th and 18th centuries.

    “It will help people understand the close connection between the pirates of the high seas and the London that funded their activities,” explains Tom Wareham, the Curator of Maritime History at the Museum.

    “The skull and crossbones may not have fluttered over ships in the Thames, but many of the pirates themselves were here at one time or another.”

    The dubious exploits of MPs and a trail of intrigue leading to mighty traders the East India Company is told through a rip-roaring shipload of objects, taking in Kidd’s last letter – going out in style with the promise of hidden treasure – to pirate flags, cannons, treasure maps, gibbet cages and even a Vivienne Westwood outfit from her idolised Pirates collection of 1981.

    Full story...

  • Blackbeard’s flagship focus of upcoming dive and museum exhibit

    Chris Southerly of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources explains during a news conference Wednesday, May 18, at the University of North Carolina Wilmington Center for Marine Science how an inflated lift bag will be used to raise a 3,000 pound anchor from the Queen Anne’s Revenge wreckage 
    Photo Allison Breiner Potter

    By Michelle Saxton - Lumina News

    A state archaeologist from New Hanover County will help lead a dive this month to recover a large anchor and other artifacts from the pirate Blackbeard’s flagship that wrecked off the coast of North Carolina in 1718.

    The remains of Queen Anne’s Revenge, a nearly 100-foot vessel with three masts and 40 cannons, is under about 23 feet of water near Beaufort, Mark Wilde-Ramsing, a deputy state archaeologist in Kure Beach and the project’s director, said Tuesday, May 17.

    "Blackbeard was probably the most recognized, most notorious pirate of the Golden Age of Piracy, which was in the early 1700s," Wilde-Ramsing said.

    His ship’s 13-foot wrought iron anchor is estimated to weigh about 3,000 pounds.

    "It will be a great showpiece and something that should give us good attention now as we attempt to get interest and support to complete the excavations," Wilde-Ramsing said.

    Sporting a gray T-shirt with "Save the Queen" on the back, Wilde-Ramsing joined other researchers and representatives from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Cape Fear Community College for a news conference Wednesday, May 18, at UNCW’s Center for Marine Science about the expedition.

    UNCW’s research vessel The Cape Fear was being loaded up in preparation of the dive planned for May 23 to May 27. CFCC’s vessel, The Dan Moore, will help lift the anchor.

    Also coming up, more than 350 artifact groups from Queen Anne’s Revenge will be on display in Beaufort starting June 11, North Carolina Maritime Museums Director Joe Schwarzer said.

    Some artifacts previously recovered from the ship were on display during the news conference, including a sword quillon block, window glass and brass cufflink set.

    "We’ll have enough to give viewers an idea of what life was like onboard QAR and to raise some interesting questions," Schwarzer said Wednesday,
    May 18. "Why did Blackbeard scuttle the ship? Why didn’t he salvage it more completely?"

    "It’s a very interesting period in colonial history," Schwarzer added. "We don’t have all the answers yet, but this exhibit will start to provide the public with a window on the past."

    People are engaged in the subject of pirates, and an archaeological project of this significance can help boost tourism dollars, Cultural Resources Secretary Linda Carlisle said Wednesday.

    "We want to get people to start up at Hatteras at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum and travel down the coast and visit at Beaufort and Wilmington and … down to Southport and being able to get the full story of North Carolina’s very rich, very diverse maritime history," Carlisle said.

    Partnerships with universities and state and federal supporters have helped fund the project during the years, and Carlisle said they hope to gain private and community support as well in helping to raise about $100,000 to $200,000 a year, adding that the goal is to finish recovering artifacts by 2013.

    As long as those artifacts are still underwater they are at risk of being lost during storms, Carlisle said.

    Also, the artifacts could take months or years to be properly cleaned and preserved after being underwater for so long, and officials hope to have the most significant pieces ready for display by 2018 – the 300th anniversary of the Queen Anne’s Revenge shipwreck.

    Queen Anne’s Revenge had been the French slave ship La Concorde until pirates led by Blackbeard overtook it in 1717 and turned it into his battleship, Wilde-Ramsing said, adding that Blackbeard and his crew later blockaded Charleston in May 1718, taking about $500,000 worth of loot before heading to Beaufort.

    Full story...

  • A museum for sunken treasure hunters

    Doug Pope, who recently opened The Maritime Museum of Amelia Island at 1335 S. Eighth St., holds a timber salvaged from an ancient shipwreck off Fernandina Beach, left

    By Angela Daughtry - News-Leader

    Everyone knows about Amelia Island's pirate heritage, but what about the possibility of priceless sunken treasures in our surrounding waters ?

    According to Doug Pope, president of Amelia Research and Recovery of Fernandina Beach, there is a good chance the San Miguel - a Spanish galleon that sunk in 1715 - could be submerged in the waters of Amelia Island.

    An experienced treasure salvager, Pope plans to search for the legendary ship and its treasures in the near future.

    In the meantime, with help from friends, volunteers and donations, Pope has opened The Maritime Museum of Amelia Island at 1335 S. Eighth St.

    The museum has on display many marine artifacts that have been salvaged from historic shipwrecks around the Florida coast, and will focus on the shrimping industry and the U.S. Navy submarine program, as well as the salvaged shipwreck items.

    Most of the shipwreck artifacts were displayed at the Amelia Island Museum of History until 2004, according to Pope. Then they found a home at the dive shop at Hall's Beach Store. Now the ancient marine artifacts can once again be properly displayed in their own museum.

    Pope says the museum will eventually have a research center, a reference library, a chart room, WiFi and other rooms dedicated to different historic time frames. It will also be an outlet for people who want to sell salvaged treasures, and eventually there will also be a museum store, he said.

    There will be no charge to enter the museum, he said, but anyone who donates $5 or more will receive a free poster that identifies different sharks' teeth.

    "We want to share all we can with the community," Pope said. "One of our main focuses will be the shrimp industry." Local shrimper David Cook has offered to donate photographs and artifacts highlighting the island's shrimping history, says Pope.

    Pope is also bringing back to Fernandina Beach the Polly-L, a 71-foot research boat that will be located in the ocean waters near the end of Sadler Road.

    Pope said he plans to do treasure diving within the next few months in search of the San Miguel, a frigate that sailed from Spain in 1715 and was sunk in the waters north of St. Augustine.


  • Was Captain Kidd set up ? New exhibit airs doubts

    Captain Kidd

    By Raphael G. Satter - CBS News

    Many know of Captain Kidd, the Scottish-born buccaneer who terrorized the Indian ocean and was hanged as a pirate at London's Execution Dock.

    Fewer know of his services to the British crown, his royal seal of approval, and the powerful, well-connected noblemen who Kidd believed double-crossed him.

    A new exhibit at the Museum of London Docklands argues that Kidd's career wasn't as black-and-white as the skull-and-crossbones, and invites people to ask whether the 17th century adventurer was made a scapegoat for other men's schemes.

    Curator Tom Wareham said he wanted to highlight the degree to which corrupt lawmakers, conniving noblemen, and greedy London merchants all played their part in funding, outfitting and organizing pirate expeditions.

    There was little doubt about Kidd's guilt, Wareham said. But those who backed him shared in it too.

    "They are guilty," he said. "Of avarice, basically."

    The beginning of William Kidd's story remains unclear. The famed seaman was born in Greenock, Scotland around 1645 and moved to New York — then merely an outpost of Britain's budding empire — sometime thereafter. By 1689 he was cruising the Caribbean as a British gun-for-fire against the French.

    It was a respectable enough life. T

    he seasoned sea captain was routinely called upon by authorities in New York and Massachusetts to help clear their coasts of enemy ships.

    He married one of New York's wealthiest widows and even lent equipment to help build the city's famed Trinity Church.

    But his involvement in a shadowy get-rich-quick scheme — backed by some of the most powerful men in Britain — would prove his undoing.

    Kidd's mission was to prowl the Indian Ocean, hunting pirates and plundering French vessels. Several well-connected noblemen were involved, including Lord Somers, who arranged to get Kidd a royal seal of approval, and Lord Bellamont, who helped organize the expedition and would later serve as governor of New York.

    But the plan was of shaky legality, and in any case things went wrong from the start. Kidd set sail on Feb. 27, 1696, but his crew made rude gestures at a warship as they floated down the River Thames.

    The Royal Navy, unamused, pressed many of them into service, which meant Kidd had to make a lengthy detour to New York to recruit more sailors.

    He made it to waters off East Africa, but the constraints set on him by his sponsors meant he needed to earn cash quickly.

    Kidd unsuccessfully attacked a convoy of Muslim pilgrims from Africa and preyed on Indian Ocean shipping, infuriating the subcontinent's Mughal rulers, with whom the British East India Company was doing a lucrative business.

    Two of his captures were French-flagged ships — legitimate targets, from his point of view — but he was already being denounced as a pirate for abusing natives, torturing sailors, and clashing with allied vessels.

    His relationship with his crew was dreadful; at one point he mortally wounded his gunner, William Moore, by smashing his head with a bucket.

  • Mary Rose sails into orbit

    Ceremony with the Mary Rose

    From M&H news

    Space shuttle Endeavour and its crew of astronauts launched into space today (16 May) carrying a little piece of English maritime heritage with them on their way to the International Space Station.

    A three-inch wooden ball from the 16th century warship, which sank in 1545 in the Battle of the Solent, has joined six astronauts as they sail into the vast ocean of space on Endeavour’s last-ever mission.

    The ball, called a "parrel," was part of the mechanism used to raise sails up the masts of the iconic ship. The Mary Rose Trust in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard presented the crew of the Atlantis Space Shuttle with the artefact with a view to sending it up to space on a future mission. And now that mission has launched.

    As well as carrying the Mary Rose artefact, crew members Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Gregory H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori also have another mission to complete.

    During the 16-day operation, Endeavour will carry the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) to the International Space Station. The AMS is a cutting-edge physics experiment designed to look for anti-matter in the cosmos and, perhaps, unlock the mystery of what makes up most of the mass in the universe.

    John Lippiett, chief executive of the Mary Rose Trust, said: “It was really tremendous to have the opportunity to present this little piece of the Mary Rose to the visiting shuttle crew to take back to Houston, and we are thrilled that she will be making history once more on the final mission for Endeavour.

    “The Mary Rose was as revolutionary in technological advances 500 years ago as the Space Shuttle was in the early 1980s. Both have helped pioneer exploration and advance the sciences. It is most appropriate to mark their place in history in this manner.”

    Full story...

  • Muskegon lumber schooner's 120-year-old sinking honored during Saturday event

    Oil lamps are part of the display in the "Unsolved Mysteries: The Shipwreck Thomas Hume" exhibit at the Hackley and Hume City Barn 
    Photo Matt Gade

    By Eric Gaertner - Muskegon Chronicle

    The schooner named after one of Muskegon's best-known lumber barons will be remembered with a commemorative event on the 120th anniversary of the ship's tragic demise.

    The Hackley & Hume lumber schooner Thomas Hume is set to have her lumber-shipping career and sinking in southern Lake Michigan honored Saturday with a special program at a recently created museum exhibit, premiere of a documentary film, a concert by Great Lakes folksinger Lee Murdock and the release of a new nonfiction book about the topic.

    The exhibit, based on research dives conducted on the shipwreck originally discovered in 2005, is touted for its ability to solve a long-running mystery on how the schooner sank. The dive team's evidence-supported theory is that a storm caused the tragedy, ending more than a century of rumors and other theories concerning the May 21, 1891, disappearance of the three-masted, 132-foot schooner.

    The Lakeshore Museum Center in Muskegon and Holland-based Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates partnered on the exhibit, “Unsolved Mysteries: The Shipwreck Thomas Hume,” which opened earlier this month in the City Barn at the Hackley & Hume Historic Site, 484 W. Webster.

    The commemorative events begin at 3 p.m. Saturday at the exhibit. Those attending the event then move over to the Muskegon Museum of Art, 296 W. Webster, for the concert at 4:30 p.m., followed by the showing of the documentary film.

    Valerie van Heest, a diver and author, was project director for the exhibit. She also co-authored the book with maritime historian William Lafferty and narrated the film with diver Craig Rich.

    Full story...

  • Viking ship not just ceremonial

    The Tune Viking ship, on display at the Viking Ships Museum in Oslo 

    By Nina Berglund - News In English

    For years, it was widely believed that the ancient Tune ship on display at the Viking Ships Museum in Oslo was used mainly as a so-called “grave ship,” perhaps even built for the purpose of being buried in the grave of an important Viking.

    Now a new doctoral dissertation claims that it was not only an ocean-going sailing vessel, but even grounded in its time and underwent repairs.

    The Tune ship is the lesser-known and in the poorest condition of the three vessels on display at the museum. It was discovered on a farm on Rolvsøy, north of Fredrikstad, and excavated from a burial mound in 1867.

    The grave was unusually large, measuring 80 meters in diameter and around four meters high, according to the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo. The vessel, built around 900AD, was best preserved in the areas where it had been buried under thick clay.

    Its remnants, however, paled when the stately Gokstad ship was discovered in 1880 and the Oseberg ship in 1903-04 on the other side of the Oslo Fjord. Now, archaeologist Knut Paasche of the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) maintains in his newly finished doctoral dissertation that the Tune ship was also used on the high seas.

    “Six planks forward on the starboard side are extended at the same place,” Paasche told newspaper Aftenposten this week. “No boatbuilder would do that, not even in Viking times. Repairs to the hull show in all clarity that the ship was damaged under the water line, that is, it had grounded.”

    Paasche doesn’t believe the Tune ship was a ceremonial ship that only was rowed inland until it was brought ashore and used in the burial mound.

    His studies revealed both ruts and signs of wear and tear under the keel, which he contends show that the ship was in use for a long time.

    “The discoveries show that the Tune ship was in use for several years before it wound up in the grave,” he told Aftenposten

    Full story...

  • Sunken Muskegon lumber schooner returns home, in an exhibit

    The lumber schooner Thomas Hume, shown on the bottom of Lake Michigan in this rendering by Robert Doornbos, is the focus of an exhibit set to open next week in Muskegon
    Illustration Robert Doornbos 

    By Eric Gaertner - Mlive

    The long, mysterious trip of a Muskegon lumber schooner's final voyage is figuratively over.

    An exhibit is set to open next week in Muskegon to honor the Hackley & Hume schooner Thomas Hume, its sinking in Lake Michigan nearly 120 years ago and Muskegon's lumbering era.

    The exhibit, entitled “Unsolved Mysteries: The Shipwreck Thomas Hume,” will be open for public viewing beginning Wednesday in the City Barn at the Hackley & Hume Historic Site, 484 W. Webster Ave.

    Based on a partnership between the Lakeshore Museum Center in Muskegon and Holland-based Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates, the exhibit is part of a larger event planned for the 120th anniversary of the schooner's disappearance.

    The May 21 special event will feature the debut of a documentary film and book about the Thomas Hume, along with a concert by a Great Lakes folksinger.

    John McGarry, executive director of the Lakeshore Museum Center, said the Thomas Hume shipwreck and exhibit provides a look into Great Lakes maritime history and Muskegon's lumbering era.

    “The loss of the Thomas Hume was one of the great unsolved mysteries of Lake Michigan,” McGarry said.

    The exhibit is designed to highlight the mysteries surrounding the Thomas Hume. The schooner's disappearance reached legendary status among mariners at the time as rumors, including a UFO abduction or a collision with a steamship, abounded about the tragedy's cause. The captain and six others died.

    By locating and identifying the shipwreck in southern Lake Michigan as the Thomas Hume, divers and historians quashed those century-old theories.

    Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates, a group that helps locate and identify undocumented shipwrecks from Pentwater to the Indiana border, and others concluded that the three-masted, 132-foot schooner sank during a squall. The company had claimed in 1891 that the schooner was too well-maintained to have succumbed to a storm.


  • Sweden's Vasa: 50 years above the waves

    The Vasa

    From The local

    It's been 50 years since the centuries-old Vasa warship was hoisted up from the depths of Stockholm harbour, but as contributor Elizabeth Dacey-Fondelius discovers, preserving this national treasure has been the Vasa's greatest battle.

    The 17th century Vasa warship, Sweden’s most recognizable maritime artifact and archeological asset, celebrates the 50th anniversary of her liberation from the gloom and anonymity of the shallows of Stockholm’s inner harbor.

    On April 24th, 1961 thousands of titillated spectators watched as the waterlogged ship shook loose the final grip of relentless sludge, rose from her watery grave and broke the water’s surface for the first time in three centuries.

    The Vasa had endured an unceremonious 333-year interlude beneath the waves, only to be raised rather ceremoniously and given a second chance at achieving its former glory.

    Despite her blemished beginnings, the Vasa is now a celebrity in her own right having been viewed by an estimated 30 million people in the past 50 years.

    Before a visit, people may think the Vasa Museum is just another museum on a Stockholm tour itinerary.

    After the visit they may very well have fallen in love.

    "We at the Vasa Museum often talk about the ‘Wow Effect’," says Vasa Museum spokesperson Martina Siegrist Larsson.

    "It is the moment a visitor first sees the Vasa coming into the museum. Just beyond the doors of the entrance they stop as if frozen and then gasp, ‘Wow’."

    The Vasa was supposed to represent the power and might of Lion of the North, King Gustav II Adolf, one of Sweden's most celebrate monarchs at a time when the country was near the apex of its power in Europe.

    Her gleaning double-gun decks, ornately adorned with sculpture and allegory were meant to put fear into the foe who might oppose her.

    Glorious flags and pennants flew as the Vasa left the docks at Skeppsholmen, where Blasieholmen is today, for her maiden voyage on August 10th, 1628.


  • A maritime treasure chest will dock in Tacoma

    By C.R. Roberts - Bellingham Herald

    In a Tacoma-area warehouse, curator Joseph Govednik of Foss Waterway Seaport’s Working Waterfront Maritime Museum counts and catalogs the largest known private collection of artifacts related to the maritime history of the Puget Sound.

    These items are spread across a floor of 6,000 square feet, and Govednik slowly brings order to the confusion.

    In a few months, the collection will be ready for the world to see once again.

    “This is an amazing windfall for the Seaport,” Govednik said one cold day last week.

    Collected over decades by winery owner and old Sound salt Bill Somers, the collection rested for decades in a barn on Stretch Island, near Grapeview in Mason County. Somers called his passion the Puget Sound Museum, and he welcomed the occasional guest or schoolchildren who happened by.

    When Somers died at 93 in 1995, the fate of the collection was uncertain.

    Thanks to donations by retired Tacoma businessmen Jim Milgard and George Russell, the Foss Seaport Museum was able to save the collection from being split, auctioned, dispersed and left to the whims of home decorators and theme restaurants.

    “Bill was a history buff in its truest form,” said museum executive director Tom Cashman. “When people saw the collection, they said, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe there’s so much stuff here.’”

    Stuff. Items. Eclectic and specific, miscellaneous and fundamental – it’s a concentration of unique mementos that speak primarily to the steam-powered heart of our maritime heritage.

    Cashman knows what most of it is. But not all.

    There’s a pilot house wheel nine feet in diameter. Steam whistles, funnels, binnacles, anchors and charts.

    Hawsers as thick as a wrestler’s forearm. Finely threaded brass nuts the size of a knee. Rope fenders.

    Nautical macramé of many uses, including the tethering of Japanese green glass fishing-net floats.

  • Of ceramics and shipwrecks

    Another exhibition shows celadon from Yucheon-ri, North Jeolla, where the most refined Goryeo ceramics were made.

    From Joongang Daily

    Two new exhibitions offer the public a first glimpse of ceramics from the Yucheon-ri kiln and the Sinan shipwreck.

    Two new exhibitions at the National Museum of Korea provide fresh insight into Korean celadon, the pale green ceramics widely known for their beauty and artistry.

    The exhibitions showcase ceramics from Yucheon Village in Buan County, North Jeolla, and Sinan, South Jeolla, in an attempt to broaden the public’s understanding of this delicate art.

    “The Song of Nature: Goryeo Celadon of Yucheon-ri Kiln Site” is the first public showing of the results of the 1966 excavation of Yucheon Village kiln site No. 12.

    “Tea, Incense, and Carrying the Soul: Longquan Ware from the Sinan Wreck” shows a collection of ceramics that were carried in the wrecked Chinese vessel in the waters near Sinan.

    The refined Korean celadon known worldwide today is known in Korea as Goryeo (918-1392) celadon, which was created in the kilns of Yucheon-ri, North Jeolla, and Gangjin, South Jeolla.

    These artists developed Sanggam, which are inlaid designs that eventually came to distinguish Korean celadon from its Chinese and Japanese counterparts.

  • Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge sailing back to Beaufort

    The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort

    By George Crocker - WNCT

    For the first time in nearly 300 years, Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, returns to North Carolina.

    It's happening this June in a new exhibit at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort.

    It was 1718 when the notorious pirate ran his ship aground in Beaufort Inlet. That's roughly two miles from where the Museum stands today.

    “We’re piecing together untold stories of Blackbeard, his crew and the ship, that we’ll be able to share with the public through the diligent work of the Queen Anne’s Revenge Shipwreck Project team and the artifacts they’ve recovered and conserved,” said North Carolina Maritime Museums Director Joseph Schwarzer.

    Shifting sands and waterways kept the shipwreck's location a mystery until 1996. That's when the private company, Intersal, Inc. discovered it. For 13 years, archaeologists with the N.C. Underwater Archaeology Branch have led research and recovery on the wreck.

    The Queen Anne’s Revenge Conservation Lab in Greenville has cleaned artifacts and prepared them for exhibition as they have been collected.

    The new exhibit opens on June 11th. It takes up about a third of the Museum's exhibit space, illuminating the life of pirates aboard the ship with artifacts, interactive features and fun facts.


  • 'Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition' coming to the Grand Rapids Public Museum

    "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition"

    By Rachael Recker - The Grand Rapids Press

    The Grand Rapids Public Museum is bringing the stories and artifacts of the 20th century's most infamous sunken ship to the Great Lakes State for its maiden Michigan voyage.

    Premier Exhibitions' “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” will make its Michigan debut, said the museum's spokesperson, Rebecca Westphal, in November in 2012 – the year that marks the 100th anniversary of the vessel's sinking.

    Historically, the month also is the most turbulent and dangerous for ships on the Great Lakes. The SS Edmund Fitzgerald, Michigan's infamous shipwreck, sank in a storm on Nov. 10, 1975.

    “We realize we might be a little early out with this, but we're pretty excited,” said Westphal, director of marketing, communications and customer service at the museum. “It's an exhibit that really takes you to another place in time. It really brings (the wreck) to a personal level in many ways.”

    The blockbuster exhibition, already seen by millions, will be featured in the museum's 7,500-square-foot Lacks Gallery.

    Visitors will enter the exhibit with a male or female boarding pass, giving details about a particular person's life who was aboard the White Star Line's R.M.S. Titanic on its fateful maiden voyage – who they were, why they were traveling, whether they were first class or steerage or if anybody was traveling with them.

    Full story...

  • Barry Clifford on pirates

    Barry Clifford

    By Jef Otte

    Besides maybe monster-truck driver, Barry Clifford has about the most badass job that exists: He's a real-life, bona-fide treasure hunter.

    His 1983 discovery of the Whydah, a pirate ship wrecked off the coast of Cape Cod, provides the backbone of the Real Pirates exhibit currently at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and tonight, Clifford will talk about the process of finding that ship and the projects he and his crew are currently working on. But we got to him first.

    In advance of that appearance, we caught up with Clifford to chat about growing up on the Cape and the particulars of what it takes to find a shipwreck.

    Westword: Being a treasure hunter is not exactly the most common occupation. How did you get into that line of work ?

    Barry Clifford: As a kid -- well, I wasn't really a kid, but when I was younger -- I was doing a lot of work related to diving; I had a salvage business, I was doing rescue work on ships that were distressed, and I had a major in history and sociology. So that and the folklore of shipwrecks, I just kind of mixed them together and made my own career.

    WW: And it was your uncle who told you about the Whydah when you were a kid, right ?

    BC: It was sort of one of those old Cape Cod folk stories, and he used to talk about it all the time. He used to say he knew somebody who went looking for it right after World War II and never found it. But it was something that always resonated in my subconscious, and the more I learned about sunken ships and archeological digs, the more I realized that there were all these sunken ships around the world that nobody had really looked for. They just never had the technology.


  • Grand Rapids Public Museum's underwater exploration event

    Expert onboard: Ken Vrana does some underwater work. He will be at Van Andel Museum Center in Grand Rapids on Wednesday to discuss two explorations

    By Matt Vande Bunte - The Grand Rapids Press

    Sure, a 1990s movie about the Titanic brought in nearly $2 billion at the box office. But that’s not to say the infamous sinking has a corner on the market for shipwreck tales.

    In fact, “Michigan is incredibly endowed with gripping stories” of great historical significance, said an underwater expert who will speak this week in Grand Rapids.

    Ken Vrana and others will discuss two explorations in particular from 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday at Van Andel Museum Center, 272 Pearl St. NW. Admission is $5.

    The presentation will whet visitors’ appetites for a museum exhibit on shipwrecks planned next year.

    “Shipwrecks are often characterized as time capsules. But I like to characterize them as evidence,” said Vrana, president of the non-profit Center for Maritime & Underwater Resource Management.

    “They’re direct evidence of the past that we can use in interpreting the life ways of those before us. We need these treasure troves of scientific evidence to separate the wheat from the chaff and make better interpretations (of history).”

    Full story...

  • Real pirates booty at the Denver museum of nature & science

    From PR Newswire

    Pirate movie buffs will have to wait until May for the release of the latest swashbuckling Hollywood blockbuster, but pirate fans can load their treasure chests with booty right now, as they feast on Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship.

    The world's first exhibition of authenticated pirate artifacts, Real Pirates is on display at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science through August 21, 2011. Visitors can enhance their summer visit with exclusive pirate-themed hotel deals.

    Organized by National Geographic, Arts and Exhibitions International and AEG Exhibitions, Real Pirates tells the amazing story of the Whydah, a pirate ship that sank in 1717 and rested on the bottom of the ocean for nearly 300 years, only to be discovered by underwater explorer Barry Clifford in 1984.

    The exhibition features more than 200 artifacts recovered from the ship wreck off the coast of Cape Cod, including treasure chests of coins, jewelry, cannons and weaponry.

    The exhibition brings the real story of pirates to the public as it's never been told before – through real objects last touched by real pirates. Throughout the immersive 13,000-square-foot exhibition, visitors will experience the perils and privileges of life during the "Golden Age of Piracy."

    Interactive activities include boarding a life-size replica of the ship's stern, hoisting the skull-and-crossbones, tying pirate knots, taking home a pirate hat, participating in a treasure hunt, and more.


  • Wreck of Gold Rush steamship Winfield Scott unveiled at Maritime Museum

    The S.S. Winfield Scott was a side-wheeler that sank off the California coast in 1853

    From the Signal

    The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is pleased to unveil its newest permanent exhibit, the shipwreck of the California Gold Rush steamship Winfield Scott.

    During the California Gold Rush, ships propelled by steam regularly carried passengers and cargos between San Francisco and Panama. One such vessel was the Pacific Mail Steamship Company's side-wheel steamer, Winfield Scott.

    In 1853, the steamer was en-route from San Francisco south bound to Panama with more than 500 passengers and a cargo of gold and mail when it ran aground on Anacapa Island, becoming permanently stranded.

    "Several passenger steamships were lost in 1853. Winfield Scott was the final act that plagued the movement of passengers and cargo," said Robert Schwemmer, Maritime Heritage Coordinator for Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

    "Few shipwrecks have been lost while on their way to Panama, and the Winfield Scott furthers our understanding of what people were taking away from California."


  • Haul from pirate ship Whydah illuminates history

    Eighteenth-century Spanish coins. 
    Photo Kenneth Garrett

    By John Wenzel  - The Denver Post

    Barry Clifford remembers the yarns his Uncle Bill used to spin at a New England fish shack during his childhood, detailing the swashbuckling adventures and tragic loss of the Whydah — one of the world's most famous pirate ships, which sank spectacularly off the coast of Massachusetts in 1717.

    "Every Cape Cod family had their own treasured version of it," said Clifford. "But was it folk story or was it real? And who was going to find it ?"

    As it turns out, Clifford did.

    Now one of the world's most renowned underwater archaeological explorers, he discovered the Whydah in 1984 after years of painstaking research, technological innovation, and trial and error.

    The fruits of that discovery are on display

    in the Denver Museum of Nature & Science's "Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah From Slave Ship to Pirate Ship."

    The National Geographic-backed exhibit, which runs today through Aug. 21, offers a unique glimpse into a lifestyle and culture that continues to fascinate — and terrify — into the 21st century.

    "Real Pirates" is more than an embalmed chunk of history or a gritty curiosity. The Whydah find is unprecedented in its richness, continuing to yield tens of thousands of priceless, often one-of-a-kind artifacts (gold and silver coins, weapons, surgical instruments, clothing) nearly three decades after its initial discovery — and nearly three centuries after it sank into the Atlantic off Cape Cod.

    It's also the first fully authenticated pirate ship discovered in U.S. waters and, according to Clifford, the only real pirate treasure on display anywhere in the world.

    "All of the shipwrecks you've heard about in the Caribbean are Spanish galleons," Clifford said. "They're like big Brinks trucks, going back to Europe with freshly minted coins that were being robbed from the indigenous peoples of the Americas."


  • Historic underwater gear now a museum piece


    By Peter Collins - The Standard

    When Peter Ronald first started diving down to wrecks off the rugged south-west coast he used oxygen cylinders from World War II aircraft connected with stainless-steel pipes and held together with ex-army webbing.

    One of the diving regulators was made of silver solder brass.

    It's primitive compared with the hi-tech gear on today's market, but it did the trick for the former Terang teenager and his mates Andrew and Tim Goodall and Gary Hayden as they dabbled in archaeology in the early 1970s.

    They dived over the Falls of Halladale, Newfield and Schomberg and later the Loch Ard, all famous disasters along the Shipwreck Coast, and helped recover cargo and anchors from the wrecks.

    Today the diving gear is part of the local history collection at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, where Mr Ronald once worked and was director.

    He donated the equipment along with other maritime memorabilia last month.

    "I was pleased Flagstaff Hill accepted it," he said.

    "As teens we were very keen on spear fishing and snorkelling and our parents would drive us down to the Peterborough coast over the Falls of Halladale area.

    "As soon as we could afford it we got some scuba gear and dived down to her. We were at the cutting edge of amateur archaeology. 

    "The Loch Ard was 23 metres down. Most of the others were about 10 metres.

    "We got interested in heavy haulage and used disposable fuel tanks from aircraft which we would sink, then refloat by filling them with air.

    "The anchor on top of Flagstaff Hill weighs over two tonnes and was salvaged with Stan McPhee and John Laidlaw using 20 44-gallon drums.




  • National Maritime Museum Cornwall set for new polar exploration exhibition

    The Endurance, locked in the ice 
    Photo SPRI

    By Ralph Gifford - Culture 24

    With bitterly cold winters becoming increasingly common, the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth is opening a new polar exhibition celebrating Polar adventurers.

    Aptly named On Thin Ice: Pioneers of Polar Exploration, the exhibition has been developed with the help of the Polar Museum in Cambridge and will open on April 8.

    The exhibition focuses on the historic and modern-day achievements of polar pioneers by using photography, artefacts, equipment and personal ephemera highlighting group achievements and individual feats of endurance.

    Ben Lumby, Exhibitions Manager at National Maritime Museum Cornwall, says that the UK has played a major role in the exploration of the Arctic and Antarctic.

    “We are working with the Scott Polar Research Institute, the British Antarctic Survey and a number of famed polar explorers to deliver an exhibition that brings home these remarkable achievements,” says Ben.


  • Shipwreck in a cornfield fills kinky museum

    By Betsa Marsh - Travel Arts Syndicate

    Travellers who are “goin’ to Kansas City,” like the old song says, usually set their GPSs for hot jazz and spicy barbecue.

    But another contingent zeros in on the region’s quirky collections, from Marilyn Monroe’s locks at Leila’s Hair Museum to TWA’s paper flight attendant dresses at the Airline History Museum. And who can resist the bullet hole in the Jesse James Home where “that dirty coward” Robert Ford shot the outlaw in 1882?

    But lovers of the roadside bizarre hit the jackpot with Kansas City’s Arabia Steamboat Museum.

    Museum owner David Hawley was as susceptible to the lure of shipwrecks and buried treasure as the next explorer. His distinctive siren call, however, drew him not to the Atlantic or Pacific, but to a Kansas cornfield.

    His quest was for the Arabia, a side-wheel steamboat that was only three years old when she rammed a log and sank in the muddy Missouri River in 1856. Hawley was undaunted when his research indicated that the wreck was probably under Judge Norman Sortor’s corn crop.

    The Missouri River had moved east a half mile, leaving the steamboat shell and her mystery cargo buried under 14 metres of river-bottom silt. Once the Sortor family gave permission for exploration, Hawley arrived with his proton magnetometer.

    “I walked back and forth across that field,” Hawley recalled. “It didn’t take long before the metal detector picked up the boilers.”

  • Story of 1710 wreck of the Nottingham Galley

    From Sun Journal

    Nautical archaeologist Warren Riess and conservator Molly Carlson will kick off the Maine State Museum's annual series of talks and programs on Wednesday, Feb. 9.

    The “Highlights at the Maine State Museum” presentation is free of charge and will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the museum in the State House Complex off State Street.

    Riess will begin the presentation, “The Incredible Story of the 1710 Wreck of the Nottingham Galley and the Recovery and Conservation of its Artifacts,” with his research about the shipwreck and experience diving at the wreck site off Boon Island near York’s Cape Neddick.

    During that time, Riess and his crew retrieved nine of the Nottingham Galley’s cannons. Carlson will then pick up the story to tell about the Nottingham Galley artifacts that came to her conservation lab. There, she worked on the challenging project to conserve the ship’s cannon-firing supplies, including wadding and a powder bag that remarkably had survived underwater for nearly 300 years.

    Riess and Carlson’s presentation will also cover the more grisly aspects of the Nottingham Galley’s story. The 15-man crew survived the wreck but the ship and supplies were lost. Marooned on tiny Boon Island for 24 days during the thick of winter and faced with starvation, cold and extreme privation, the survivors cannibalized one of their fellow crew members who had died of exposure.

    The museum is currently exhibiting one cannon, along with wadding, a powder bag, tampion, cannonball, grenade, and wooden fuse from the Nottingham Galley. The exhibit will be available for viewing at the conclusion of the evening’s presentation.


  • Experts race the clock to preserve N.C. shipwreck

    Photo Roger Harris

    By Jeff Hampton - The Virginian-Pilot

    After enduring some 400 years buried beneath the Corolla surf, the oldest shipwreck yet found in North Carolina sits on concrete drying and cracking in the Outer Banks elements.

    Experts are scrambling to figure out how best to save it: Submerge it in regular baths, soak it for years in a substance also used in antifreeze, coat it in sugar water, saturate it with an expensive silicone oil or freeze-dry it. Or maybe some combination.

    “I’m not going to get a second chance on this,” said Joe Schwarzer, director of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum and the state’s maritime museums. “I’ve got to do it right the first time. If we fail, I’d like to know it was an informed failure.”

    Advice is coming from several sources, including scientists working on remains of the Queen Anne’s Revenge that Blackbeard commanded and the Civil War-era warship Monitor.

    Experts at East Carolina University are investigating the wreck in Corolla to determine what ship it was and how best to preserve it.

    Eric Nordgren, a conservator with the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, plans to learn more about protecting ancient waterlogged wood while on a trip to England.

    “It takes a lot of time and resources to preserve a shipwreck,” Nordgren said, adding that funding is limited.

    It may be that the 12-ton remains of the shipwreck might be better off outside, sitting on a concrete apron just outside the museum’s back door, Schwarzer said.

    Schwarzer said he is using one short, thick beam to see which is better: indoor or outdoor storage. So far, the beam inside a climate-controlled room also shows signs of deterioration, he said.

  • Museum of pirate lore a nice fit in St. Augustine

    The St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum was originally a tourist attraction in Key West

    By Jim Abbott - sun-sentinel

    In 1668, Jamaican-based pirate Robert Searle captured a Spanish ship and sailed into St. Augustine for a raid that inspired the Spanish to build the massive fort that now sits across the street from the museum.

    Inside the relatively compact but attractive attraction, there's more than a nod to that history.

    In the Rogue's Tavern, visitors can gander at the stories of a dozen famous pirates in one of eight electronic books stationed at a heavy wooden table in the center of the room. On the walls, glass cases contain artifacts, including a display on Drake's raid.

    History can be dry, but the museum dresses it up with some style.

    "Are you tired of spoiled meat and weevil-infested hard tack?" inquires one of the tavern signs.

    And the gross-out factor in these tales can be high:

    Captain Kidd, for instance, was unlucky until the end, strung up twice at his execution because the noose snapped under his weight. Thomas Tew, the Rhode Island Pirate, was killed by a cannonball to the gut that disemboweled him. In another room, Blackbeard's disembodied head tells his story.

    As another sign points out: "Piracy was a very dangerous calling."


  • Treasures from the sea

    By Mitchell Smyth - Toronto Sun

    The little heritage museum in this Alabama gulf coast community of 675 souls houses all the things you'd expect. There are vintage farm implements, old-time dresses, Victorian kitchen utensils, tools, a blacksmith's forge, a Victrola phonograph, etc.

    But there is also something else, something you would never expect in a small-town museum: Artifacts from a multi-million dollar treasure trove recovered from a shipwreck out in the Atlantic.

    A mural, captions on the exhibits and a video tell the story of the ill-fated SS Republic, a sidewheel paddle-steamer, as she sailed from New York to New Orleans in October 1865.

    The U.S. Civil War had ended earlier that year and the South was suffering from shortages of everything, including coinage (paper money was widely distrusted).

    The Republic was carrying a reported $400,000 in gold and silver coins (worth something like $100 million today) for New Orleans banks and businesses.

    On the third day at sea the ship ran into a fierce storm. Crew and passengers threw freight overboard (but not the coinage) to lighten the ship but she could not be saved. Finally, the captain gave the order: "Abandon ship!" The crew and the 59 passengers climbed into four lifeboats and onto a raft. And the Republic went to the bottom.

    Fast forward to the 1990s. Odyssey Marine Exploration, a treasure-hunting outfit headed by Tampa entrepreneurs Greg Stemm and John Morris, took an interest in the story. But how could they find the wreck ?

    Modern computer technology gave them the answer. They fed information on wind speeds, bearings from rescue ships' logs, survivors' accounts (all but 12 of the crew and passengers survived) and other data into a computer and came up with a square measuring 50 km each way, about 160 km southeast of Savannah, Ga.


  • Shipwrecked whisky to go on display at Liverpool Maritime Museum

    Whisky bottle from the SS Politician

    By Jennifer Cordingley - Click Liverpool

    Two bottles of whisky recovered from a shipwreck 70 years ago has gone on display at Liverpool's Maritime Museum.

    The scotch was salvaged from the doomed cargo ship, The SS Politician, which ran aground off the west coast of Scotland on 5th February 1941.

    The ship, which had 28,000 cases of malt whisky aboard, had been bound for Jamaica and America.

    Looters were punished by Customs and Excise for stealing the duty free drink which was a rationed wartime luxury.

    The story of the wreck and looting of whisky by islanders is legendary and was immortalised in book and film Whisky Galore in 1949.

    The two bottles, which were aquired by curators UK Border Agency Museum, will go on display to mark the 70th annirversary of the SS Politician's last voyage.

    Amazingly, one bottle still contains whisky.

    Dawn Littler, curator of Archives at Merseyside Maritime Museum, said: "SS Politician was a famous Liverpool ship.

    "We are very excited to be telling her story because everyone remembers the film about her grounding."


  • Treasure harvested from the Great Basses

    By Gamini Mahadura - Daily Mirror

    A collection of silver coins discovered from a wreckage of a ship that had sunk in the sea off the Great Basses reef (Maha Ravana) off Kirinda on the Southern coast about 310 years ago is now on display at the Galle Marine Archaeology Museum.

    The conservator of artifacts said many of the coins had been damaged and discoloured.

    According to history, the ill-fated ship had been carrying a consignment of silver coins from Surat in the north western coast of India to the eastern coast and while it was sailing through Sri Lankan waters it had gone off course, probably due to a storm and had hit a reef.

    The archaeologist said that the coins manufactured during the reign of the last Mogul emperor Auranzib (AD 1638 – AD 1707AD) had been discovered by a team of marine researchers under Mike Wilson in 1961 and Dr Arthur C. Clark drawing the attention of international marine researchers.

    However, the coins were conserved in the Galle Marine Museum after it was established.

  • Blackbeard's sword ?

    Gilded hilt sword from the Queen Anne's Revenge
    Photo Wendy M. Welsh

    From National Geographic

    Could this partly gilded hilt have held Blackbeard's sword ? There's no way to know for sure, though it was found amid the North Carolina wreck of the Queen Anne's Revenge, the flagship of the infamous 18th-century pirate.

    Since 1997, archaeologists have been excavating the Queen Anne's Revenge. The sword hilt—found in pieces but reassembled for this picture—is among their latest finds and was revealed to the public this month.

    After running aground on a sandbar in 1718 near the town of Beaufort, the ship was abandoned but likely remained intact and partly above water for as long as a year before collapsing and disintegrating, according to archaeologist David Moore of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

    "In any event," he said, "the pirates would have had ample opportunity to take anything that they thought valuable."

    The newfound hilt may have been left behind because it was unwanted, or it may have been inaccessible, according to Moore's colleague Wendy Welsh, a conservator on the project.

    Read and see more...

  • Presumed Blackbeard booty on display at NC museum

    From The Sun News

    New booty is going on display after it was collected from the shipwreck believed to be Blackbeard's pirate flagship.

    The artifacts on display beginning Friday at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh are fresh from the sea. They were recovered in this fall's expedition at the shipwreck site near Beaufort.

    The wreck is believed to be that of Blackbeard's flagship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, which ran aground in Beaufort Inlet in 1718.
    The artifacts going on display until Jan. 30 include part of a handblown blue-green window pane believed to have been in the captain's quarters.

    There's also a brass buckle that may have fastened a belt or weapons bandolier, and brass scale weights for weighing silver coins.

  • Anchor provides deep and meaningful migration insight

    By Sally Pryor - Camberra Times

    A massive salty relic of a bygone era a 1600kg anchor from a 19th century shipwreck will provide a poignant reminder of how times have changed when it is displayed in an upcoming National Museum exhibition.

    The anchor, salvaged from the Nashwauk, which ran aground off South Australia on May 13, 1855, will be featured in the exhibition about the Irish in Australia, due to open on St Patrick's Day in March.

    The ship had been carrying nearly 300 immigrants, 207 of whom were young Irish women who were travelling to Australia with government assistance to take up domestic work.

    All survived the storm that forced them off the boat and on to shore, and many would go on to start new lives in South Australia.

    Exhibition curator Richard Reid said yesterday the wrought-iron anchor, which will be displayed among hundreds of other items related to the long-term Irish presence in Australia, was a potent symbol of early assisted migration in Australia.

    He said parts of the exhibition would serve to remind visitors that migration trends in Australia came about well before the post-war waves of Europeans which came to define multiculturalism in Australia.

  • Cache from shipwreck docking at N.C. museum of history

    A quillon block that was part of a small hunting swordPhoto N.C. Department of Cultural Resources

    From WNCT

    A case exhibit of small artifacts from the wreck of what is believed to be Queen Anne’s Revenge (QAR), Blackbeard’s flagship, will be on display at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh from Jan. 7 through Jan. 30. The artifacts are fresh catch from the fall expedition at the shipwreck site near Beaufort.

    The QAR ran aground in Beaufort Inlet in 1718, and the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources has led research at the site since 1997. The exhibit originated at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort, the official repository for the shipwreck artifacts, within the Division of State History Museums.

    Among artifacts displayed is a part of a handblown blue-green window pane believed to have been in the captain’s quarters. A brass buckle that may have fastened a belt or a bandolier full of weapons will be exhibited. Brass scale weights for weighing reale silver coins will be on view; the reale weights were necessary because the smooth-edged coins could be filed or chiseled down (giving rise to the term “chiseler”), thus devaluing the coins.

    A brass quillon block with gold gilding and a blade fragment from a small hunting sword will also be exhibited.

    The ornate scroll work and fancy handle design were unusual for pirate gear, so the sword may have been acquired on some adventure. It was recovered in 2007 and has been conserved and readied for display.


  • Spanish galleon at Children's Museum in Jensen Beach opens to public

    Kiersten Adams plays in the galley of the 18th century Spanish galleonPhoto Grayson Hoffman

    By Kim Hughes - TC Palm

    Although the newest exhibit at the Children's Museum of the Treasure Coast — a replica of a Spanish galleon named the "Marti Frances" — has only been open since Monday, so far it's getting a big thumbs-up from kids and parents alike.

    The 62-foot ship is a full-size replica of a 1600s Spanish galleon and features two stories and 15 interactive, hands-on exhibits. Named after two of its biggest beneficiaries, Marti Huizenga, wife of businessman H. Wayne Huizenga, and the Frances Langford Foundation, created by the late singer/actress, the ship cost approximately $600,000. Work on the project began in early November.

    The upper deck was closed Thursday as installers from Sparks Exhibits in Orlando fine-tuned some of the stations. Still, there was still plenty to do.

    John Handlen of Jensen Beach visited the exhibit with his daughter, Haley, 6. Frequent museum visitors, they came to check out the newest offering after Handlen's sister told him it had opened this week.

    "It's pretty impressive. I didn't know it was going to be this big," he said.

    Haley, a kindergartner at First Baptist Christian School in Stuart, enjoyed the "What's Cooking?" station that allows guests to pretend to cook in the ship's galley.


  • Maritime Museum restores a vibrant heritage

    By Lisa Crawwford Watson - Monterey Herald

    History may be in the making. But its intrigue lies in the telling or, even better, in the showing.

    In a dramatic effort to bring history to life, Monterey History and Art Association has unveiled the first phase of an expansive, multistage renovation of the Monterey History Maritime Museum at Custom House Plaza in Monterey.

    Since its inception in 1931, MHAA has endeavored to both preserve and portray the colorful, controversial and compelling heritage of Monterey.

    For nearly 80 years, the organization has worked with the City of Monterey, California Department of Parks and Recreation, National Trust for Historic Preservation and other agencies to create continuity between the past and present.

    Most recently, the organization presented the new lobby of the Maritime Museum, redesigned to bring the seafaring adventures of the 1700s, 1800s and early 1900s to life.

    The portal to the museum now features eight large-scale models of historic tall ships, and more than 30 boat lanterns from early eras plus, on permanent loan from the U.S. Navy, the bell from the USS Monterey aircraft carrier, which launched in 1943 and played a significant role in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

    Each ship replica is accompanied by information that creates the context of her maritime heritage.

    "This is the beginning of a whole transformation of the Maritime Museum," said MHAA Executive Director Pam Crowe-Weisberg, who was appointed in 2009. "We have many wonderful collections here, and we really want to present them in a way that attracts a cross-generational audience. Change takes time, but it is time to do something different, to think outside the box." 

    To this end, Crowe-Weisberg hired architects Jennifer Siegal, founder and principal of Office of Mobile Design, a Los Angeles-based firm dedicated to the design of "responsible, sustainable, precision-built structures," and Libby Barnes, who specializes in green residential and commercial design.



  • A shipwreck yields treasures for all to see

    By Margaret Webb Pressler - Washington Post

    The SS Republic is back in Baltimore after more than 150 years. But this time it's in pieces.

    This massive steamship was built in Baltimore in 1853 as a passenger ship and also worked through the Civil War in blockades and gun battles. But on its final voyage in 1865 - delivering a fortune in gold and silver to New Orleans for rebuilding after the war - the ship sank in a terrible hurricane.

    Most of the passengers and crew were rescued, but the Republic and her cargo sank to the sea floor 100 miles off the Georgia coast.

    The ship sat there for nearly 140 years, until the remains were discovered by the shipwreck hunting company Odyssey Marine Exploration in 2003. More than 51,000 coins and 14,000 other artifacts were recovered. Now, the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore offers an exciting, interactive look at the ship, her eye-popping treasure, her frightening end and the huge effort it took to recover her bounty.

    On a recent rainy morning, a group of second- and third-graders from the Al-Huda school in College Park were blown away by the exhibit - almost literally. The kids could not get enough of the hurricane tubes you can stand in to experience 80-mile-an-hour winds. The tubes offer a hint of what it must have felt like on board the Republic before it sank.

    Ahmed Roach, 7, said the powerful wind "felt cold." Huzaifah Khan, also 7, said the wind tunnels made him realize he didn't want to be on a ship during a storm. "It would be scary," he said.

    The kids also lined up to take turns operating a robotic arm, using only a video screen for guidance, to pick up coins and drop them in a bucket. That gave them an idea how hard it is to excavate a site that's so deep underwater, the collection work is done mostly by deep-sea robots.


  • Real Pirates don't walk the plank

    From Culturmap

    Pirates, it seems, have developed a bit of a bad reputation over the centuries, and while they weren’t cuddly puppies in between plundering excursions, life on the ocean was a democratic and team-oriented affair.

    Pirates were hardworking risk takers who roamed the seas hunting for treasure, and some of that loot is just one part of the Houston Museum of Natural Science's Real Pirates exhibit running through Feb. 6.

    Based on the life of sailor-turned-pirate Sam Bellamy and his ship the Whydah, the exhibit goes behind the eye patch for an authentic look at pirate life.

    When you hear pirate, perhaps Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow comes to mind.

    While his eccentric character made an indelible impression on the big screen, in reality many assumptions made about pirates over the years don’t necessarily hold water. David Temple, in-house museum curator for the Real Pirates exhibit, addresses some of the myths surrounding pirates, starting with their most noticeable accessory, the eye patch.

    Many assume pirates wore eye patches to cover their battle scars, but in reality, eye patches were the sign of a great navigator.

    “The pirates would look into the sun to calculate their position and as a result many of them burned their eyes. Pirates with eye patches were old salts who had more experience than others on the ship,” Temple says.

    Sailors also lost eyes due to the dangerous nature of ship life, like flying wood or falling gear.

    Another misconception about pirates is the often-heard “walk the plank” threat. Pirates who roamed the seas in the 18th century made very little use of this glamorized method of punishment.

    In fact, when push came to shove, that’s just what pirates did. They shoved or threw an offending sailor overboard. No plank required. Modern-day pirate tales primarily have J.M. Barrie’s stage production of Peter Pan to thank for the “walk the plank” mythology.

    Pirates earned their reputations as rowdy looters, with no skills and even worse attitudes, and while Blackbeard’s legend didn’t do anything to dispel those thoughts, pirates were mostly sailors who just wanted a better life.

    “Many chose to go pirate because life on the ships were really like modern-day labor unions,” Temple explains. “They were all paid fairly, they were fed and, if you were a pirate, it generally meant you had a skill.”

    The decision to “go on the account” was made mostly by unmarried men who were carpenters, surgeons and entertainers or others who had an appreciable skill.

    Once aboard the ship, life could be violent but also progressive in the democratic way men were treated by the captain and each other. Voting played a crucial role in everything from electing a captain and the ship’s destination to where to dock or if the ship should go to battle.


  • New insights into items from the Mary Rose

    Mary Rose

    By Stephen - ArchNews

    Two major areas will provide new insights into items from Henry VIII’s Tudor warship by facing them against the interior of the ship itself at thenew £16.3 million Mary Rose Museum.

    Speaking in a video update on the progress of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard development, which is expected to be completed in 2012, Exhibition Co-Ordinator Nick Butterley revealed a series of tiny models being laid into cases in a separate storage area at the naval attraction.

    The first area, on the ground floor, will be one of six galleries showing items by type and themes. The Context Gallery, on the two upper levels, will then position exhibits in the areas of the ship where they would originally have been found.

    Craftsmen have had to rework some of the artefacts because of damage or decay, including saws and scalpels used in battle and by medics onboard the ship.

    “We’re trying to make sure everything captures the eye and works together as a story,” said Butterley.

    “It’ll be a real experience, not just the traditional one of looking at the showcases and reading the labels. You’ll feel like you’re immersed in the ship itself.”

  • Rescued USS Monitor steam engine returns to Civil War appearance

    Mariners' Museum's Michael Saul, Elsa Sangouard and Gary PadenPhoto Sangjib Min - Daily Press

    By Mark St. John Erickson - Daily Press

    When Navy divers and NOAA archaeologists recovered the USS Monitor steam engine from the Atlantic in 2001, the pioneering Civil War propulsion unit was enshrouded in a thick layer of marine concretion.

    Sand, mud and corrosion combined with minerals in the deep Cape Hatteras, N.C., waters to cloak every feature of Swedish-American inventor John Ericsson’s ingenious machine, and they continued to envelop the 30-ton artifact after nine years of desalination treatment.

    Just this past week, however, conservators at The Mariners’ Museum and its USS Monitor Center drained the 35,000-gallon solution in which the massive engine was submerged and began removing the 2- to 3-inch-thick layer of concretion with hammers, chisels and other hand tools.

    Working slowly and carefully to avoiding harming the engine’s original surface, they stripped off more than 2 tons of encrustation in their first week of work alone, gradually revealing the details of a naval milestone that had not been seen since the historic Union ironclad sank in a December 1862 storm.

    “This is a technological marvel. It was cutting edge in its day. But what’s really neat is revealing all the wheels, oil cups, valves and other parts that the Monitor’s crew used to operate the engine,” said conservation project manager Dave Krop.

    “If you consider that it spent nearly 139 years underwater, it’s in outstanding shape — though some of the wrought iron has seen better days. And there are some copper alloy parts that look brand new when they’re first uncovered — like they just came off the shelf.”

    Smaller, more compact, yet just as capable as other steam engines of its day, the Monitor’s vibrating side-lever engine was the ideal match for Ericsson’s revolutionary warship.

    Its long, low, horizontal cylinder enabled the engineer to place it below the vessel’s waterline as well as behind a thick armor belt — and that well-protected position virtually eliminated the vulnerability associated with the much larger and more easily targeted engines of the day, most of which towered above the ships’ decks.

    So confident was Ericsson in his engine’s capabilities that he ignored orders to equip the vessel with masts and rigging.

    And it astounded Union and Confederate observers alike with the way it performed in its historic clash with the rebel warship Virginia — also known as the Merrimac — in the March 8, 1862 Battle of Hampton Roads.


  • Blackbeard shipwreck artifacts tell tales of seafaring and sword play

    From Beaufort Observer

    Artifacts recovered this fall from the wreck of the presumed Queen Anne's Revenge (QAR), Blackbeard's flagship, will be displayed by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources for the media at the QAR Conservation lab in Greenville on Tuesday, Dec. 14, at noon.

    Other artifacts that will be transferred to the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort also will be displayed at the news conference at the QAR Conservation lab on the West Research Campus of East Carolina University.

    Altogether they offer glimpses of life at sea in the 1700s.

    Among the 122 items recovered this fall is part of a sword handle with a grip made of antler, which seems to fit a sword guard recovered in 2007.

    This sword likely would have been a pirate's prize as the sword guard had a copper alloy quillon block from a hanger sword.

    The quillon block (the attachment point for the blade) will be transferred to the Maritime Museum. This event will showcase the journey of objects from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean to exhibit at the Maritime Museum, the N.C. Museum of History, and other tourist venues.

    Artifacts to be conserved and to be transferred will be displayed, some at the Maritime Museum before Christmas and at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh in January.

    WHO: N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Linda Carlisle, QAR Shipwreck Project Director Mark Wilde Ramsing, QAR Chief Conservator Sarah Watkins-Kenney, Dr. Diedre Mageean, East Carolina University faculty, and others.

    WHAT: Presentation and examination of presumed Blackbeard shipwreck artifacts

    WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 14, noon

    WHERE: QAR Conservation Lab, West Research Laboratory, 1157 VOA Site C Road, ECU, Greenville, NC 27834

  • A wreck that may replicate

    By Stephen T. Watson - Buffalo News

    In October, a team of shipwreck hunters found a submerged canalboat that possibly dates from the 1830s, making it the oldest boat of its kind found in the Erie Canal system.

    The boat, buried in the murky Oswego River, has kept its secrets for more than 150 years, but canal history buffs are now hoping to uncover valuable information.

    "I'm so excited by this find," said Daniel Franklin Ward, curator of the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse."There really aren't any canalboats from that period that survived, so finding one underwater is about the only way we'll be able to experience one."

    For Erie Canal enthusiasts on this end of the state, the discovery may provide new details for planned replicas and further fuel efforts to build a Buffalo museum to honor the canal's key role in this region's early growth.

    Those advocates are optimistic about a recent shift in focus for development of the inner harbor, but they say Buffalo lags behind Syracuse, Rome and Lockport in honoring its canal heritage.

    "We are really the destination of the Erie Canal, and we ought to own it as a cultural entity. And we have done nothing but bury it at our end," said John S. Montague, co-founder of the Buffalo Maritime Center.

    Jim Kennard has spent years searching for boats buried in the Erie Canal system, the Finger Lakes and elsewhere.

    Two years ago, the Fairport resident and his team found a 1780 schooner, the HMS Ontario, in Lake Ontario that was believed to be the oldest shipwreck discovered in the Great Lakes. This fall, Kennard was on the Oswego River, which connects Lake Ontario to the Erie Canal, because the Oswego Maritime Museum asked him to conduct a survey.

    He and partner Roger Pawlowski went out three times in October in their boat, slowly sweeping the riverbed with a high-resolution sonar scanner.

    "It's very similar to the ultrasound that doctors use to see your heart function or a baby in a woman's womb, but on a much bigger scale," Kennard said. Kennard said he has found about 200 boats in his time, so he knew what they had as soon as he saw the sonar image.

    "We weren't expecting to see this boat there. All of a sudden, it shows up, and we go, 'Whoa, we've got something here,'" Kennard said. Pawlowski dove into the river on one visit in hope of getting photos of the boat, but the rain-swollen waters were too dark with silt for him to see anything or take pictures.

    Sonar images do show the outline of a boat, with some lower-deck cqcrosshatching and what appears to be a stove.

    The boat was found at a point between Fulton and Onondaga Lake, but Kennard declined to be more specific in the interest of protecting the site.

    Less than a foot of the boat's structure sticks out from the floor of the river, but the length offers a hint at its age.


  • State museum showcases wreck of Nottingham Galley

    From Sun Journal

    The Maine State Museum is marking the 300th anniversary of one of Maine’s most storied nautical disasters with a new exhibit of objects recovered from the underwater wreck site of the British merchant ship, the Nottingham Galley.

    Loaded with butter, cheese and cordage, the Nottingham Galley and its 15-man crew set sail for Massachusetts from Ireland in September 1710. After days of worsening weather, the ship crashed into a ledge on Boon Island near York’s Cape Neddick during the stormy night of Dec. 11, 1710.

    The men survived but the ship and its contents were destroyed.

    “The grisly fame of the Nottingham Galley’s story lies in what followed during the 24 days that the ship’s crew was marooned on Boon Island,” said Maine State Museum Chief Archaeologist Dr. Bruce Bourque.

    “Faced with starvation, cold and extreme privation, they cannibalized one of their fellow crew members who had died of exposure. The museum’s small exhibit makes reference to that story.”

     “Additionally, we spotlight another aspect of survival related to the Nottingham Galley,” Bourque said.

    “That survival concerns the ship’s cannons and related cannon-firing supplies recovered from the sea floor by archaeologists in 1995.

    Following a challenging, emergency recovery effort and subsequent conservation of the water-logged and deteriorating objects, the cannons and supplies survive to this day as a remarkable, permanent part of the Maine State Museum’s collection.”

  • Rare French naval gun buried up to 180 years

    Shipwreck explorer Noel HilliamPhoto NZPA

    From odt

    An old French naval gun, which has lain buried under the sands of a beach on the west coast of the North Island for up to 180 years, is about to find a new home in the Dargaville Museum.

    The 189-year-old carronade, a naval mortar which was used for lobbing explosive shells onto other ships, has been in a treatment tank for six years after shipwreck explorer Noel Hilliam and his wife Julie found it by chance on a beach west of Dargaville in 2004.

    Mrs Hilliam stubbed her toe on a metal porthole, believed to have come from the New Zealand Shipping Company freighter Turakina, sunk by the German raider Orion in 1940.

    Mr Hilliam, a Northland shipwreck explorer who never goes to the beach without his metal detector, began a search and found the carronade.

    He said it was a chance find because about four metres of sand had been scoured off the beach by the wave action and returned within a few days.

    "It dropped four metres over two tides. If we hadn't been out there I would never have known it was there. It was a real chance find.''

    Mr Hilliam said a metre or so away his metal detector also uncovered an explosive charge used in the carronade.

    The charge had a small, hollow wooden fuse which was filled with gunpowder. The length of the fuse would dictate when the charge exploded after the fuse had been ignited when the carronade was fired.

    Mr Hilliam said he was astonished and delighted to find the carronade which was made at the Ruelle arms factory in France.

    "I have read about these things but never expected to come across one. I was delighted.''

    He said it was not recognisable because of the marine concretions which had formed over the cast iron carronade but he knew he had found something when it registered on his metal detector.

    The carronade was placed in fresh water for six months so soak the salt out before he replaced the water with sodium hydroxide and put a small electric charge through it to protect it from deterioration .

    That treatment lasted six years until the carronade was removed from the tank last week so a wooden frame would be built for its museum display.


  • Pens from Mary Rose wreck site sold for museum funds

    The pens are made of wood found from the wreck site but are not believed to have been from the ship

    From BBC News

    Pens made of wood found on the wreck site of the Mary Rose are being sold to raise funds for a new museum to house the Tudor warship.

    The 200 pens were created using oak, beech, elm, boxwood and timber, all found on the seabed of the Solent close to the wreck of Henry VIII's flagship.

    The Mary Rose Trust hopes to raise £50,000 towards the £35m museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The vessel sank on 19 July 1545 with the loss of more than 400 lives.

    The wreck was discovered in the 1960s and in 1982 it was raised to the surface to be restored in dry dock in Portsmouth. 

    Each pen is marked with a unique number beginning with "MR", to signify it was recovered from the Mary Rose wreck site, although the wood is not believed to have come from the ship or its artefacts.

    The idea has been supported by broadcaster and author Alan Titchmarsh, who lives in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.


  • British-period sword hilt found

    Sword hangerPhoto Lindsay Wiles Gramana

    By Marcia Lane - St Augustine

    For the about-to-open St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum on Castillo Drive, putting in a wheelchair ramp and a wall turned up artifacts that date to the city's British Period in the mid-1700s, and possibly earlier.

    "This is everyday life in St. Augustine," said City Archaeologist Carl Halbirt of the discovery as he looked through artifacts uncovered by Step Back in Time, the contractors working on the museum scheduled to open Dec. 3.

    A battered piece of bronze is the most significant item found so far, says John Powell of the Colonial Spanish Quarter Living History Museum.

    "It's the hilt fragment of a 1751 model British hanger or short sword," Powell said.

    Originally the piece was shaped with two matching ovals that connected in the middle.

    For some reason, one side broke. He thinks further damage was done in later years, adding that it would take an enormous force to flatten the piece into its current shape.

    The sword would have belonged to an enlisted man and was the type the British used from the time they took over St. Augustine in 1763 and into the Revolutionary War era. The British used the pieces for close fighting in Europe, but in the New World they more often functioned as machetes, Powell said.

    Other pieces found include a gentleman's fancy knee buckle from the late 1700s, a flat metal civilian coat button from the British, Second Spanish or even American period, an iron horseshoe with the nails still in it probably dating from the 19th century and a badly corroded pair of dividers of iron and brass from the late 18th or early 19th century that was used to chart courses on maps or figure distances.


  • Historic artifacts at St. Augustine's new pirate museum

    By Dan Scanlan - Jacksonville

    Ahoy mates, there's some buried booty outside St. Augustine's new Pirate and Treasure Museum.

    But no one needed a map to find the hidden treasure, and it isn't gold doubloons.

    Workers digging Monday to install a handicapped-accessible ramp found historic artifacts from the nation's oldest city. Once it's cataloged and researched, museum spokeswoman Kari Cobham said a new exhibit will be added, aptly called "Buried Beneath Your Feet" for the new discovery.

    "We couldn't have planned it better ourselves," Cobham admitted. "I am looking at a box of them and it is stunning. I see a bottle, a rusty compass, a tooth - it's a pretty big tooth - and some glassware as well."

    St. Augustine city archaeologist Carl Halbirt said the artifacts range from commonplace to unusual. That includes the hilt and guard of a British soldier's dress uniform sword dating back to the 1750s, with hanger intact, as well as a 1780s-1820s button and a man's knee buckle used to close the seams of his breeches.

    It may have come from a British garrison camp site that once occupied the greens between the walls of the Castillo and the British-occupied city.


  • Florida natural history museum shows off ancient watercraft

    Cristina Rabaza - Alligator


    When a drought in Alachua County drained Newnans Lake down to a moist bed of mud, local high school students stumbled upon canoes that hadn’t seen the light of day in several millennia.

    Ten years later, the world’s largest ancient watercraft discovery is now on display at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

    “We dug around with our fingers in the sand for these wet chunks of wood, and we kept finding more and more canoes,” said Eastside High School teacher Steve Everett, who led his students to the site that morning in 2000. “It was pure happenstance that we found them. I’d never seen anything like this.”

    Eight miles east of Gainesville, archaeologists excavated 101 dugout canoes from the lake, ranging from 500 to 5,000 years old. The canoes varied in size, some as long as 31.2 feet and some a bit shorter.

    After several years developing the exhibit, the museum is the first to feature archaeologists’ findings before the exhibit travels across the nation.

    “We decided to broaden the story of the canoes at Newnans Lake into this exhibit because we wanted it to travel nationally,” said Darcie MacMahon, head of exhibits at the museum. “It’s an internationally significant and internationally unique find that our very own scientists worked on, and people in the community were really excited and proud about that.”

    The exhibit also explores the history of canoe construction, its modern uses and the particularly complex process scientists used to study their findings.

    Florida Archaeology Collection Manager Donna Ruhl said the largest canoe discovery before then had only consisted of 12 canoes. She said this time researchers could not move the fragile wood and resorted to carving small shavings from the canoes.

    “We only had a short amount of time until the waters returned after the drought,” Ruhl said, “so we needed to work quickly and get as much information as we possibly could.”

  • Museum showcases steamboat found under cornfield

    By Betsa Marsh - Miami Herald

    But another contingent zeroes in on the region’s quirky collections, from Marilyn Monroe’s locks at Leila’s Hair Museum to TWA’s paper flight attendant dresses at the Airline History Museum.

    And who can resist the bullet hole in the Jesse James Home where that dirty coward Robert Ford shot the outlaw in 1882 ?

    But lovers of the roadside bizarre hit the jackpot with Kansas City’s Arabia Steamboat Museum.

    Museum owner David Hawley was as susceptible to the lure of shipwrecks and buried treasure as the next explorer. His distinctive siren call, however, drew him not to the Atlantic or Pacific, but to a Kansas cornfield.

    His quest was for the Arabia, a side-wheel steamboat that was only 3 years old when she rammed a log and sank in the muddy Missouri River in 1856. Hawley was undaunted when his research indicated that the wreck was probably under Judge Norman Sortor’s corn crop.

    The Missouri River had moved east a half mile, leaving the steamboat shell and her mystery cargo buried under 45 feet of river-bottom silt. Once the Sortor family gave permission for exploration, Hawley arrived with his proton magnetometer.

    “I walked back and forth across that field,” Hawley recalled. “It didn’t take long before the metal detector picked up the boilers.”

    Hawley was on his way to unearthing — literally — one of the great shipwrecks in American history. Today, the boat’s treasures gleam at the Arabia Steamboat Museum in Kansas City’s historic City Market.

    Hawley quickly spread shipwreck fever among his family and friends. His father, Bob, and late brother Greg were soon digging side by side, along with friends Jerry Mackey and David Luttrell, all partners in River Salvage Inc.

    The quintet knew they were searching for a fully loaded steamboat, provisioned in St. Louis and headed for pioneer settlements in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska. But what condition would that antebellum cache be in now, after 132 years?

    On Dec. 5, 1988, they found out. The adventurers pried the lid off an oak barrel and pulled out a muddy but intact china bowl, the first of 200 unbroken pieces unearthed that day.

    It was the start of a flood of artifacts, more than 200 tons pulled from the mire of the Arabia’s holds. Hundreds of hats, thousands of boots, cases of still-green pickles — a sunken emporium rising again to the surface.

    “This is the largest wet organic collection of artifacts in any archaeological site in the world,” said Hawley, who asked advice from preservationists around the globe.

    The partners took on the massive cleaning and restoration task themselves, turning Bob and Flo Hawley’s kitchen into a preservation lab.

    “We didn’t have any money for food anyway,” David Hawley joked.

    The partners initially financed the project themselves, raising $200,000. “We did great [with that] for three weeks,” said Hawley, who worked in the family refrigeration business. “Then we went to the bank and borrowed some, then went back again and borrowed some more.”

    The greatest expense was the equipment and supplies for 20 dewatering wells to pump groundwater away from the excavation pit, working at a furious 20,000 gallons a minute. Friends and family members donated their time to the project that ran round the clock for four months.

    The cadre salvaged all the artifacts and parts of the Arabia herself, finally allowing the groundwater to reclaim the hull in 1989.

    Not content with homespun detection, salvage and preservation, River Salvage Inc. decided to design its own museum, too. “We were originally going to sell what we found,” Hawley said, “but it was such a neat collection we didn’t want to break it up.”

    Today, the power of the Arabia Steamboat Museum is its sheer volume. Not one thimble, but a phalanx of thimbles. Not one pair of children’s boots, but a wall of boots.

    China displays worthy of a department store. Hundreds of hammers, keys, whale oil lamps, clay pipes, hat pins, bottled medicines, matches and candles: All were on their way to waiting settlers in the West.

    The international scope of the goods is impressive, too: Chinese silk, English Wedgwood china, Bohemian trade beads and French perfumes, one of which has been duplicated in the museum’s own 1856 brand.

    Some finds surprised even professional historians, such as the rubber shoes patented by Goodyear in 1849. “A living history settlement near here now lets its re-enactors wear rubber shoes, because they were on the Arabia in 1856,” Flo Hawley said. “They thought they came much later.

    “The rubber items are the only things that no one’s been able to help us preserve, because they didn’t think rubber could last this long.” The rubber shoes on display were merely washed to remove a century of accumulated muck; there are 250 more awaiting preservation.

    About half of the Arabia’s artifacts are on display in the large museum. Others are frozen in blocks of ice, awaiting preservation, a process that could take 20 more years.

    Each explorer has a favorite find. David Hawley’s is the food.

    The Arabia was stocked with oysters, sardines, coffee beans, pickles, ketchup, bottled pie filling and crates of gin, cognac and still-bubbly champagne. The excavators toasted each other with the champagne, “and one of our guys ate one of the sweet pickles,” David Hawley said. “He’s still alive today.

    “The blueberry and cherry pie fillings were amazing. We would take them out of the packing straw and the sun would shine on those bottles and it looked like you could go home and make a pie with it.”

    One of the most disquieting artifacts is a bleached, twisted walnut tree trunk almost two feet in diameter -- the recovered snag that took the steamboat to the bottom.

    The log pierced the hull and smashed the timbers, causing Arabia to take on water and sink 15 feet to the river bottom.

    Over the years as the river shifted course, silt and sand bars built up in the Missouri — too thick to drink, too thin to plow — until the Arabia was 45 feet beneath Judge Sorter’s cornfield.

    Arabia was just one of 300 to 400 steamboats estimated to lie in the graveyard of the Missouri.

    After two decades of research, excavation and restoration, David Hawley’s shipwreck fever rages unchecked.

    “I’d like to find a steamboat that went down in the 1830s,” he said, “and take the whole boat and cargo out. That would be a phenomenal exhibit.”

    His father, Bob, adds the only cautionary note to his son’s treasure-hunting ardor. “There’s one little saying our wives have: ‘One boat, one wife.’ ”

  • Titanic exhibition in London's O2 kicks off Titanic 100th Anniversary

    From i-newswire

    The RMS Titanic arrived in London this week after sailing from Melbourne, Australia and a highly successful exhibition where 300,000 people visited Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition since it opened at the Melbourne Museum in April.

    The public has an insatiable hunger for all that is Titanic. Last week an original promotional poster celebrating the Titanic's maiden voyage sold for $109,000. in London.

    The Titanic Exhibition which just opened at the London O2 features new, never before seen artifacts. In addition to the artifacts that have been touring the globe on exhibition, the new collection of Titanic artifacts is sure to attract a record number of visitors.

    Preserving Titanic artifacts requires a collaborative team of conservators, curators, registrars, archaeologists, historians and other experts to provide continual care and maintenance of the collection from the moment of recovery onward. By strictly following their procedures, RMST can safely share these unique artifacts with the public while respecting their historical context as reminders of the RMS Titanic legacy.

    Coal recovered from the "2000 Research and Recovery Expedition" to the RMS Titanic has been designed into a Limited Edition 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin that is now available for purchase to preserve the memory of the Titanic and those who died on that voyage.

    Each collector coin is engraved with its own unique registration number and includes a Certificate of authenticity issued by RMS Titanic plus comes encased in a clear acrylic protective case.

    Each certificate carries the RMS Titanic Seal by RMS Titanic, Inc. ensuring that is it inlaid with actual coal from the Titanic.

  • Cleopatra the last Queen of Egypt at the Franklin Institute

    A king and a queen

    From Communities Washington Times

    The Franklin Institute, a center for science education with hands-on exploration for children and adults presents “Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt” through January 2, 2011.

    The Franklin Institute is located in the Parkway Museum District is located in the City Center area were visitors will find Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the world class Rodin Museum, the main branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, particularly important as Ben Franklin founded the first free library in Philadelphia (1731.)

    The last great Pharoh of Egypt, Cleopatra lived from 69-30BC. Previously lost to the sands and the sea, her city and palace, built by Ptolmey II (300 B.C.) have been found in the Bay of Aboukir. Many artifacts found on the ocean floor from her royal palace as well as the lost city of Heraclieon and Canopus, the religious center of the region are now on display.

    Imposing in their size and power are the two 16-foot tall figures of a Ptolemic King and Queen from the Temple of Amon at Heracleion, an ancient city near modern day Alexandria.

    Making a search extending back 2,000 years in history even more difficult is that Egypt’s Roman conquerors attempted to rewrite history by destroying all evidence of her existence and her romances with both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, assignations that were as much about romance as they were about aligning Egypt with political power.

    Your visit starts with a brief movie, which introduces two men, Dr. Zahi Hawass, archaeologist and Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and Franck Goddio, underwater archaeologist and director of IEASM. These explorers are looking beneath the sea and into the warm sands of Egypt seeking the final resting place of the elusive queen.

    Stepping beyond what is believed to be a statute of Cleopatra’s body (the head is sadly missing) visitors walk into the ruins of ancient Alexandria and are able to see, quite closely, the very artifacts that once populated the Queens castle and court.

    The presentation is as interesting and impactful as any I have seen. It is also reverently quiet as people listen to the personalized audio tour where the “voice” of Cleopatra narrates your journey centuries back in time.


  • Naval museum to host program on shipwrecks, underwater exploration

    Dr. Mark GleasonPhoto Cory Morse

    By Eric Gaertner - Muskegon Chronicle

    A two-part program focused on shipwrecks, marine technology, scuba diving and underwater exploration is scheduled for Saturday at the Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum, 1346 Bluff.

    Workshops on Remotely Operated Vehicles — unmanned, tethered vehicles that explore and work underwater — and four presentations on Great Lakes shipwrecks are planned for the event. 

    Mark Gleason, the museum’s chief marine scientist and director of education, said the program is designed to provide the community “a better understanding of the underwater world.”

    The program, called Shipwrecks and Robotics in the Great Lakes, is part of the museum’s push to reach out and serve the public.

    Full story...

  • Children's Museum's actual-size Spanish galleon under construction

    A Spanish galleonPhoto by Guy Kitchens

    By Adam Wynn -TCPalm

    Workers have begun creating the actual-size 1600s Spanish galleon that will be the centerpiece of the Treasure Coast Children’s Museum’s Explorer Wing.

    Construction of the 62-foot ship began about two weeks ago and is scheduled to be completed Dec. 5. The ship is being built in the east wing of the museum, at Indian RiverSide Park in Jensen Beach.

    Richard Baron, the museum’s president emeritus and current board member, said the ship will continue the museum’s mission of providing a hands-on, fun learning environment.

    “What do kids have around here to look forward to (playing on) ?” Baron said. “Crawling around in the tubes at McDonald’s ?”

    The ship, named the Marti Frances after donors Marti Huizenga, wife of businessman H. Wayne Huizenga, and the Frances Langford Foundation, created by the late singer/actress, will be open to the public Dec. 17.

    Four-year-old Chase Mitchell received a sneak peak — just a glance really — of the galleon.

    “Wow, that’s cool,” he said. “I can’t wait.”

    The ship will have activity stations on the upper and lower decks to give visitors a feel for the sailor lifestyle. Spyglasses and pneumatic cannons will sit on the top deck, along with stations to teach visitors the fundamentals of sailing and to learn the sights and smells of the sea.

    There will also be a diorama of the captain’s quarters, complete with a captain who has yet to be named.


  • Sunken treasure

    By Alex Millmow - SMH

    The RMS Titanic sails out of Port Phillip Heads this week. More than 300,000 Melburnians have visited Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition since it opened in April at the Melbourne Museum.

    It's apparent we can't get enough of the legendary ship, nor can the rest of the world; some 22 million people worldwide have seen the exhibition.

    Last week an original promotional poster of the famous ship celebrating its maiden voyage sold for £67,000 ($A109,000) in London. 

    The artefacts exhibition featured various odds and ends retrieved from the debris marking the site of the shipwreck. It also included a 16-tonne section of the hull salvaged from the wreck. Hoisting it up from four kilometres down would have taken some doing.

    Titanic's rediscovery 25 years ago launched a debate over ownership of the wreck and the artefacts around it.

    The American company presenting the exhibition in Melbourne, RMS Titanic Inc, was granted salvor-in-possession rights by a US federal court in 1994. It began sending down manned submersibles to retrieve artefacts from the wreck and the field of debris.

    The company mounted six long and arduous expeditions to amass a collection of relics including pieces of china, ship fittings and, movingly, the personal effects of passengers and crew.

    The items were subsequently displayed in galleries to tell the history of the ship from genesis to construction and destruction.

    You could say that the RMS Titanic's time in Melbourne has been a doubly profitable one. Initially, the American court stipulated that RMS Titanic neither owned the artefacts, nor the wreck itself.

    Now a court decision has given RMS Titanic the right to own what it has brought up from the depths. That is, RMS Titanic can now sell artefacts to other galleries and private collectors.


  • Shipwreck artifacts on display

    Chris Arbutine Jr., left, and Andy Arbutine, right, hold 70 lb. silver bars from the AtochaPhoto Belleair Coins

    By Wayne Ayers - tbnweekly

    Prized artifacts recovered from the shipwreck Atocha are on display at the Silver Queen/Belleair Coins on West Bay Drive in Largo.

    Two silver bars weighing about 70 pounds each are the most recent acquisitions, said Belleair Coins president Art Arbutine. The bars were used to mint Spanish coins, both in the New World and Spain.

    The Atocha’s discovery in the mid-1980s by famed treasure hunter Mel Fisher was a cause célèbre that spawned several books, a movie and tons of publicity. The legend was further enhanced when the U.S. government sued Fisher for title to the wreck. Following eight years of litigation, Fisher won the case in a Supreme Court decision.

    Arbutine said the bars he obtained, which are pure silver, came from someone who “was probably an investor in the venture with Mel Fisher.” They are accompanied by certificates of authenticity that include a photograph of the unique markings on each bar.

    When the price of silver goes up, collectors bring in items like the silver bars for sale, Arbutine said.

    “The people that had these, had them for a long time,” he said.

    The Atocha’s remains lie near the Dry Tortugas, about 35 miles from Key West. The silver was mined in Peru and was on its way to Spain in 1662 when the Atocha was caught in a hurricane, Arbutine said.

    Spanish treasure ships would sail to Havana, Cuba, then go halfway to Florida before making a right turn for Spain.


  • Maritime museums preserve the history of shipwrecks

    By Brian Benson - The Patriot Ledger

    On a stormy October morning in 1849, strong winds blew the brig St. John and its 120 Irish immigrant passengers into Grampus Ledge off the Cohasset coast.

    Rocks rapidly tore through the ship, cutting away its masts as passengers were swept into the strong surf.

    More than 99 people died.

    While the tale of the St. John is well-documented, there are fewer details of many of the other 250-plus wrecks off the coast of Hull, Cohasset and Scituate, historians said.

    That is why staff at maritime museums in the three towns work to preserve the history by displaying artifacts recovered from the wrecks, model ships and tools used by lifesavers who braved storms to rescue seafarers.

    “The shipwreck history is almost completely invisible,” said Victoria Stevens, curator at the Hull Lifesaving Museum. “You can look out at the beautiful ocean and have no idea what’s below the water.”

    Most wrecks occurred in the 19th century, when the shipping channel into Boston Harbor was narrow and passed close to many ledges. Ships were predominantly powered by sail and at the mercy of the wind, which frequently blew them into rocks, Stevens said.

    “The St. John broke apart in 20 minutes,” said Paul Fiori, a Cohasset resident who wrote about the wreck in his book, “On Grampus Ledge.” “The water was rising below deck and people were drowning or jumping overboard.”

    By the 1900s, wrecks were rare because navigation equipment improved, steam replaced wind power and a safer channel was dredged, historians said.

    “We’re trying to recapture the feel of the time,” said David Wadsworth, a historian at the Cohasset Historical Society. “We’re providing insight into what things were like a century-and-a-half ago.”


  • Exhibition gives glimpse into ship passengers' lives

    By Greg Bryan - Arizona Daily Star

    Nils Martin Ödahl set sail aboard the R.M.S Titanic with hopes of traveling to the U.S. to study botany.

    Ödahl traveled alone and was an avid student of agriculture, having studied the subject before in Sweden and Denmark.

    On April 14, 1912, the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank. Ödahl perished with the ship. As a male traveling in third class, the 23-year-old had little chance of survival.

    Ödahl's story is one of many that can be experienced at Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, opening today at the Rialto Building.

    The exhibit is making its debut in Tucson, and has traveled around the world with current exhibits running in Australia and Canada.

    The exhibit resonates with the public, said Alexandra Klingelhofer, vice president of collections for Premier Exhibitions Inc.

    "If you've ever heard of Titanic, if you've ever had an interest in Titanic, if you've ever seen the movie, you have to come see the exhibition," she said. "This is the real story, these are the real artifacts."

    The tour includes 127 authentic artifacts recovered from the Titanic's grave site. Four of the artifacts, including two postcards, a handkerchief and a letter from the luggage of Howard Erwin, are making their debut at the Tucson show. Erwin missed the ship, but his luggage still made it on board.

    The exhibit is designed to chronologically tell the story of the Titanic through the perspective of its passengers, from its construction to its discovery on the ocean floor. Visitors are given a boarding pass with the information of an actual passenger aboard the ship.

  • Work begins on £36m Mary Rose museum

    From Yorkshire Evening Post

    Work begins today on a new £36 million museum which will bring the hull of the Mary Rose and thousands of its artefacts together under the same roof for the first time since they were brought up from the seabed almost 30 years ago.

    The project at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in Hampshire has been described as "the most ambitious heritage construction project seen in Europe this decade".

    The new building housing the Mary Rose's fully-conserved hull and its 19,000 artefacts. It will replace the current temporary museum located 300 metres away, which has space to display only 5% of the Tudor items recovered with the wreck.

    During the construction of the new museum, the Mary Rose will be out of view to the public. When the museum opens in 2012, the preserving chemical sprays that have kept the hull shrouded in mist will be gone.

    The ship will be on display during the final phase of conservation, controlled air drying, until 2016 when the 34-year project to preserve the timbers will be complete. Construction of the museum begins today on the 28th anniversary of the raising of the Mary Rose off the seabed of the Solent just outside Portsmouth Harbour.

    The event was watched by a worldwide television audience of more than 60 million people.


  • Shipwreck ! at the Maryland Science Center

    By Chris Kaltenbach - Baltimore Sun

    Pirates and their plunder, as well as some treasures recovered from the ocean depths, go on display.

    It doesn't look much like coins, this misshapen hunk of stone-encrusted metal. But peer closer, and the coral-like formation turns out to be several dozen 19th-century half-dollars, clinging together like barnacles on a rock.

    Sure, it's ugly. That's what spending more than a century at the bottom of the ocean can do to a coin.

    This numismatic mutation is but one of the many wonders on display as part of "Shipwreck ! Pirates & Treasure," a traveling exhibition opening Friday at the Maryland Science Center.

    Part pirate fantasy, part high-tech odyssey, the exhibit is devoted to treasure, highlighting both the scurvy scalawags who plundered it and the modern adventurers who spend years scouring the ocean floor trying to recover it.

    The result is a happily schizophrenic exhibit that starts off talking about pirates, Jolly Rogers and unfortunate people walking the plank. The exhibit then gives way to a display of high-tech gadgetry used to find and recover the booty from shipwrecks that, for decades or even centuries, have rested quietly on the ocean floor.

    At the center of "Shipwreck!" is a treasure-trove of artifacts salvaged from the wreck of the Republic, a ship that sank about 100 miles off the Georgia coast in 1865 as it was trying to deliver commercial goods to a New Orleans still reeling from the ravages of the Civil War.

    "We really want to show the excitement, the thrill of deep-water- ocean shipwreck exploration," said Ellen Gerth, collections curator for Tampa, Fla.-based Odyssey Marine Explorations, the company that found the wreck of the Republic some 1,700 feet deep in the Atlantic Ocean. "So few people realize that the ocean is truly this vast, unexplored frontier."

    "Shipwreck!" occupies about 8,000 square feet on the center's second floor, and it starts off with a pirate display clearly designed with kids and the "Pirates of the Caribbean"-obsessed in mind.

    Visitors can fashion their own pirate on a computer screen (eye patch optional), practice tying nautical knots and shake boxes of mysterious booty (which could hold coffee beans, lead shot or gold coins).

    Pirate flags are unfurled, including Calico Jack's famous Jolly Roger and Blackbeard's dancing skeleton. In a touch straight out of an amusement park house of horrors, the (fake) skeletal remains of one unfortunate pirate, his red cap still in place, hang from a ship's bow.

    Displays showcase pirate artifacts, such as lead shot and clay pipes, and explain the differences between pirates, privateers (essentially pirates licensed by the government), buccaneers (originally restricted to the Caribbean, although now used to refer to any pirate) and Barbary corsairs (who operated out of North Africa).

    "For whatever reason, people seem to gravitate to pirate legend and pirate lore," said Chris Cropper, the center's senior director of marketing. "There's just something fascinating about it."

    The second half of "Shipwreck!" details the work of Odyssey, focusing primarily on the Republic, which was built in Baltimore in 1853. Launched as the Tennessee, it was used for commercial purposes and as a warship by both the Union and Confederate navies.

    While on its way to New Orleans after the war, loaded with goods and some $400,000 in coins, it sank in a squall.

  • Treasures in storage while pirate museum is created

    St Augustine museum

    From First Coast News

    Out the outside, it looks like a generic warehouse. Inside this as-yet-undisclosed location in St. Augustine, pirate museum props are overflowing the shelves and peeking out of boxes. 

    Pat Croce opened a squeaky door at the warehouse and said, "This is our secret bunker." He smiled a wry smile.

    "I had to rent 6,000 feet to put all this paraphernalia and items we shipped up from Key West. Where was I going to put it ? The museum's not ready for it"

    Shelves are lined with trunks, real and fake swords, and rusty lanterns. An unfinished mural of a pirate ship stretches across one wall of the warehouse. 

    The museum's creative director creates clouds and waves with every stroke of a paint brush. Another man cleaned a cannon on the floor. 

    Croce bounced around the warehouse showing off the items inside and explaining how they will be used in his museum.

    He plopped himself down in an elaborately carved chair and said, "We're going to have a pirate sitting here holding a blunderbuss with all kinds of treasure and artifacts around him!"

    Croce has collected pirate artifacts throughout the years. He's chosen to move his Pirate Soul museum in Key West to St. Augustine and call it St. Augustine's Pirate and Treasure Museum. It will be similar, but, as Croce said, "It will be what was in Key West... on steroids !" 

    There will be more interactive components for visitors as well as a new Hollywood Pirates exhibit.

    With excitement in his voice, Croce said, "We'll have stuff from 'Captain Kidd,' 'The Goonies,' and 'Hook.' I got the hook from Peter Pan ! Oh yeah. It's great!"

    It's not all props. There will be a large assortment of authentic artifacts on display as well. The museum will have a real pirate treasure chest with real pirate booty. 

    Also, Croce landed a deal with the Florida Department of State and the Historic Resources Department to display some of their items that have been under lock and key for years.


  • Titanic exhibition gives rise to truths of the 20th century

    By Robert Reid - The Record

    The Titanic has docked in downtown Kitchener.

    Most people know about the “unsinkable” steamship sinking after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic, even if they don’t know the date — April 15, 1912.

    Thanks to The Museum, history and mystery collide with an exhibition of more than 150 artifacts recovered from the world’s most famous shipwreck.

    Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition is being unveiled Thursday at an invitation-only gala. It opens to the public Friday and continues through Jan. 23. Presented by Atlanta-based RMS Titanic Inc., the largest exhibition in The Museum’s eight-year history is expected to draw record crowds.

    During the past 15 years, international touring exhibitions have attracted more than 22 million spectators. The only company licensed to recover objects from the wreckage has salvaged more than 5,500 artifacts during seven expeditions between 1987 and 2004. Titanic would be impressive were the exhibition simply a collection of artifacts.

    But it is more — much more. It’s the compelling human drama told through the artifacts that makes the exhibition so deeply moving and memorable.

    Many artifacts stop you in your tracks. A display of white plates recovered from the ocean’s floor resembles the headstones of unnamed soldiers in the cemeteries.

    Spread over two floors, the multimedia exhibition spans the inception and construction of the ship through its fateful voyage and aftermath, including recovery and conservation operations.

    After receiving replicas of boarding passes of actual passengers, gallerygoers travel back in time and experience what it was like aboard ship through the use of full-scale, facsimile installations.

    They even get up-close and personal with an iceberg. Gallerygoers gain insight into the science and technology pertaining to the ship. But it’s the stories of heroism and loss, which put a human face on the ill-fated ocean liner, that strike the deepest chords.

    This installment of Titanic features some never-before-shown postcards with Canadian connections. The Museum has partnered with a couple of area institutions. The Fashion History Museum is loaning period clothing, while the Stratford Perth Museum is loaning period luggage.

    The Museum is also partnering with the Grand River Film Festival and Princess Cinema to present a film series, including the screening of James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster. There will also be a mini-lecture series.

    According to the old TV show Star Trek, the intergalactic reaches of outer space constitute the last frontier. But anyone experiencing Titanic might argue that the last frontier is closer to home — the deepest reaches of the oceans that cover 71 per cent of the planet.

    The sinking of the state-of-the-art ship continues to resonate after nearly a century because it is a case of history transcending time and place and becoming symbolic.

    The story of the Titanic encapsulates the story of the 20th century. The event symbolizes the elemental conflict between humanity and nature. Humanity is constantly at the losing end of nature’s wrath, whether the tsunami in Southeast Asia, Hurricane Katrina or the recent earthquake in Haiti.

    Similarly, there is a religious dimension to the sinking of the Titanic. The Judeo-Christian tradition holds that humanity has dominance over nature, despite evidence to the contrary.

    The event is tragic in the common sense of the word because of the loss of life, not to mention the suffering and grief it caused. It is also tragic in the Shakespearean sense because of the narrative that developed contending that it resulted from a human flaw — hubris or arrogance.


  • Southern Turkish exhibition brings Ertugrul ship secrets to light

    From Hurriyet Daily News

    A new exhibition in Mersin is displaying artifacts from the Ottoman frigate Ertuğrul, which sank while returning from an official visit to Japan but ultimately led to longstanding and friendly Japanese-Turkish relations.

    One of the striking remains in the exhibition is a small perfume bottle which is believed to have been sent by the captain’s wife

    Artifacts from a famous Ottoman ship that sunk off the coast of Japan more than a hundred years ago have now been put on a display in the southern province of Mersin, the first exhibition of its kind anywhere in the world.

    The findings included pieces like a perfume bottle sent by the wife of the captain and believed to hold tears, a food boiler and other personal belongings from the sailors, said Bodrum and Karya Culture and Art Promotion Foundation, or BOSAV, Chairman Tufan Turan, the leader of an multinational expedition that has been working on the Ertuğrul shipwreck for the past three years.

    The Ertuğrul was sent by Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamit II to Japan in 1889 but sank as it was returning. The accident, which killed 533 sailors, led to profound Japanese sympathy for the Turks and laid the foundations for continuing warm relations between Japan and Turkey.

    Turan said they started working on the Ertuğrul shipwreck in 2007 and added that Turkish, Japanese, Spanish and U.S. researchers study the ship at Oshima Island, near Kobe, every January and February.

    The research teams work underwater two hours a day, Turan said, adding that more than 6,000 pieces have been removed from the shipwreck since 2007.

    The exhibition will visit other Turkish cities in 2011 before traveling to Japan for display.

    Turan said some literary documents about the Ertuğrul indicate that the wife of Capt. Ali Bey, Ayşe, wrote a letter to her husband for his journey.

    “In the letter, which is mentioned in the novel ‘Vuslata 5 Kala Gidip de Dönmeyenler: Ertuğrul’ [Those who did not return right before the reunion: Ertuğrul], there are statements like: ‘I sent a bottle for you, my tears are in it. I cried a lot when I was apart from you and gathered my tears in this bottle. Now I give this bottle to you, this is the biggest memory from me. Keep it until the end of your life. This is the symbol of my dedication and love to you,’” said Turan.

    “Of course this is a novel but the writer examined documents about the frigate in detail. He even read these letters. When we found a small bottle in the frigate, we remembered these lines. The bottle drew great interest from the Japanese media,” he said.

    “I prefer to look at the bottle through a romantic view, rather than technical. But we don’t know if this bottle is the one mentioned in the letter. It is not possible to make this clear but we are telling people our theories in the exhibition,” he said.

    Among the pieces in the exhibition was also a whistle made of bone, Turan said. “We believe that it was purchased from one of the ports that the frigate visited or that it was given to one of the crew. But we also think that it may have been carved on the frigate.”

    The exhibition can be seen at the Mersin Metropolitan Municipality Congress and Exhibition Hall.

  • Cleopatra in blue


    By Sandip Hor - Today Online

    When in Egypt, many travellers overlook Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast in favour of the traditional tourist path along the Nile, covering Cairo, Luxor and Aswan.

    However the historical significance of the city inspired me to explore its seafront spread, where in 332BC Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great established the capital of the Graeco-Roman Empire. In its halcyon days, Alexandria rivalled Rome in art, culture and commerce.

    It boasted a lighthouse which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and had a colossal library where the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew to Greek.

    I knew not much of that period remains, as devastating floods and earthquakes had destroyed most of the ancient city. I visited Alexandria instead to look for some of the enduring connections with its cherished past.

    At first sight, the landscape and atmosphere of the city appeared more Mediterranean than Middle Eastern.

    It stems from a renaissance the city underwent in the 19th century under the rule of Pasha Muhammad Ali, who is regarded as the founder of modern Egypt because of the dramatic military, economic, and cultural reforms he instituted.

    However, with Cairo booming after the country was declared a Republic in 1953, Alexandria again declined in stature and whatever stands today is only a hint of its past brilliance. Yet, it is still captivating enough to make someone fall in love with it.

    The necklace-like seaside promenade called Corniche is the tourist epicentre as several of the city's attractions - monuments, mosques, museums, hotels and restaurants - are situated along its 32km waterfront.

    At one end of Corniche lies the Sultan Quatbay Fort. It was built in the 15th century at the site of the city's fabled Pharos Lighthouse, which had been destroyed by a massive earthquake a century earlier. It was said that blocks of stone from the lighthouse were used in the construction of the fort.

    Gazing at the turquoise water of the Mediterranean from the fort's bastion, I imagined that I was standing at the balcony of the third century lighthouse watching workers navigating ships through the notorious stretches of the sea.

    At the other end of the Corniche stands the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the city's iconic new library. It sits on the same site as Alexandria's 3rd century BC library, the greatest of its time. According to Bibliotheca's director, the modern version captures the original institution's spirit of openness and scholarship promoted by Alexander's successors.

    Still, a large part of Alexandria lies in the bay or buried under the streets, waiting to be discovered, which explains archaeologists' fascination with the city.


  • Cleopatra exhibition shows her splendor


    By Monica Haynes - Post-Gazette

    Be prepared to spend at least 90 minutes, probably longer on the weekends when attendance tends to be heavier. There are 140 artifacts from a variety of sources, including the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, cultural institutions such as the Egyptian Museum in Berlin and private collectors.

    Among the artifacts are ancient coins that archaeologists believe bear Cleopatra's likeness. And guess what ? She looked nothing like Elizabeth Taylor.

    Still, like the tale of King Tut (the Franklin Institute hosted an exhibition on the boy Pharoah three years ago), Cleopatra's is an intriguing story wonderfully told not only with artifacts but also through video clips, audio narration, maps and photographs.

    "Based on our success with King Tut and through our own research, Egypt and Egyptian themes tend to resonate very well with the American public.

    Why that's the case we don't know, but nevertheless, they continue to be interested," said Troy Collins, senior vice president, programs, marketing and business development for The Franklin Institute.

    "Cleopatra is one of these very timeless, iconic pieces of history. ... People think they know a lot about [her], but once they know the true history and the true story, they become even more fascinated."

    Visitors to the exhibition first encounter a room with a glass floor and blue and green lighting moving around the walls. It gives the feel of being underwater, where many of the artifacts were discovered. Beneath the floor is sand and items such as urns and portions of statues. They next enter a room where a brief film on Cleopatra is narrated by the Queen herself. (Actually, it's an actress.)

    Egypt's last ruler was of Greek descent and a member of the Ptolemaic Dynasty. While her body has never been found and no one really knows what she looked like, she's been described by many ancient historians as "beautiful" and "intelligent."

    The Romans obliterated all traces of her when they conquered Egypt in 30 B.C. Still, enough has been discovered to put together Cleopatra's life, a life less ordinary.

    She was not the first Cleopatra, but actually Cleopatra VII. She was 17 when she became Pharoah and ruled the country with her younger brother, whom she married. She was well-educated and fluent in Ethiopian, Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and ancient Egyptian.

    She had one son with Julius Caesar (Caesarion or little Caesar) and three children with Mark Antony, including a set of twins.

    Perhaps the artifact that gives the most insight into this mysterious monarch is a papyrus from the Egyptian Museum of Berlin, which bears her handwriting.

    It was a document granting a tax exemption for a businessman and friend of Mark Antony. To it, Cleopatra added the word "ginesthoi" -- which means "make it happen."


  • Confederate sub has clues to last mission

    The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley - Associated Press

    From the Augusta Chronicle

    A decade after the raising of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley off the South Carolina coast, the cause of the sinking of the first sub in history to sink an enemy warship remains a mystery. But scientists are edging closer.

    On Friday, scientists announced one of the final steps that should help explain what happened after the hand-cranked sub and its eight-man crew rammed a spar with a powder charge into the Union blockade ship Housatonic off Charleston in February 1864.

    Early next year the 23-ton sub will be delicately rotated to an upright position, exposing sections of hull not examined in almost 150 years.

    When the Hunley sank, it was buried in sand listing 45 degrees to starboard. It was kept that way as slings were put beneath it and it was raised and brought to a conservation lab in North Charleston a decade ago.

    Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the raising of the Hunley, discovered five years earlier by shipwreck hunter Clive Cussler.

    As thousands watched from boats and the shoreline, the Hunley was brought from the depths and back to the lab by barge. Thousands turned out again in April 2004 when the crew was buried in what has been called the last Confederate funeral.


  • Armada cannon on show

    From The Shetlands News

    A fully restored bronze cannon, salvaged from a Spanish Armada ship, is to go on show for the first time in the Shetland Museum and Archives as of Monday.

    The cannon was discovered off Fair Isle and salvaged by a team of marine archaeologists, led by Dr Colin Martin of St Andrews University in 1970.

    It belonged to the El Gran Grifón which ran aground at Stromshellier in Fair Isle in 1588 after the Spaniards lost the mighty sea battle against the English fleet and the remains of the Armada was scattered across the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

    Curator Dr Ian Tait said that Dr Martin’s advice and input over the last two years has led to the museum being able to restore the gun and commission the recreation of an authentic gun carriage.

    The wooden gun carriage has been constructed by the Royal Armouries in Leeds. The iron fittings have been hand crafted using authentic methods by isles blacksmith Bruce Wilcock from Hillswick.

    The wrought iron was salvaged from an anchor dredged from the sea bed off Shetland’s coast. The iron rings, hooks, bolts and cladding have all been accurately recreated.

  • Call for funds to house Guernsey's Roman wreck Asterix

    The Gallo-Roman shipwreck has undergone preservation at the Mary Rose Trust in Portsmouth

    From BBC News Guernsey

    The director of Guernsey Museums has called on people outside the States to help preserve and exhibit the Gallo-Roman wreck Asterix in the island.

    Dr Jason Monaghan said Asterix is the most historically valuable Roman artefact in northern Europe.

    He said a public private partnership could be the way forward.

    Dr Monaghan said: "It's a very exciting idea, but Guernsey is actually quite a small place and maritime archaeology projects are expensive."

    He said: "What we're saying at the moment is the ship is ready we want people now who are interested in helping secure the future of the ship to step forward and to start the discussion of where it's going to go, how we're going to fund it coming here."

    The wreck was found on Christmas Day 1982 in St Peter Port Harbour and raised by the Guernsey Maritime Trust during 1984-86.

    Since then it has undergone restoration work at the Mary Rose Trust in Portsmouth, costing the States £5,000 a year.

    Dr Monaghan said: "It will be finished in terms of conservation in the next couple of months, the Mary Rose Trust have agreed to keep it until the end of 2011 and we're discussing with them whether they can keep it for a couple more years while we establish what we're going to do with the ship long term.

    It shows how important we were in the Roman world and it's also the biggest Roman object from Britain”

    "It would be very nice if it could be brought back to Guernsey, the chief problem is its size, it's 18m (59ft) long. There's no building that the Museums service has which is long enough to put it in.

    "So we have to find a building, we have to convert the building, we have to build a glass showcase to put the ship in with a bit of environmental controls to keep the humidity stable.

    "Then we have to build effectively a museum gallery around it in order to make it interesting for the general public who don't know anything about Roman ships.

    "So we display the artefact beautifully and then we interpret it for locals, for visitors, for school groups so that they can understand what they are seeing so they see how it fits into ships in the Roman world and how Guernsey fits into the Roman world as well."


  • Bristol marks 40th anniversary of SS Great Britain's return

    The SS Great Britain towed under the Bristol suspension bridge in 1970 - Popperfoto/Popperfoto/Getty Images

    By Steven Morris - Guardian

    Salvage diver Lyle Craigie-Halkett sips a glass of water (he's done a lot of talking to old chums and his throat is dry) in the splendidly restored first class dining room of the SS Great Britain and recalls the time a welly boot came smashing through the ceiling.

    "That used to happen quite a lot - it went with the territory on this job," he says. Today was a time for old stories as dozens of people - divers, salvage experts and tugboat crew members - were reunited in Bristol to remember how they helped rescue the first great ocean-going liner and return her to her home city exactly 40 years ago.

    Isambard Kingdom Brunel's magnificent vessel had been scuttled in shallow water in the Falkland Islands at the end of her working life.

    She became a popular destination for picnickers and mussel-hunters but was rotting away until a scheme to refloat her and bring her back to the UK was hatched in 1969.

    "People thought it was a crazy idea and perhaps it was," says Craigie-Halkett. "But we went for it anyway."

    And thanks to the skill of the team, not to mention the cash of tycoon businessman Jack Hayward and dozens of mattresses donated by islanders to plug a worrying hole in the vessel, the rusting hulk was refloated on to an enormous pontoon and towed almost 8,000 miles across the Atlantic.

    Thousands turned out on 19 July 1970, as she was guided up the Avon river and into Bristol where she has been lovingly restored and is now one of the south-west's most popular tourists attractions.

    The memories came thick and fast today. Another of the divers, Stuart Whatley, described how the project came together thanks to "good planning, good logistics, fantastic improvisation."

    He also remembered the mussels with huge pleasure.

    "The ship was covered with them, eight or nine inches long, the biggest I've ever seen. The cook came along and collected bags full of them and we had them for tea. They were marvellous."

    Ivor Boyce, the captain of the tug boat John King, that carefully guided the ship upriver after its ocean crossing, remembers the crowds. "It was just a mass of people.

    The diesel noise was overpowered by the people cheering and honking. It was very, very moving."


  • 7,000-square-foot Titanic exhibit coming to Indy later this year

    By Amy Bartner - Indy Star

    In the world of on-screen heartthrobs, seductive vampires have replaced third-class Titanic passengers like the one played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Yet in the 13 years since "Titanic" premiered -- and in the 98 years since that unsinkable ship sank -- the tragedy still captivates the world.

    Now, artifacts from the most famous shipwreck in history will come to the Indiana State Museum on Sept. 25 as part of "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition," museum officials announced today.

    "There are 240 artifacts, ranging from china, personal objects carried by passengers, up to actual parts of the ship that have been recovered from the seafloor," said Rex Garniewicz, vice president of programs at the museum.

    "One of the great things about the exhibit is that it really tells the whole story.

    "It really is a comprehensive exhibit."

    Visitors will get the opportunity to feel what it was like to be a Titanic passenger.

    "At the entrance of the exhibit, they'll receive a boarding pass with a passenger's name, and they'll go through this exhibit as that passenger," Garniewicz said. "Most of these passengers will be third-class passengers, not first-class."

    As they walk through the 7,000-square-foot exhibit, they'll experience the Titanic from construction to everyday life among the different social classes on board, in re-created cabins and hallways.

    When visitors reach the point of impact with the iceberg that sank the Titanic, they'll be able to touch a chunk of ice set at 28 degrees, the water temperature April 14, 1912, the night of the collision.


  • SS Great Britain: From seabed to national treasure

    SS Great Britain

    By Andrew Bomford - BBC News

    After 37 years sitting on the seabed in the Falklands, the SS Great Britain was brought back home to Bristol in 1970. Exactly 40 years since its return, it has been restored to its former glory with a little help from the Duke of Edinburgh.

    For the 100,000 people who lined the banks of the River Avon in Bristol on 5 July 1970, it must have been a strange sight.

    There to welcome home one of the jewels of Britain's maritime history, the dark rusting hulk which slowly came into view must have seemed like a disappointment. On that boat was the Duke of Edinburgh.

    "There were a lot of people there, I think they were intrigued," he said.

    "The story was fascinating. The dock they built her in was still there, untouched, after all that time. It was extraordinary. There was a real sense of occasion."

    Like a mortally wounded warrior from the battlefield, the SS Great Britain limped home to her birthplace, a shadow of her former glory.

    This was the culmination of a salvage operation which at times seemed futile. The ship has now become a museum, with over 150,000 people visiting it each year.

    The SS Great Britain was the world's first iron-hulled screw-driven ocean liner, propelled by a combination of steam and sail power and launched from Bristol in 1843.

    She criss-crossed the Atlantic, made 32 runs to Australia with emigrants, served as a troop ship in the Crimean war and the Indian Mutiny, and later became a cargo ship.

    The ship was eventually scuttled in the Falkland Islands in 1937 after 50 years as a storage hulk. It had been a sad end for a great ship. Then came the daring rescue mission.

    "She was a ship-shaped lump of iron, rust, and scrap," said Ivor Boyce, one of the tugboat skippers who gently towed her home.

    He remembered telling his friends: "What are they going to do with her? No way can they make that into a viable ship anymore."

    Many others though were swept away by the romance of the story. The daring rescue 8,000 miles from home, the near impossible task of raising Isambard Kingdom Brunel's great iron steam ship from the sea bed, the perilous journey across the Atlantic - all this stirred the hearts of Bristolians.


  • Titanic to be sunk during a show at Carlisle Castle

    From News & Star

    The heart of Carlisle is to be transformed into an outdoor theatre for a spectacular re-enactment of the sinking of the Titanic.

    Carlisle Castle will provide a dramatic backdrop for Theatre Titanick’s dazzling 70-minute performance that will set sparks flying, fireworks shooting into the sky and water cascading across the stage.

    A huge open-air set with seats will be constructed in the grounds of the English Heritage site and the stage will be dominated by the bow of the great ocean liner.

    Set to an orchestra, the drama will begin with engineers constructing the Titanic and end with its legendary sinking. This remarkable production has proved a major hit around the world, including New York, Berlin and Sydney.

    The story of the Titanic, which sank on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic in April 1912, has a particular resonance in Cumbria. Thomas Henry Ismay, who founded the White Star Line – the company that built the doomed liner – was brought up in Maryport and started his seafaring career there.

    The event is one of Lakes Alive’s outdoor arts events taking place across Cumbria during the summer. It is Cumbria’s contribution to the Legacy Trust UK programme which was set up to help build a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    Julie Tait, the director of Kendal Arts International, which creates and directs Lakes Alive along with Manchester International Arts, said: “The atmospheric Carlisle Castle will offer a stunning setting for this epic performance that has amazed audiences across the globe.

    “It is a mammoth show with pyrotechnics, fire, water and music by one of Europe’s leading outdoor performance companies. The scale, sheer drama and quality of the production has to be seen to be believed.”

    The play begins with a symphony of clanging and screeching as engineers rush around to complete the Titanic on time.



  • The 'Other' Silk Road: China peers into maritime past

    A barge carrying the wreck of an 800-year-old sunken merchant ship - China Photos/Getty Images

    By Anthony Kuhn - NPR

    In China, it is hard to imagine just how much history lies right under your feet. The country has long been a goldmine for archaeologists.

    Until recently, they have been confined to digging on land. But in recent years, China has grown into a powerhouse of nautical archaeology, combing its vast coastline for undersea shipwrecks, treasure, and traces of a trade route known as the "Maritime Silk Road," a less-known parallel to the fabled overland passage.

    About 1,000 visitors a day flock to one of China's newest museums, in Guangdong province's Yangjiang city. It is called the Maritime Silk Road Museum, and it is on the beach, facing the South China Sea.

    The museum houses one of the world's oldest known merchant ships, dating from the Southern Song Dynasty in the 13th century. It's been dubbed the South China Sea No. 1.

    Museum guide Liu Jinxiu explains that Chinese and British explorers discovered the ship by accident in 1987 while looking for a sunken vessel belonging to the British East India Company.

    "The explorers used a claw to fish out more than 200 pieces of fine Chinese porcelain," she says. "From this, they deduced that the ship was Chinese, and not British, and the two sides ended their cooperation."

    At the time, China lacked the means to salvage the ship. Archaeologist Zhang Wei of the National Museum of China remembers how he went about setting up the field of nautical archaeology for his country.


  • 1857 - SS Central America Shipwreck Treasures at ANA World's Fair of Money

    SS Central America - Photo: Monaco Rare Coins

    From American Numismatic Association

    The incredible "Ship of Gold" exhibit, showcasing California Gold Rush-era sunken treasure recovered from the 1857 shipwreck of the SS Central America, will make port in Boston at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money, August 10-14 at the Hynes Convention Center. The exhibit is courtesy of Monaco Rare Coins of Newport Beach, Calif.

    The SS Central America was recovered in 1988 from nearly 8,000 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. The ship sank in a hurricane in September 1857 while carrying California gold from Panama to New York City.

    The exhibit also includes one of the 13 recovered octagonal $50 gold pieces produced by the United States Assay Office of San Francisco, and the remains of a wooden cargo box that still contains approximately 110 Double Eagles as they were found on the ocean floor. Many appear to be 1857-S $20 gold pieces, apparently freshly struck at the San Francisco Mint when they were placed in the container for shipping.

    Visitors will see the front pages of three 1857 newspapers that published stories about the shipwreck, the ordeal of survivors and the devastating economic effects created by the loss of the gold. Robert Evans, the chief scientist on the 1980s mission by the Columbus-America Discovery Group that located and recovered the magnificent sunken treasure, will be in Boston to meet visitors and discuss the SS Central America, her cargo, crew and passengers.

    More to read...

  • The Museum lands major Titanic exhibit

    By Terry Pender - The Record

    More than 150 artifacts from the world’s most famous shipwreck are coming to town for a four-month show.

    Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit will run at The Museum, 10 King St. W., from Sept. 23 to Jan. 23.

    “When I looked inside the cases at some of the artifacts it truly is — it really makes you stop,” David Marskell, the museum’s executive director, said in an interview Wednesday. “It is an amazing story that has endured for a hundred years.”

    This will be the largest exhibit yet staged at The Museum and it expects to set a new attendance record.

    RMS Titanic Inc. salvaged more than 5,500 artifacts from the wreckage during seven recovery expeditions to the North Atlantic from 1987 to 2004.

    The company’s small submarines gathered a bewildering array of artifacts, ranging from a 17-ton section of the hull to a child’s small marble. Using the artifacts and recreating many of the ship’s rooms, the exhibit tells the story of the ship from its conception and construction to its fateful voyage and its demise on April 14-15, 1912.

    Marskell toured the exhibit at the Science Centre in Louisville, Ky., and knew right away he wanted it for The Museum.

    “You see a perfume bottle or a pair of shoes or plates that didn’t shatter, it is tough to comprehend what happened, that it was under the ocean so many miles down and now they are coming to Kitchener,” Marskell said.

  • Museum to build replica of Cabrillo's ship

    Replica of Cabrillo's galleon San Salvador

    By Gary Robbins - Science Quest

    Juan Cabrillo made history. But can the late explorer make turnstiles spin for a museum that will evoke his past in a pricey way ?

    The days ahead will tell.

    The Maritime Museum of San Diego is proceeding with plans to build a $5 million replica of San Salvador, the galleon Cabrillo guided to California in 1542 when he became the first European to explore what is today known as San Diego Bay.

    The 88-foot wooden ship is meant to help the non-profit corporation to evolve and compete for visitors in one of the country's busiest tourist destinations.

    The new San Salvador also will serve as an educational exhibit that will enable the museum to talk about everything from 16th century shipbuilding to cartography.

    The museum will dedicate a construction site for the ship this September on public land 1.5 miles from where its main collection of historic vessels are docked on North Harbor Drive. Workers will begin to build the three-masted galleon by the end of the year, says Ray Ashley, the museum's director.

    Plans call for the ship, which will occasionally ply local waters, to open as a paid attraction in 2012, when it joins the museum's other ships at the nearby embarcadero.

    "It’s our expectation that 200,000 people will get to watch the San Salvador being built during the eighteen months it takes, but who knows, it may be many many more than that," Ashley said.

    "But if it really is only that number, it will still serve to double attendance" to the museum.


  • 25th anniversary of fabled Key West shipwreck find

    From Kiks Media

    The 25th anniversary of shipwreck salvor Mel Fisher’s discovery of the sunken Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha is to be commemorated Thursday through Sunday, July 15-18, during Mel Fisher Days on the island the late salvor called home.

    Fisher and his crew uncovered a $400 million cache of Atocha treasure and artifacts July 20, 1985, after a 16-year search. The galleon sank approximately 35 miles southwest of Key West during a 1622 hurricane.

    Fisher’s son Kim Fisher and grandson Sean Fisher lead the continuing search for Atocha artifacts and treasures remaining on the ocean floor. Each year, Fisher family members and friends present the festival.

    Mel Fisher Days activities benefit the not-for-profit Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society, operators of a 200 Greene St. museum where objects from the Atocha and other shipwrecks are conserved, studied and displayed.

    Museum visitors can view items including gold and silver bars and coins, cannons and smaller weapons, rare navigational instruments, ornate jewelry and even a 77.7-carat emerald.

    Festival events are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 15, at the Schooner Wharf Bar, 202 William St. in Key West’s Historic Seaport.

    The evening’s highlight is the presentation of the Mel Fisher Lifetime Achievement Award to internationally recognized shipwreck search and salvage expert Captain Carl Fismer.

    Fismer worked with Fisher on the recovery of the 1622 Spanish galleon Santa Margarita, which sank with the Atocha in Key West waters.

    Other attractions at the Schooner Wharf kickoff include the “Miss Atocha” bikini contest, with contestants encouraged to make and wear their own treasure-themed bikinis.

    The competitor who raises the most money for the museum wins an authentic silver coin from the Atocha site, valued at $1,800. Second- and third-place entrants receive rough emeralds.

  • CSS Alabama Cannon arrives at museum

    CSS Alabama cannon

    From Fox10 TV

    One of the guns of the Confederate raider, CSS ALABAMA has been delivered to The Museum of Mobile.

    The cannon will be a welcome addition to recovered artifacts the Museum of Mobile already has on loan from the US Navy.

    It will become the centerpiece in the 700 square foot exhibit gallery funded by the Mobile Museum Board that will open later this summer.

    The gun is one of eight guns that were originally on the deck of the CSS ALABAMA.

    The CSS ALABAMA sank in about 200 feet of water off Cherbourg, France, after an engagement with the Union's USS Kearsage on June 19, 1864.

    The gun is approximately 10 feet long and weighs 5000 pounds (2 1/2 tons).

    “Now that the gun is in place in our new gallery, we’re all looking forward to sharing it with our visitors.

    I think anyone who’s interested in Confederate Naval history and Admiral Semmes will enjoy seeing this exhibit,” stated David Alsobrook, director.

    “The Museum of Mobile is very pleased that one of the deck guns raised from the CSS ALABAMA will be included in our permanent exhibits gallery.

    Since Admiral Raphael Semmes’s postwar residence and his gravesite are in Mobile, I think our Museum is a logical home for this artifact. Many people have helped bring this project to fruition.

    I want to thank attorney Robert Edington for his extraordinary efforts in leading this acquisition project from the very beginning to its final stages. I think it’s safe to say that the Museum of Mobile wouldn’t have obtained this artifact without the gifted leadership of Mr. Edington.

    We also deeply appreciate the technical expertise of Dr. Paul Mardikian and the Hunley conservators in Charleston, SC, and the collegial assistance of Dr. Robert Neyland of the US Navy’s Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington, DC.

    I also wish to point out that the Museum of Mobile’s Board, under the leadership of our chair, Tony Kendall, underwrote the cost for the renovation of our new exhibits gallery which will include the gun and for other expenses associated with the shipment of the gun, along with strong support from the Friends of the Museum of Mobile and CSS Alabama Association; under the leadership of president Phillip Nassar.

    We are all looking forward to the gun being in place and the fabrication of this new exhibits gallery, which will occur in the coming weeks.

    We have not established a date for the opening of the new exhibits gallery, and that announcement will be forthcoming.


  • Exhibit sheds new light on Cleopatra

    F. Goddio

    From Otago Daily Times

    Was Cleopatra a conniving temptress who seduced her way to the top, or the target of recorded history's most effective negative political campaign ?

    A splashy exhibit making its world premiere at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia makes a case for the latter, using recently discovered artifacts to illustrate two archaeologists' search for the truth - and the tomb - of one of antiquity's most maligned figures.

    Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt, features many never-before-seen artifacts from a pair of ongoing Egyptian archaeological expeditions. It remains in Philadelphia until January, when it begins a tour of five not-yet-announced American cities.

    The show employs theatrical lighting and sound, 17 video screens documenting archaeologists uncovering some of the 150 artifacts on display, and a four-minute video providing an overview of Cleopatra's life and loves in a style that looks and sounds like a trailer for a slick action movie.

    "We're using ancient objects to tell a modern-day story about the search for Cleopatra," said John Norman of Arts and Exhibitions International, the company that organised the show.

    The first of the exhibit's two sections showcases the discoveries of French underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio, whose 20-year Egyptian expedition so far has uncovered Cleopatra's palace, two ancient cities near the coast of the ancient city of Alexandria, and 20,000 artifacts and counting.


  • Cleopatra's Underwater Kingdom

    Cleopatra exhibit at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia

    By Edward Rothstein - The New York Times

    It may be best to dispel any illusions immediately. The only certain images we seem to have of the last queen of Egypt, Cleopatra VII, have no discernible resemblance to the painted faces of Elizabeth Taylor or Claudette Colbert or Sarah Bernhardt. Those visages can be contemplated with far more sensuous contentment than the Egyptian queen’s bulbous, knotty and eroded features stamped on gold coins from the first century B.C.

    But by the time we see the cinematic, romanticized faces of Cleopatra from films and paintings in the final gallery of the new exhibition “Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt,” opening Saturday at the Franklin Institute here, we are prepared to acknowledge the virtue of at least some idealization.

    The wonder we feel is not at Cleopatra’s beauty (which Plutarch reports was “in itself not altogether incomparable”) but at the extraordinary cultural universe that preceded her and surrounded her before Egypt submitted to the Romans in 30 B.C. and Cleopatra — Egypt’s last pharaoh and the end of the Ptolemaic dynasty — committed suicide.

    The exhibition is powerful. But that is not really because of Cleopatra; it is because a lost world is resurrected here. There are some 150 artifacts on display, and the vast majority were found buried in the silt and clay of the Bay of Aboukir, off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt. Since 1992 those waters have been explored by Franck Goddio and his European Institute of Underwater Archaeology.

    Using a nuclear magnetic resonance magnetometer, Mr. Goddio mapped the geographic fault lines beneath the clouded waters and has brought to the surface a small fraction of what lies below.

    He has identified the relics and ruins as remnants of the ancient cities of Canopus and Heracleion, submerged by tidal waves, earthquakes and wars; he has also discovered palaces and temples of the nearby eastern port of Alexandria, the city that the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great made his capital, and that Cleopatra imagined could rival Rome.

    The first half of the exhibition shimmers in atmospheric blue light, the artifacts accompanied by videos of their excavation by red-suited divers maneuvering through opaque waters.


  • Victoria Launches shipwrecks website with over 2000 images

    From GovMonitor

    Visiting the Heritage Victoria Conservation and Research Centre where shipwreck relics are restored and catalogued, Mr Madden said the new online catalogue was a never-before-seen glimpse at some of Victoria’s most famous and protected shipwrecks.

    “Many shipwrecks are no-go zones due to their location, public safety and heritage preservation but this catalogue lets people take a virtual tour of this hidden, underwater world,” Mr Madden said.

    “Victoria has an incredibly rich store of underwater heritage from the early days of exploration and settlement.

    “More than 600 ships are known to have foundered in Victorian waters since 1835 but only 239 wrecks have actually been found and surveyed.

    “Eight highly significant wrecks such as the City of Launceston have been given protected zone status which means they are off-limits to diving, fishing and boating without a permit.

    “The photographs available from today are a wonderful door to our past and this is the first time anyone other than a select few can see this unique part of Victorian history.”

    Mr Madden said Heritage Victoria’s maritime archaeologists had been working to catalogue and protect these sites including the City of Launceston, which sank in 1865 and was found in 1980.

    “These images document more than 30 years work by maritime archaeologists and volunteers and provide a fascinating insight into these wrecks and their historic contents,” Mr Madden said.

    Mr Madden said the photos include pictures of Victoria’s most significant shipwrecks including the Clonmell, City of Launceston and the Clarence.

    “These photographs from historic shipwrecks provide an important record of the state’s underwater heritage,” he said.


  • Falklands celebrates 40th anniversary of SS Great Britain salvage

    From Merco Press

    An exhibition marking the 40th anniversary of the salvage of the SS Great Britain and featuring film footage and original items as well as a wide range of photographs is now open at the Britannia House Museum in the Falkland Islands capital, Stanley.

    Launched in 1843, the SS Great Britain was designed by celebrated Bristol engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the Great Western Steamship Company’s transatlantic service between Liverpool and New York.

    She was the largest vessel afloat when launched, and the first ocean-going ship to be made of iron and equipped with a screw propeller. From 1852 until 1876, the SS Great Britain carried immigrants to Australia.

    In 1882 she was sold again and refitted as a cargo ship, carrying Welsh coal to San Francisco and returning with wheat.

    The SS Great Britain was condemned in the Falklands in 1886 and purchased by the Falkland Islands Company for use as a storage hulk. After 50 years of service in Stanley Harbour, the hulk was deemed unfit for further use, towed out to Sparrow Cove, beached and holed, there to see out the rest of her days – or so it was believed.

    However, in the mid-1960s interest in the old ship was renewed and a plan to return her to Britain for restoration began to gather momentum. The massive operation to return the ship to her home port began in January 1970 with the arrival in the Falkland Islands of a salvage expert who judged there to be an 80% chance of success.

    The salvage operation that followed in April of the same year achieved what few thought was possible – the hulk was patched up, pumped out and refloated, then towed on to the submersible pontoon that would carry her 8,000 miles home to Bristol.

    A number of Islanders were involved in the famous operation –either providing carpentry skills, working on the small boats and launches that helped to tow the hulk into position, or as part of the dive team.


  • Diver to talk about 'Thousand Islands Lost Fleet'

    St Lawrence river

    By Jaegun Lee - Watertown Daily Times

    More than three dozen wrecked pleasure boats and warships from centuries past lie below the surface of the St. Lawrence River waiting for their stories to be told.

    "There are fascinating artifacts on the bottom of the river and we have tons of underwater photos and archaeological photos of these boats," said Raymond I. "Skip" Couch, a veteran diver and founding member of the Clayton Diving Club.

    Mr. Couch will present the findings of area divers, who have been searching the depths of the river to discover these sunken boats, from 9 a.m. to noon June 5 at the Antique Boat Museum, 750 Mary St.

    Cost to attend the "Thousand Islands Lost Fleet" is $15 and includes coffee, dough nuts and admission to the boat museum. The event is sponsored by the Thousand Islands Museum.

    "Around 30 boats have been found between the Rock Island Lighthouse and Deer Island — that's basically the most dangerous area in the Thousand Islands — and we believe that 50 more were wrecked and salvaged in the past," Mr. Couch said.


  • Hutchinson Island museum to dedicate SEAL memorial


    By Joe Crankshaw - TCPalm

    A larger than life-size, bronze statue depicting a fully equipped Navy SEAL, will become the center of a memorial to fallen Underwater Demolition Team men and Navy SEALs on May 28 at the National UDT-SEAL Museum on North Hutchinson Island.

    “It will memorialize all who have given their lives in all wars,” said retired Navy Capt. Michael R, Howard, director of the museum. Howard is a retired SEAL. The acronym stands for Sea, Air and Land, where the highly trained special warriors fight.

    The statue is by internationally known sculptor Roy Shifrin, whose works are displayed in Europe and the United States. It is the second bronze statue at the nationally recognized museum. The first, entitled “The Naked Warrior,” depicts a World War II UDT member who trained at the Naval Amphibious Training Station in Fort Pierce.

    The contrast between the two statues illustrates how the specialized force has evolved. The World War II figure carries a sheaf knife, is clad in swimming trunks and flippers and carries a face mask. The statue of the modern SEAL has a breathing device, helmet, wet suit, flippers, communications gear and a firearm.

    The new statue will be enclosed by a series of curved panels on which the names of all UDT and SEALs, who have died in service, will be engraved.

    A brief ceremony will be conducted when the statue is installed, with a more formal activity planned for Memorial Day on May 31, said Howard.

    The Hutchinson Island facility began as a museum to display treasure from the Spanish Plate Fleet of 1715, which sank during a hurricane off the Treasure Coast. It was one of two such museums, the second was the McClarty Museum in Sebastian.

    After thieves stole treasure exhibits from the Sebastian Museum, the State Department of Natural Resources, which operated the two sites, shut down both of them in 1983.


  • Zwaanendael Museum to explore shipwreck

    From The Cape Gazette

    The Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck and DeBraak, two of the more than 200 shipwrecks that have littered the floors of the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay off Lewes, will be explored in the program Zwaanendael Shipwreck Archaeology which will take place from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, May 29, at the Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes.

    In addition to historical information and a display of artifacts recovered from the two shipwrecks, Zwaanendael Shipwreck Archaeology will include a hands-on activity which will help children better understand the science of archaeology by finding, analyzing and researching, or drawing artifacts.

    The program will also feature a demonstration of stipple drawing by Sharyn Murray, a Millsboro, Delaware artist and Zwaanendael Museum historical interpreter.

    Stippling creates an image through the use of small dots of a single color of pigment, applied with a pen or brush. HMB DeBraak was a British naval vessel that sank in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Henlopen in 1798.

    The ship was raised, and badly damaged, during a commercial salvage operation in 1986.

    The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs (HCA) has curated the remains of the ship’s hull and its contents since they were acquired by the state of Delaware in 1992.



  • Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition

    Titanic first class cabin

    By Ray Edgar - The Age

    When oceanographer Robert Ballard discovered the Titanic in 1985, 4 km. below the Atlantic surface, the debris of the ship was scattered over 2.5 kilometers of ocean floor.

    Since then, those remains have been scattered around the world. At any one time there are eight Titanic: The Artefact Exhibitions on display. And, if they are anything like the Melbourne Museum's exhibition, all are excellent at telling the stories of the doomed ship.

    With 1517 passengers killed (including the man responsible for the design), and another 706 rescued (including the White Star Line's chairman, responsible for the number of lifeboats), there is plenty of human drama.

    RMS Titanic Inc obtained the rights under admiralty law, after Ballard relinquished ownership rights. Over seven dives, it retrieved some 5500 artefacts.

    Despite this, one of the most startling images from the exhibition is pinned to the outside of the Titanic-sized Melbourne Museum. Taken in a Belfast dry dock, the photograph depicts the ship's builders dwarfed next to the propellers.

    As a siren song to the exhibition it makes the actual entrance slightly cheesy, a scaled-down version of the ship's bow. We move through galleries in chronological order, from planning and creation, to walk through 1:1 scale model hallways, bedrooms and even the grand staircase.

    The exhibition gauges its audience cleverly. In the glass vitrines housing the 280 artefacts, the most prosaic objects are filled with portent (a bolt, for instance, is from the lifeboat crane).

    The galleries use lighting to appropriate effect, illuminating the stories of individuals whose photos hang on the walls.


  • Indonesia to build a maritime museum

    From Bernama

    The Indonesian government is planning to build a maritime museum in Jakarta in a bid to save the treasure, artifacts and valuable goods retrieved from the old sunken ships in Indonesia's waters, a minister said Monday.

    "We have planned to build a museum, in particular, to store the valuable goods retrieved from many of ships sunk hundreds of years ago in our waters," Indonesian Maritime and Fisheries Minister Fadel Muhammad was quoted by the Antara news agency as saying after opening an oceanography conference in Bali.

    The minister said that the Indonesian government would contact officials in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) regarding the plan.

    Fadel said that Indonesia's waters have treasures and artifacts from sunken ships that were operated by Arabian, Chinese traders and the Dutch colonial administrator that ruled the country a hundred years ago.

    Now, plenty of treasures and valuable artifacts are placed in several museums across the country, according to the minister.

    "The would-be built maritime museum would gather all of those things and display for the public," he said.

    An Indonesian agency tasked to retrieve those artifacts and treasures found valuable earthenware, ceramics from Chinese and Arabian trading ships that sank in waters off Cirebon, West Java recently, reports said.

  • Cleopatra emerges from sands, seas of time

    By Ford Cochran - Natgeo Newswatch

    A new exhibition traces the life, loves, and death of Cleopatra, Egypt's final pharaoh and one of history's most compelling and enigmatic figures.

    "Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt," which opens June 5 at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute, explores what we know about the woman who descended from one of Alexander the Great's generals, tried to restore the might Egypt had known under some of its most powerful dynasties, saw her kingdom conquered by the Roman Empire, and enraptured both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.

    The exhibition also raises an enduring mystery: Where are Cleopatra and Mark Antony buried ?

    Organized by National Geographic and Arts and Exhibitions International, with cooperation from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities and the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology, the project reunites the team behind the extraordinarily popular "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs."

    Tickets for Cleopatra go on sale today to the general public.

  • 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.


  • Zwaanendael Shipwreck Archaeology features Millsboro artist

    From Sussex Countian

    The Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck and HMB DeBraak, two of the more than 200 shipwrecks that have littered the floors of the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay off Lewes, will be explored in the program “Zwaanendael Shipwreck Archaeology” which will take place on Saturday, May 29, between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., at the Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Hwy., Lewes.

    In addition to historical information and a display of artifacts recovered from the two shipwrecks, “Zwaanendael Shipwreck Archaeology” will include a hands-on activity which will help children better understand the science of archaeology by finding, analyzing and researching, or drawing artifacts.

    The program will also feature a demonstration of stipple drawing by Sharyn Murray, a Millsboro artist and Zwaanendael Museum historical interpreter.

    Stippling creates an image through the use of small dots of a single color of pigment, applied with a pen or brush. Murray has recently completed a collection of stipple drawings of artifacts recovered from the Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck.

    HMB DeBraak was a British naval vessel that sank in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Henlopen in 1798. The ship was raised, and badly damaged, during a commercial salvage operation in 1986. The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs (HCA) has curated the remains of the ship’s hull and its contents since they were acquired by the State of Delaware in 1992.

    The Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck is thought to be the remains of a British commercial ship that ran aground near present day Roosevelt Inlet in the late 1700s.

    The wreck was inadvertently discovered in 2004 during a beach replenishment project that mined sand from the floor of Delaware Bay.

    An underwater archaeological investigation located the shipwreck site in 2005, while a second investigation in 2006 recovered a wide range of artifacts representing the ship's cargo. Recovered artifacts from the shipwreck are curated by HCA.



  • Marine Art Museum (Van) Goghs all out

    By Dustin Kass - Winona daily News

    Minnesota Marine Art Museum officials unveiled a big addition Sunday - a painting by Vincent Van Gogh. "The Beach of Scheveningen," an oil painting the world-famous artist completed in 1882, was one of five new works revealed at an invitation-only event for museum supporters.

    The paintings are on loan from the collection of Bob Kierlin and his wife, Mary Burrichter.

    The Van Gogh further bolsters a collection already featuring works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro, and gives people another reason to visit and support the museum, officials said.

    "A lot of people who don't know golf know Tiger Woods," said Jon Swanson, the museum's curator of collections and exhibits. "A lot of people who don't know basketball know Michael Jordan. We have something here that's going to draw people in. You can't get any better than Van Gogh."

    Museum officials did not reveal many details about the new paintings before Sunday. They included the names of four of the artists in invitations but only said the fifth artist would rival Monet and Renoir. That curiosity spurred about 80 people to RSVP for the fundraising event, and drove most discussions as attendees waited for the black cloths covering the five works to be removed.

    The suspense grew as the other four works were revealed. Frederic Edwin Church's "Autumn." Thomas Moran's "Near Southampton." Winslow Homer's "Winding Line." John Singer Sargent's "Landscape with Trees, near Calcot on River Thames."

    Kierlin and Burrichter bought the four paintings in November, adding to their personal collection of about 340 works, in addition to about 120 the couple has donated to the museum.

    Each unveiling Sunday prompted "ooh's" and applause.


  • Sinking of the Union steamship Maple Leaf

    By Dan Scanlan - Jacksonville

    The 146th anniversary of the sinking of the Union steamship Maple Leaf by a Confederate mine off Mandarin Point will be commemorated at a 10 a.m. Saturday event at the Museum of Science and History, 1025 Museum Circle in Jacksonville.

    Keith Holland, lead excavator of the Maple Leaf wreck in the early 1990s, will discuss the April 1, 1864 disaster that claimed the lives of two crew members and sent the belonging of hundreds of Union soldiers to the bottom.

    Modeler Dennis Cannady, who created a scale Maple Leaf model on display in the museum’s Currents of Time exhibit, will discuss the model-making process. At 11:30 a.m., historical performer Shorty Robbins portrays a Maple leaf survivor.

    There will be Confederate cannon demonstrations, Civil War re-enactors; displays from the Florida Public Archaeology Network and the Mandarin Museum and Historical Society and two three-dimensional holograms of artifacts recovered from the wreck, created by Englewood High School students.

  • Treasure of the Arabia

    From the Fence Post

    It is nothing short of incredible, the power of mud to preserve. In 1856 the Arabia steamed away from St. Louis bound for ports along the Missouri River where the 200 tons of cargo she carried would be distributed for use in frontier communities.

    On Sept. 6, 1856, the Kansas City Enterprise reported, “The steamer Arabia bound for Council Bluffs struck a snag about a mile below Parkville and sunk to the boiler deck — Boat and cargo a total loss.”

    The sinking occurred the previous day.

    The muddy waters of the Missouri had obscured the snag that bored into the hull of the Arabia, causing the vessel to quickly flood and sink.

    Although the crew and passengers — around 130 people in all — survived, the boat laden with merchandise quickly floundered and submerged.

    There may have been minimal recovery of goods, but the vast majority of the cargo soon lay in the mud bottom of the Missouri.

    The constant wash of water and mud completely covered the Arabia. Over the decades, the river shifted and moved, changing course as all active waterways tend to do.

    Treasure hunters began searching for the Arabia. They looked where the river now flows, to the north, to the south, eventually to the west.

    And in a farmer's field a half-mile from the present river's edge, in 1988, they found the Arabia, lying buried in mud and soil 45 feet below the surface. The discovery was not just an affirmation of where the steamboat lay, but became an intense archaeological and historical investigation.

    The discovery of the Arabia came at the hands of five men: Jerry Mackey, Bob Hawley and his sons, Dave and Greg, and David Luttrell.

    Their wives were not too interested in their quest for treasure ... at least not until they pulled the first outstanding piece of china from the hulk.

    As the treasure hunters recovered the first plunder from the black, muddy soil they were astounded.

    Fine English china had survived the snag and although mud-crusted was perfectly preserved. Beautiful pitchers and patters, cups, plates, saucers, bowls and more were lifted into the daylight for the first time in 132 years.

  • Controversial Southampton Sea City Museum

    From Culture24

    The futuristic maritime museum at the centre of divisive plans to sell off artwork by Southampton City Council has been given £4.6 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

    Southampton Sea City Museum, a £15 million archaeological and naval showcase designed for a new Cultural Quarter in the city in 2012, will use a converted Grade II-listed magistrates' court to house permanent galleries on immigration and the 549 local voyagers who died when the Titanic sank in 1912.

    It drew derision in September 2009 when the Council earmarked two works from Southampton City Art Gallery's revered municipal collection for disposal in a bid to raise up to £4 million towards the development.

    Critics, campaigners and a Museums Association warning that the move could have breached its Code of Ethics forced planners to backtrack, but they remain under pressure to raise cash in matchfunding for the HLF award.

    Speaking at the time, Council Leader Alec Samuels warned outraged residents that the authority could not afford the Museum without selling Alfred J Munning's After the Race and Auguste Rodin’s Eve.

    "If we don't sell some paintings, we don't get a heritage centre,” he said.

    "The Heritage Lottery Fund has offered £5 million, £5 million can be raised from business and sponsors, and the remaining £5 million falls to the City Council, which has no money for such a project.

    “These decisions have not been taken lightly. The iconic Heritage Museum will bring many more people to the Cultural Quarter and the old and new art galleries.”

    The Museum is the first beneficiary of an explosion in Lottery ticket sales which has allowed the Fund to announce a £25 million annual budget increase for heritage projects across the country, rising to £205 million from April.

    The ravages of the recession appear to have left most people hoping for a pay-out from Lady Luck, and the official statistics are expected to show record flutter figures when they are published in May.

  • Pirate soul museum to move

    By Cammy Clark - Miami Herald

    Argh ! Key West will lose its pirate museum in August when Pat Croce takes his original Jolly Roger flag, Captain Kidd journal and other historic booty and heads for St. Augustine.

    Five years ago eclectic entrepreneur Pat Croce dressed as a swashbuckler and wielded a sword to slash the ribbon for the opening of his $10 million museum, Pirate Soul.

    He thought Key West, with its long-standing affection for rogues of the sea, would be the perfect home for his original Jolly Roger flag, Thomas Tew treasure chest and 500 other pirate artifacts collected over more than two decades.

    But while most of Croce's other ventures have turned to gold -- a sports medicine empire, presidency of the NBA's 76ers, motivational speaker -- the museum hasn't captured the wallets of large numbers of tourists. So in July, he's packing up Blackbeard's severed head and the rest of his blackguard booty and heading north to another city with a pirate past: St. Augustine.

    "Pirates sacked St. Augustine, and burned it to the ground," said Croce, who has pirate-themed tattoos all over his body."The museum should have more relevance there."

    In January, Croce bought a building across the street from a 17th century Spanish fort in St. Augustine and began demolition. The nation's oldest city has been attacked twice by pirates: in 1586, by Sir Francis Drake, and in 1668, by privateer Robert Searles, according to archeologist Dana Ste. Claire, department director of the city's heritage tours and historic preservation.

  • Treasures from Capt. Kidd

    By Cathy Kightlinger - Indy Star

    Visitors today at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis got their first glimpse of one of three "treasures" after a large crate was opened, unveiling remnants from Captain Kidd's 17th-century ship.

    The ship's cannon and other artifacts will be on display during "Treasures of the Earth," a collaborative exhibition between the museum and National Geographic. It will open in 2011 at the museum.

    In December 2007, an underwater archaeology team from Indiana University -- led by Charles Beeker, IU's director for Underwater Science, announced the discovery of remnants from Captain Kidd's ship, which was made 70 feet off the coast of Catalina Island in the Dominican Republic. The cannon has been submerged underwater at IU, where it will remain until it moves to the museum.

    "I could have it squirreled away at my laboratory at IU," Beeker said about the cannon. "But by bringing it to the Children's Museum, we're going to have a very broad audience of people that can come see this."

    The cannon will be submerged in a tank of water inside the exhibit, allowing visitors to watch the process used to slowly clean encrusted materials off of it, said Jennifer Pace Robinson, vice president of experience development and family learning at the museum.

    "We really want families to come in and feel the thrill of discovery, but (also) that they are part of the archaeological process," said Pace Robinson, who is in the Dominican Republic this week getting ideas on how to replicate excavation activities for the exhibit, and learning how to care for the cannon.

    "Kids will have some of the excitement of being at a pirate shipwreck site, and we'll be able to replicate that in the exhibit for people who aren't able to come down to the Dominican Republic and see it first hand," Pace Robinson said.


  • Decoding an ancient computer

    Ancient computer !

    By M Dee Dubroff - Amog

    The mysterious mechanism was discovered in 1900 in the wreck of a Roman vessel off the Greek island of Antikythera.

    The ship held other treasures that were taken over by the Greek government, but one of the items retrieved by the divers was an odd-looking corroded lump of some kind.

    When the lump fell apart some time later, a damaged machine of unknown purpose was revealed. It bore large gears, small cogs and a few words engraved in Greek.

    At first it was believed to be some kind of astronomical time-keeping device. One researcher in particular, Derek J. de Solla Price, established initial tooth counts and believed that the device followed what is known as the Metonic cycle, which in the ancient world was used to predict eclipses.

    The full function of this odd device remained a mystery until recently. Advances in photography and x-rays have revealed the true complexity of this astonishing creation that, anachronistically speaking, is akin to finding the remnants of a supersonic jet plane in the ruins of ancient Egypt.

    Photography unlocked many of the mysteries of this device by exposing its surfaces to varying lighting patterns, which in turn created different levels of contrast. Researchers were then able to read more of the inscribed text than was previously possible.

    Details of the interactions of the gears were quite complex and clearly revealed through the marvels of x-ray imaging and the creation of 3-D computer models of the mechanism.

    The Greek National Archaeological Museum also found some boxes filled with 82 mechanism fragments.


  • Mary Rose goes on display at Crufts

    Sea dog from the Mary Rose

    By Beth Hale - Mail Online

    She may have been a mongrel, but in the finest tradition of seafaring, this old sea dog went down with her ship. And there she stayed, on the seabed - for the next four and half centuries.

    The unfortunate hound was on board Henry VIII's flagship Mary Rose when the ill-fated warship sank to the bottom of the Solent on July 19, 1545.

    The dog, now preserved as an almost complete canine skeleton, acquired the nickname Hatch after divers discovered her remains near the sliding hatch door of the Mary Rose’s carpenter’s cabin.

    Experts believe the hound, estimated to have been between 18 months and two years old, earned her keep as the ship's ratter – superstitious Tudor seafarers did not have cats on board ship as they were thought to bring bad luck.

    And she was probably very good at her job – only the partial remains of rats’ skeletons have been found on board the Mary Rose.

    By contrast Hatch's skeleton is remarkable for how well it has been preserved, it is 99 per cent complete with a just a few teeth and a few paw bones missing.

    After 34 years at sea and three wars, the Mary Rose had been regarded by many as invincible.

    Then, as she defended England from a French invasion force, she sank taking with her 500 men and a treasure trove of Tudor history with her to the seafloor.

    So complete was the Mary Rose's demise that even the rats didn't even the chance to leave the sinking ship, as experts discovered when they brought the vessel and her contents (rodent skeletons included) back to the surface.

    But the rats on board ship didn't stand much of a chance back in the 16th century, not with Hatch on board.


  • Our treasure ship

    HMS Trincomalee

    By Paul Delplanque - Gazette Live

    She is a treasure on our doorstep and one of which we should be justly proud.

    Today HMS Trincomalee is the centrepiece of the Historic Quay at Hartlepool but her journey there has without doubt been an eventful one.

    She caught fire three times, she very nearly sank at her moorings and then after all the hard work to complete her, she was snubbed by historical ship experts in London for not being British enough !

    HMS Trincomalee is the oldest British warship afloat, Nelson's flagship HMS Victory is 52 years older but that grand old ship is in dry dock in Portsmouth.

    The oldest commissioned warship afloat is the USS Constitution, but that veteran of the war of 1812 is only 20 years older than HMS Trincomalee. So its clear that HMS Trincomalee is something special, so how come she ended up here in our area ? Remember When decided to take a look at what went on.

    The news that the ship would be coming to Hartlepool was first announced in the Evening Gazette in April 1987. The reason given was due to the fantastic work that had been achieved in Hartlepool with HMS Warrior the Victorian battleship, which was just completing its restoration at the time.

    A highly skilled local team had been working on HMS Warrior and the same team was to be retained for work on the new project.

    More to read...

  • Ceramics that tell the Malaysian story

    Malaysia museum

    By Yip Yoke Teng - The Star Online

    Ceramics, whether prehistoric or modern-day, tell a lot about an ethnic group as the items are widely used in daily life for various purposes.

    To highlight the significance of ceramics, the National Museum has grouped the most precious artefacts from its ceramic collection together in the Malaysia Ceramics Exhibition, which runs until March 28.

    “The 171 artefacts have been hand-picked from our own collection as they best reflect the diversity of our multiracial society. We hope the exhibition can give visitors a better understanding and in-depth knowledge of the subject,” Department of Museums Malaysia director-general Datuk Ibrahim Ismail said told reporters on Saturday.

    “It is one of our country’s cultural legacies that we ought to uphold and share information on,” he added.

    The artefacts are categorised into six groups — Prehistoric Ceramics, Enduring Reminders, Malay Ceramics, Tranquillity of the Soul, Chinese Ceramics, Symbol and Legacy, Indian Ceramics, Devotion and Worship, Sabah and Sarawak Ceramics, Magic and Spirituality, and Shipwreck Ceramics: Treasures from the Seabed.


  • Titanic artefacts surface in Melbourne exhibition

    By Simon Plant - Herald Sun

    Buried treasure recovered from the wreck of the world's most famous ship has surfaced at Melbourne Museum. 

    But a bronze cherub ripped from the Titanic almost a century ago is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition, opening soon in the museum's Touring Hall, will present 280 authentic objects - from perfume vials and a pocket watch to chamber pots and coins - and recreate sections of the ship's opulent interior, including the Grand Staircase.

    "This is biggest and best exhibition I've ever seen in my life,'' said promoter Michael Gudinski.

    "When you see what's been discovered underneath the water so long after the event, its just gripping.''

    Gudinski's Frontier Events, a division of Frontier Touring, is presenting Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition with Museum Victoria and the support of Victorian Major Events.

    And like last years' A Day in Pompeii, museum chief Dr J Patrick Greene expects the show to give visitors a fascinating, intimate and often poignant glimpse into another era.


  • New sculptures added to Cancun's underwater museum


    From News

    The Cancun and Isla Mujeres Underwater Art Museum is a step closer to becoming the world's largest underwater museum by adding three new sculptures. 

    The sculptures - Dream Collector, Man on Fire and The Gardener of Hope – were carefully submerged to a variety of different depths throughout the national park.

    Created by British/Guyanese artist Jason de Caires Taylor, the sculptures were placed near natural reefs and marine life in order to create an artificial habitat.


  • Wreck finds are flown in

    From The Star

    Robin Hood Airport has handled its most historic cargo, which has lain at the bottom of the sea for two centuries.

    Rare artefacts from a British sailing ship that was wrecked and sunk in the Baltic in the early 19th century have been brought to the surface and are now on their way to a maritime exhibition in Whitby, from where they originally started out.

    The items of sailors' clothing were flown to Doncaster Sheffield Airport by Wizz Air from Poland, where they have been kept since they were recovered in 1995 by an archaeology unit at Gdansk maritime museum.

    The rare hat, stockings, shoes and mittens from the wreck of the Whitby ship The General Carleton had been remarkably well preserved in the cold mud of the Baltic.

    The articles have been loaned from the Polish museum because of their historic links to the region and will be on view for the first time in the UK as part of the Northward Ho ! exhibition at the Captain Cook Museum in Whitby, which opens on Monday.

    Jodi Stow, marketing and communications manager at Robin Hood Airport, said: "We welcome a variety of flights with specialist cargo to and from the airport but this delivery was by far the oldest we've ever had.

    "We hope all the historians and nautical followers in the region will enjoy seeing such precious artefacts."


  • Maritime museum rolls out campaign to triple membership


    By Jonathan Mattise - TCPalm

    The Maritime & Boating Museum at Indian RiverSide Park is kicking off a word-of-mouth campaign aimed to triple membership in less than two months, all in hopes of eventually expanding its facilities at the park.

    Museum board members and volunteers are focusing on hitting 1,000 members by mid-April through several grassroots initiatives.

    The museum, currently with about 240 members, dropped its membership prices to $15 for a single person, $20 for a couple and $35 for a family until April 15.

    By that time, board members hope to add about 750 members through a Pay-It-Forward member referral challenge, membership parties, and by bringing along potential members to the museum and its special events.

    “The museum needs to increase its volume, its quantity of members, its base of support, so that when we go to larger donors we can show that we have an extended group of people who have invested in our museum,” said Museum Executive Director Sheila Stewart-Leach.

    Board members and volunteers at the museum currently in the Frances Langford Pavilion’s first floor hope the initiative will pave the way for plans to construct its own facilities at Indian RiverSide.

    Adding the proposed three buildings at the north end of the park including space for exhibits, boat restoration, wooden boat galleries and a 180-seat auditorium would probably cost about $15 million, said Doug Smith, Martin County commissioner and museum board president.

    “I’m really excited. I can see the museum in my head, in terms of what it’s going to look like,” Smith said. “How those pieces all fit together I can see the exhibits, the displays.

    It gives us the chance to tie this marvelous piece of our cultural history with our local history.”


  • Precious peacock: Heritage listing for $4m maritime showpiece


    By Peter Collins - The Standard

    It's sailed half-way around the world, survived a shipwreck 130 years ago and is valued at more than $4 million. Now the Loch Ard peacock has finally been included in Victoria's heritage register.

    The life-size Minton porcelain artwork statue, which is the centrepiece of Warrnambool's Flagstaff Hill maritime history display, is insured for $4 million and kept in a padded glass case with electronic security.

    Heritage Council of Victoria chairman Daryl Jackson described the peacock as a "very significant" object for Victoria.

    "It is associated with a number of important events in the history of Victoria: the Loch Ard shipwreck, the exhibition of 1880-81 and the opening of the Royal Exhibition Building," he said.

    The statue was shipped to Australia in the Loch Ard from England in 1878, destined for the official opening of the Melbourne exhibition building. But it only made it as far as the rugged coastline near Port Campbell when the ship was wrecked in one of Australia's worst maritime tragedies.

    It sank in just 15 minutes with the loss of 52 lives.

    Two days later a wooden packing crate containing the peacock was washed onto the beach at what is known as Loch Ard Gorge. It was found by local resident James Miller and remained in his family until 1943.

    It came to Flagstaff Hill in 1975 after a local committee, the city council and Fletcher Jones organisation chipped in about $4500 to buy it through a Melbourne auction house.

    The precious statue made the trip to Warrnambool in the back seat of a car.

    Yesterday's heritage listing announcement was the culmination of months of work by retired teacher Ron Sproston a Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village volunteer who compiled an extensive document for Heritage Victoria on the peacock's history and significance.


  • Salton Sea museum readies for opening

    By Denise Goolsby - MyDesert

    The Salton Sea History Museum at the historic North Shore Beach & Yacht Club has launched a Web site, in anticipation of the museum's grand opening scheduled for early April.

    Jennie Kelly, director of the museum and the East Valley Historical Society, is on the lookout for photos, memorabilia and old newspapers from the area — including the Salton Seafarer, North Shore News, Desert Barnacle — as well as other general history items about east valley historical sites including Desert Beach/Eilers Date Palm Beach, Thermal, Mecca, Oasis and Valerie.

    The facility, a 50-year-old Albert Frey-designed building, considered an architectural treasure, is wrapping up a $3.5 million renovation.

    When it reopens, it will include a community center, museum and visitors center.

    Renovations began in September with a groundbreaking ceremony dedicated to former Riverside County Supervisor Roy Wilson, who died in August.


  • Mary Rose crew man's recreated face

    From BBC News

    The reconstructed face of a crew member from the Mary Rose is going on display at the ship's museum in Portsmouth.

    The face of the man, thought to have been of a rank known as Bosun, was created by forensic artists from a skull recovered from the wreck. It was given to the Mary Rose Trust to be displayed along with other objects found on board the fated warship. 

    The Mary Rose sank on 19 July 1545 with the loss of more than 400 lives, after 34 years of service.

    Only a handful of the crew and soldiers survived and Henry VIII was reported to have heard the screams of the drowning men as he helplessly stood and watched from Southsea Castle.

    Archaeologists believe the man was a Bosun because he was found with the emblem of this comparatively senior status, a Bosun's call - a whistle. There are many theories about why the ship sank, but evidence from the wreck itself suggests the ship put about with its gunports open, was hit by a squall and went down. 

    Ensuring that the gunports were closed would have been the Bosun's job, which has led researchers to suggest that this man was "at least partly responsible for the disaster".

    The Mary Rose settled deep into the silty bed of the Solent, which preserved the many thousands of unique artefacts in excellent condition. The wreck was discovered in the 1960s and in 1982 it was raised to the surface to be restored in dry dock in Portsmouth. 

    John Lippiett, chief executive of the trust, said: "It is great to have the opportunity to see what the Bosun looked like after all these years and to welcome his arrival in our museum."

    A new £35m museum building to house the wrecked ship is currently being built and is due to be complete in 2012.

  • CSS Alabama cannon makes Mobile its home

    CSS Alabama

    By Fox 10TV

    One of the guns of the confederate raider, CSS Alabama has returned to the home of its captain, Admiral Raphael Semmes. The CSS Alabama sank in about 200 feet of water off Cherbourg, France, after an engagement with the Union's USS Kearsage on June 11, 1864.

    The recovered artifacts, many of them already on display at The Museum of Mobile, provide information about the CSS Alabama’s construction, her technologies, armaments and the lives of those who served on her.

    Through archaeological projects such as the CSS Alabama excavation we share the story of our past.

    “The City of Mobile carpenters are constructing a cannon carriage for its eventual display in the Museum of Mobile. The exhibit will open once the gallery renovation is complete.

    Summer is the projected opening date,” said Jacob Laurence, curator of exhibits. “You never know what may happen with a gun that size if you are not careful and plan accordingly.”

    The cannon will be a welcome addition to those items the Museum of Mobile already has on loan from the US Navy. It will become the centerpiece in the 700 square foot exhibit funded by the Mobile Museum Board. The gun is one of eight guns that were originally on the deck of the CSS Alabama.

    Six were 32-pounder cannon, which means they shot a 32-pound round cannon ball and were stationed at the edges of the deck facing starboard or port.

    The other two were larger pivot guns that were located in the middle of the deck and fired conical shot by contrast to the gun the Museum will display. The gun is black in color, approximately 10 feet long, and weighs 5000 pounds (2 1/2 tons).

    The cannon is one of only three recovered of the original six of that size.

    One is at the Navy Yard in Washington, the other in Charleston, SC.

    This cannon will be on a long-term loan from the US Navy Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington D.C.


  • Maritime museum approved

    By Brittany Carr - The Voyager

    After much debate, the Pensacola City Council approved the University of West Florida plan for the Admiral John H. Fetterman State of Florida Maritime Museum and Research Center during a special meeting on Feb. 2.

    The meeting was called after the Community Maritime Park Associates approved the plan on Jan. 22. The University needed a decision before Feb. 8, which was the deadline for the federal New Market Tax Credits that are crucial for funding the museum.

    As it stands now, the university has received $4.5 million in private donations toward the construction of the museum. UWF President Judy Bense said she hopes enough tax credits are purchased that the museum can receive $13.4 million.

    Bense said no University funds would be used for the construction of the museum.

    “It will be all new money, or we’re not going to build it,” she said.

    After the construction is completed, there will be recurring yearly costs of $5.4 million for programs, faculty, staff and operations of the museum and the research facilities. The University has not come forward with a plan to meet these costs.

    Elizabeth Benchley, director of the Archaeology Institute, said that she was pleased to see positive support for the museum, but that she understood the people who questioned the lack of funding.

    “I agree with the people who express reservations, because it’s kind of risky moving ahead without all the funding in place,” Benchley said. “But if we wait for everything to be just right, we would be 20 years down the line.”

    Bense said moving ahead with the museum is a calculated risk that is necessary to “provide the students and faculty with opportunities they would have never had a chance at.”

    “This is a lesson to students in how to move a university forward and how to take advantage of an opportunity without having absolutely everything you need,” Bense said.

    The $20 million museum is expected to be 42,000 square feet, with the ability expand it up to 62,000 square feet. On the outside, it will be designed to look like a ship at the wharf.

  • Exhibit hails maritime heritage at Mokupapapa Discovery Center

    By Karin Stanton - Hawaii 24/7

    A new NOAA exhibit commemorating the rich maritime heritage of Papahanaumokukuakea Marine National Monument opened Friday at Mokupapapa Discovery Center in Hilo.

    “Lost on a Reef” focuses on shipwreck sites discovered over the last the decade that represent 200 years of maritime history in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

    It also highlights the work conducted by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries maritime archaeologists to interpret and protect these sites.

    “The exhibit will give visitors an opportunity to experience these fascinating maritime heritage sites and their stories up close and in a more personal way,” said Kelly Gleason, Monument maritime archaeologist, NOAA Maritime Heritage Program.

    “Interpretation of these shipwreck sites helps us understand the importance of remaining connected to this place, and why it is vital to protect Papahanaumokuakea’s natural and cultural resources for years to come.”


  • Historic "Ship of Gold" Returns to Long Beach Expo

    Central America's gold

    By Expos Unlimited - Collectors Universe

    A decade after its first appearance, the precedent-setting "Ship of Gold" display showcasing California Gold Rush-era sunken treasure recovered from the 1857 shipwreck of the SS Central America again will dock in Long Beach, California.

    "The ‘Ship of Gold’ exhibit is coming out of dry dock and returning to its first port of call, the Long Beach Expo," said Ronald J. Gillio, Expo General Chairman.

    "The eye-opening display on the convention center floor is housed in a specially-constructed 40-foot long representation of the famous ship’s hull. This will be the first public appearance of the ‘Ship of Gold’ exhibit anywhere in the country in six years."

    More to read...

  • "Titanic" addition: Exhibit's new panels depict Kentuckians

    By Diane Heilenman - Courier Journal

    Panels added to the “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition,” which will be on view through Feb. 15 at the Louisville Science Center, bring to the surface a new back story: that of three Kentuckians who made that fateful voyage in mid-April 1912.

    There was Charles Hallace Romaine, a banker and/or confidence man and gambler raised in Georgetown, Ky., and Anderson, Ind., who was working for a trust company in London at the time he sailed. Romaine survived the sinking of the ship.

    There was the inventive Louisville ophthalmologist, Dr. Ernest Moraweck, whose sideline was operating a rest home for wealthy older women at his farm in Brandenburg, Ky. He died at sea.

    And, there was a former Courier-Journal reporter-turned-presidential military aide, Maj. Archibald Butt. He, too, died at sea.

    Maj. Butt's first job after graduation in 1888 from the University of the South, where he founded the school newspaper, was as a reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal, recruited by its founder, Henry Watterson.

    Butt wrote for the Courier-Journal for three years before moving on to Washington, D.C., and reporting for The Atlanta Constitution and the Nashville Banner. He served as the military aide to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.


  • Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum survives tough times

    By Sarah Rohrs - Vallejo Times-Herald

    Determined to preserve a corner of historic downtown Vallejo and its rich maritime history, community leaders came together 35 years ago to save the old City Hall from demolition.

    In the process, they launched plans for a museum to preserve the city's rich maritime history and storied past.

    The Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum's doors at 734 Marin St. remain open, surviving the city's financial troubles and lingering recession.

    As the museum wraps up its milestone anniversary, an annual fund raising campaign is in full swing.

    The campaign helps offset the effects of funding cuts that have reduced the museum's hours and staffing, and helps pay utility bills the city previously covered, museum Director Jim Kern said.

    As for the potential of closing, "We are not going to let that happen," Kern said. "For 35 years, too many people have put too much work into this to let it go to waste. We're going to stay open."

    Operating since July 7, 1979, the museum's origins can be traced to the early 1960s and 1970s when Vallejo's downtown and waterfront were in the midst of a massive urban renewal project that led to the razing of numerous historic buildings.

    The former 1927 City Hall was in danger of being torn down and turned into a parking lot, Kern said. Through the urban renewal project, a new City Hall was built on Santa Clara Street.


  • First look inside England's new Titanic museum

    By Peter Law - The Daily Echo

    The final plans for Southampton's £15m Sea City Museum can today be exclusively unveiled. The museum, which will reshape the city's Civic Centre forever, is expected to attract 150,000 visitors a year.

    The Daily Echo can reveal a dramatic cruise-liner inspired extension which will be the largest museum display area in Hampshire.

    Known as "The Pavilion", Southampton City Council hopes it will bring international blockbuster exhibitions to the city for the first time.

    The old magistrates' courts will be transformed into two permanent exhibitions, titled "Southampton's Titanic Story" and "Gateway to the World".

    Southampton's Titanic story will be told through the eyes of the crew and community to which they belonged.

    "We have taken time to research other commemorative displays and museums to understand how we could take a tragic subject matter and make it engaging, informative and respectful," Caroline Keppel-Palmer, from museum designers Urban Salon, said.

    "Our focus is to focus on the human stories surrounding the disaster, rather than the event itself and we also focus on Southampton in 1912 and life in the merchant navy at the turn of the century."

    More to read...

  • Scouring the depths of history

    Philadelphia II

    From the Sydney Morning Herald

    Susan Gough Henly peers into vessels submerged beneath North America's most historic body of water.

    Standing on the deck of Philadelphia II, a replica of one of Benedict Arnold's 1776 gunboats, I listen to Eric, a guide fitted out in period costume. He is describing what it might have been like living and fighting alongside dozens of citizen soldiers aboard this 16-metre square-rig ship.

    "Just up the lake, the British were building war boats at the rate of knots," Eric says. "It was too dangerous to stay on land because of unfriendly Native American tribes.

    "So you can imagine what the conditions must have been like with 44 men in this space for weeks at a time."



  • Fla. treasure museum preserves pieces of sunken history

    Bill Moore - Mel Fisher's museum

    By Jeff Meesey - Florida Today

    Bill Moore's hammer chips away at the rusty, seashell-encrusted coating of an unidentified pipe-shaped object.

    The object could be a valuable artifact from a long-sunken Spanish treasure ship. Or it could be worthless plumbing from a modern-day salvage vessel.

    "At this particular point, we really don't know what it is," says Moore, director of operations at Mel Fisher's Treasures museum in Sebastian, Fla.

    As Moore removes the shells and other encrustations, he is careful to preserve what is left of the fragile object.

    After 20 minutes of cautious hammer work, Moore's practiced eye recognizes an iron pin that was part of an old ship, probably one from a Spanish fleet that sunk off the coast of Florida during a hurricane in 1715.

    Treasure from the sunken fleet doesn't always come in the form of gold and silver, he says.

    Sometimes, discoveries include pieces of old ships, as well as weapons such as cannons and guns, made up of metals and wood.


  • Diving into history


    By Lishan Chang - Taiwan Today

    Readers might be surprised to learn that Taiwan has underwater archaeological treasures to rival the remains of the “Titanic,” wrecks of Spanish treasure galleons in the Caribbean and even the lost city of Atlantis, said by Plato to have sunk into the ocean “in a single day and night of misfortune.” 

    The place to go to find out about these treasures is “Diving into History,” the island’s first-ever underwater archaeology exhibition, put together by the Executive Yuan’s Council for Cultural Affairs, now at Bali Township’s Shihsanhang Museum of Archaeology in Taipei County until Dec. 13.

    As defined by the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, underwater archaeology studies sites, artifacts and human remains which have been submerged in the ocean, lakes or rivers for at least 100 years.

    UNESCO regards “archaeological sites located under water as important sources of historic information” because these locations, “due to the lack of oxygen, contain material that is lost on comparable sites on dry land.”

    More to read...

  • Absecon Lighthouse in A.C. unveils new collection of Titanic memorabilia

    By Steven V. Cronin - Press of Atlantic City

    The Absecon Lighthouse was constructed to prevent shipwrecks. But stop by the lighthouse Thursday evening and the focus will be on what is probably the most famous shipwreck ever.

    Thursday is when the lighthouse operators unveil their newly acquired memorabilia and exhibit material related to the sinking of the ocean liner Titanic.

    The exhibit includes small pieces of debris from the ship, which sank on April 15, 1912, after striking an iceberg. It also includes movie props, newspapers and books detailing the sinking and several panels telling the story of the ocean liner, its passengers and the disaster.

    The collection, valued at more than $150,000, was originally assembled in the late 1990s and intended to be part of a traveling commercial show about the shipwreck. But those plans fell through and the collection's owners - Donna Andersen, of Atlantic City, and John Glassey, of West Atlantic City, approached the lighthouse about donating the items.

  • Underwater archaeology exhibition opens at Shihsanhang museum

    From Taiwan News

    An exhibition that promises to offer a fascinating insight into the world of underwater archaeology and the history of ancient maritime links between Taiwan and China is being held at the Shihsanhang Museum of Archaeology in Bali, Taipei County until Dec. 13.

    Under the theme Diving into History, the exhibition is composed of six divisions that feature a wide range of biological fossils from the Taiwan Strait that date back 40,000 years, an array of underwater cultural and historic assets, and a virtual underwater archaeological site, according to Lee Li-fang, a Council for Cultural Affairs (CCA) official who is one of the organizers of the exhibition.

    Other highlights include 20 artifacts retrieved from a sunken Chinese Qianlong period (1736-1796) vessel that was named General No.

    1 after Penghu's General Islet where it was discovered by fishermen in 1994, Lee said.

    According to unofficial statistics based on sunken ship records, there are an estimated 500 sunken vessels in the Taiwan Strait, said Ho Chuan-kun, director of the Department of Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung City, who is another exhibition organizer.


  • In-depth exploration of Titanic at next historical society talk

    By Jackie Hanusey - Shore News Today

    Tom Maddox of Estell Manor, the owner of East Coast Diving in Northfield, will share his experience of being one of the last divers to see the Titanic during a Greate Egg Harbour Historical Society presentation 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22 at the Egg Harbor Township Community Center.

    In was in 2005 that Maddox went with a crew filming the special “Titanic's Final Moments: Missing Pieces” for The History Channel.

    The opportunity of a lifetime to see the legendary shipwreck on the bottom of the ocean came by way of a diving student from 20 years ago, David Concannon, who went on to become a lawyer for James Cameron, producer and director for the film “Titanic.”

    Fewer than 120 people have seen Titanic since it was found in 1985 about 2½ miles down on the Atlantic Ocean floor.

    “It’s kind of like outer space,” he said. ‘Very few people can say they have gone there.” After they arrived on the wreck site, it took some time to get to their ultimate destination.

    It takes 2½ hours to descend to the bottom where they can explore for seven hours before another two-hour journey back to the surface. Only three submersibles can stand the pressure at the depths of Titanic, and its close quarters. “Three people are in a 6-foot sphere for over 12 hours,” Maddox said about the experience.

    He said a lot goes through your mind on such a trip.  “You think about how you pass the point of no return,” he said, noting that after a certain point if one thing goes wrong with the sub, you would be crushed to death in moments.

    There are also emotions one feels. “Even on the ship over top of her, there is also an eerie feeling that some type of hell happened there one night,” he said. “You can feel the screams and the panic.”

    Maddox’s role during the expedition was to videotape the bow of the ship. “When you are down there you see first hand life jackets, ones that people either didn’t get on or someone was in it,” he said.

    You also see the divides of the various classes still down there in the ruins. “The biggest remainders in the debris field are toilets, cups and saucers,” he said, noting that porcelain does not wither away in the water. 

    You also see the remainders of third class, as he saw chamber pots or bedpans, which passengers would have used on the bottom of the ocean.

    While a man in scuba gear can only safely dive about 130 feet, Maddox said he still felt the urge to “crawl out the window” at times, wishing he could touch and feel what was going on outside. Beyond knowing the ship was the reason for going to sea, Titanic’s influences are everywhere when on the expedition, right down to the emergency drill you have to do first.


  • The Mary Rose's artefacts give us a unique insight into Tudor life

    Mary Rose

    By Dr Eric Kentley - Times Online

    Launched as the flagship of a young and ambitious king, the Mary Rose was not only a reflection of Henry VIII’s ambitions, she was also a new breed of warship.

    She was one of England’s first ships to be built with gunports: part of the first generation of broadside-firing warships that heralded the beginnings of a 300-year period of warship design.

    But the Mary Rose is important not only to maritime historians. It is also what she took with her to the bottom of the Solent in 1545 that gives her a special significance.

    These were the possessions and tools of 500 men from all levels of society. The 19,000 artefacts that have been recovered range from gunners’ linstocks to gambling dice, from a bosun’s call to a rosary.

    There is no comparable collection of Tudor artifacts anywhere: no other archaeological site has given us so many insights into Tudor life.

    No other shipwreck, no other structure and no other collection gives such a clear window into the 16th century. It is no exaggeration to describe the Mary Rose as England’s Pompeii. 

    Her loss at a precise moment gives us a chronological reference point for all the artefacts that went down with her. This is almost unique for a museum collection.

    Specialists from many fields consistently remark how the Mary Rose artifacts they have studied represent the earliest known examples of their type or provide unique information for the study of human society.

  • New Cape library features exhibit on shipwrecks

    By Rob Spahr - Press of Atlantic City

    Less than a mile east of the Schiavo Library in Strathmere, the wreckage of the General Slocum - which was involved in one of the most notorious maritime disasters in U.S. history - lies beneath the sea.

    Several miles northwest of that shipwreck, the remains of the Sindia sit under the sand of Ocean City's 17th Street beach.

    They are only two of the thousands of known shipwrecks off the coast of New Jersey, which has the highest number of shipwrecks per square mile in the nation, but they are undeniably two of the most famous.

    The newly opened Schiavo Library, a privately funded library at Putnam and Commonwealth avenues in memory of the late Dr. Rita C. Schiavo, unveiled a small exhibit of these shipwrecks Saturday night that is expected to be on display for most of the winter.

    "Strathmere is a community whose people do a lot of boating, sport fishing, surfing and scuba diving.

    They are water-type people," said Marion Ingram, a volunteer at the library.

    "And since one of our main goals here is to promote New Jersey history, an exhibit of shipwrecks seemed fitting. Especially considering one of them is right off the coast from us."

  • Goryeo shipwreck's celadon on display

    By Chung Ah-young - The Korea Times

    In May 2007, a fisherman caught a bay octopus tightly grabbing a celadon dish in his fish trap. The discovery near Taean's Daeseom Island in South Chungcheong Province led to a historic excavation of valuable underwater heritage carried out by the National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage in 2007 and 2008.

    The excavation uncovered a cargo boat carrying several thousand celadon articles, wooden tags inscribed with information about the articles, general goods used by the seamen, and a skeleton of a Goryeo man who was trapped under his cargo during the wreck. The items had been submerged for about 900 years.

    The institute, along with the Administration of Gangjin County, is holding a special exhibition titled "Goryeo Celadon Shipwreck" at the National Palace Museum of Korea in Gyeonggbok Palace, Seoul.

    The exhibition is part of the institute's efforts to seek restoration of the sea routes used by Goryeo cargo boats carrying celadon works.

    A total of 740 pieces of the relics found are on display, including other ceramics found in Gangjin, South Jeolla Province.



  • Titanic TRIVIA

    Titanic survivors

    By Bill Ward - Star

    A new exhibit at the Science Museum is the latest indication that interest in the Titanic is unsinkable.

    Perhaps nothing exemplifies the power of Hollywood more than this country's continuing fascination with the Titanic. Thanks to James Cameron, Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, no other catastrophe in history has such an avid following.

    The latest indication: This weekend, the Science Museum of Minnesota brings us "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition," the second major Titanic showcase in a decade in St. Paul.

    For many, it seems, there's no such thing as being "Titantic-ed out." So with the help of Laurie Coulter and Hugh Brewster's book "882 1/2 Amazing Answers to Your Questions About the Titanic" (named for the ship's length) and the Science Museum, we tried to unearth some facts that even the most ardent students of the shipwreck saga might not know.

    More to read...

  • Shipwreck treasures donated to Maritime Museum

    From City of Aberdeen

    From Aberdeeen City Council

    A Victorian coffee pot and cream jug salvaged from the steamer City of Aberdeen, which foundered near Portlethen in January 1871, have been donated to Aberdeen Maritime Museum.

    Australian pensioner Margot Rutherford, who is in her 90s, has donated the items to the museum because she wants to see them returned to their home city.

    The silver jug and coffee pot, which are in excellent condition, have been prized Rutherford family heirlooms since they were acquired by Mrs Rutherford's husband's grandfather in 1871. The items were taken to Australia when his son emigrated there about 1905.

    Mrs Rutherford said: "For well over a century this beautiful coffee pot and lovely cream jug have been cared for by my family here in Australia, and they've brought us a great deal of pleasure over these years. Indeed, after so long, they've become a part of my family, and it's been very hard to part with them.

    "However, my daughter Debbie and I feel that the time now has come for them to return home to Aberdeen. By donating them to the Maritime Museum, we know that they will continue bringing pleasure to many more people across the years ahead, and a pleasure shared is a pleasure doubled."

    Mrs Rutherford explained in a letter to Lord Provost Peter Stephen that her late husband's grandfather, James Rutherford, who lived in Newcastle upon Tyne, bought the coffee pot and jug as salvage from the ship.

    They were taken to Australia by Mrs Rutherford's father-in-law John Rutherford. Her husband, James, inherited the items when his father died, and Mrs Rutherford has looked after them since her marriage in 1945.

    More to read...

  • Surprises and emotions surface at Titanic exhibit

    Titanic exhibit

    By Monnie Nilsson

    The story of the Titanic is a schoolhouse staple and one of the great cautionary tales of hubris.

    It has spawned countless books, award-winning documentaries and memorable movies, notably the Oscar-winning blockbuster starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, with its memorable image of the couple standing with arms outstretched on the ship's bow.

    So it's tempting to think you know all there is to know about the doomed liner, which sank on its maiden voyage 97 years ago this month. What possibly could be left to learn? Apparently, quite a bit.

    Over the next several days, RMS Titanic Inc., the sole entity that can legally recover objects from the site of the shipwreck, brings its mobile exhibit, "Titanic: Treasures From the Deep," to area history buffs.

    To better understand what the exhibit offers, we spoke with Titanic expert and exhibit guide Lowell Lytle, a.k.a. "Captain Smith."

    More to read...

  • 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.


  • Titanic exhibition helps to keep museum afloat

    From Times & Star

    The world’s most famous shipwreck is helping to keep Maryport’s Maritime Museum afloat.

    More than 400 people visited a Titanic exhibition in the Lifeboat Inn, next to the Shipping Brow museum, on Sunday and Monday and around 60 adults and 45 children watched the only working steam model of the ship as it sailed on the Ellen River on Monday morning.

    The exhibition was put together by Cliff Ismay, a descendant of Thomas Ismay, the Maryport-born founder of the White Star Line, which owned the Titanic.

    Ismay’s son, Bruce, was the chairman of the White Star Line when the Titanic was launched and was one of those who survived its sinking.

    Howard Nelson, of the Titanic Heritage Trust in Coventry, brought memorabilia from the blockbuster movie Titanic.

    Mr Nelson also brought a book of remembrance for people to fill in, not only to mark the lives lost on the ship but also those whose continuing lives were affected by the tragedy.

    On Sunday local sea cadets helped at the exhibition handing out ‘boarding passes’ to visitors.

    Tony Johnston, of Scotton, brought his four-and-a-half-foot steam-powered model of the Titanic, which he said he built in two weeks out of sheer irritation.

    More to read...

  • Whos, whats, wheres of the Whydah


    By Mark Yost

    A small band of pirates operating off the coast of Somalia garnered headlines recently. But if you want to learn about life when pirates dominated both the seas and the news, then I'd suggest a visit to the Field Museum's "Real Pirates" (here through Oct. 25).

    The exhibit tells the somewhat familiar story of the Golden Age of Piracy, circa 1650-1720, when rowdy bands of men (and sometimes women) sailed from port to port, wantonly looting, lusting, and -- ultimately -- losing the small fortunes they sometimes managed to amass.

    What makes the show engaging and worthwhile is the fact that other stories are told within this collection of artifacts, dioramas and interpretive panels.

    The centerpiece of the "Real Pirates" story is the Whydah, a ship that engaged in piracy for such a short time that when it went down off Cape Cod in April 1717 it still had most of its treasure on board.

    That loot is, according to the curators, the only documented pirate treasure ever found. The Whydah was originally built for the lucrative slave trade, a story that's told here too.

    More to read...

  • The mysterious marvel of the Mary Rose

    The Mary Rose

    From the Guardian

    Don't miss your chance to visit this astonishing shipwreck before the museum closes for a major overhaul.

    This summer will be the last chance to see the Mary Rose, the early 16th-century wooden warship miraculously salvaged by underwater archaeologists in the Solent in the 1980s, before the ship's current display closes for several years for an ambitious redesign.

    When it opens, this will be – from the looks of the model – a museum truly worthy of one of the most amazing historic finds of the 20th century.

    Here, you'll be able to look across from the ship in its sealed conservation chamber to facing displays of the unique objects that were preserved in it – from medical equipment to what looks like Lord Flashheart's boots.

    The Mary Rose is a Renaissance Pompeii – a window on a lost way of life. But where Pompeii was a minor Roman city, this ship was one of the pearls of Henry VIII's navy, and one of the first purpose-built battleships in history.

    That's why, when it mysteriously capsized and sank, it was so crammed with gear. What makes it moving is what makes Pompeii moving – the astonishingly detailed survival of everyday artefacts.

    You can see, in the current museum of finds near the boat shed in Portsmouth's historic dockyard, big cauldrons in which meals were cooked below decks, a brass syringe from the barber surgeon's cabin, strange wooden carvings that sailors made to pass the time.


  • Real pirate story comes to Field Museum

    By William Mullen

    When the pirate ship Whydah broke up in a fierce storm off Cape Cod in 1717, it sank carrying the plunder from 54 ships it had seized over the last year. Of the 146 men aboard, 144 died.

    For years the story of those pirates lay buried with the wreck and its treasure under 30 feet of sand—a tale of violent men who nonetheless built for themselves a mini-society that shed racial prejudice and operated on democratic principles.

    A traveling exhibit opening Friday at the Field Museum uses artifacts salvaged from the Whydah—the first and only verified pirate shipwreck ever located and recovered—to shed light on the lives of these men. Objects on display include weapons, jewelry, gold and silver coins and ingots as well as clothing, everyday utensils and tools.

    Named for a slave port in Africa, the Whydah (wee-dah) represented the best available maritime technology when it was built in England in 1715—a swift, powerfully armed ship designed to transport slaves to the New World.

    More to read...

  • Can Egypt bring Cleopatra's palace back to life ?

    Cleopatra's museum

    By Jack Shenker

    Some of the world's most exciting sunken treasures could soon be on view after Egypt confirmed plans to build a giant underwater museum in the Mediterranean.

    But as preparation begins on the site of Cleopatra's Palace in Alexandria, funding and technical problems are proving as divisive and controversial as the famed queen herself.

    Ancient Alexandria was one of the world's great centres of civilisation, and since excavations in the eastern harbour began in 1994, divers have unearthed thousands of historical objects.

    These have included 26 sphinxes, several vast granite blocks weighing up to 56 tonnes each, and even pieces of what is believed to be the Pharos of Alexandria lighthouse, one of the seven classic wonders of the world.

    Remnants of Queen Cleopatra's palace complex are also submerged beneath the waves, after the island on which it stood fell victim to earthquakes in the 5th century.

    Now ambitious but controversial plans are under way to open up this unique site via an immersed fibreglass tunnel which would enable close-up viewing of the underwater monuments.

    The designs were drawn up by the French architect Jacques Rougerie, a veteran of water-based construction projects, and have been backed by the United Nations cultural agency Unesco.


  • Charles Darwin - Voyages and ideas that shook the world exhibit

    Charles Darwin

    From Sail World

    We all know travel broadens our vision and stimulates our thinking… but what sort of voyage was it that inspired Charles Darwin to construct his theory of evolution that shook the 19th century world’s beliefs to their core ?

    A major exhibition coming to the Australian National Maritime Museum takes you with him on HMS Beagle, introduces you to the people who sailed with him and shows you what they saw.

    And it places the Beagle voyage in the context of other early 19th century exploratory expeditions, revealing the sense of wonder they experienced as the natural world opened up to them.

    The Australian National Maritime Museum has assembled the exhibition Charles Darwin – Voyages and ideas that shook the world to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of his most famous work On the Origin of Species.

    And to coincide with the opening of the exhibition, the museum is combining with Sydney University to present a special two-day symposium (20-21 March) with eminent speakers from universities and other institutions in the UK and Australia.

    The exhibition opens with an introduction to HMS Beagle, a small (27.5 metre) survey vessel and an account of its earlier (1826-30) survey expedition to Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego under the command of Phillip Parker King.

    It then introduces the young Charles Robert Darwin, born12 February 1809, the son of Dr Robert Darwin, a successful Shropshire physician, and Susannah Darwin, daughter of the famous potter Josiah Wedgwood. Charles was the fifth of six children in this well-to-do family.

    After unexceptional studies at Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities, Charles in 1831 – still aged only 22 – was invited almost by chance to join the Beagle on its circumnavigation of the globe which took five years to complete.

    The voyage would expose him to a variety of environments and plant the genesis of ideas that would explain the evolution of life on earth.

    More to read...

  • Dutch Government to transfer shipwreck coins and artefacts

    From BYM Marine & Maritime News


    Australia is to receive a significant collection of artefacts recovered from four Dutch shipwrecks found off the Western Australian coast following an announcement made by the Netherlands Government today.

    Until now the collections of the Zuytdorp (1712), Batavia (1629), Vergulde Draeck (1656) and the Zeewyk (1727) had been shared between the Western Australian Museum, the Netherlands and the Commonwealth Government as agreed under the Australian and Netherlands Committee on Old Dutch Shipwrecks (ANCODS) established in 1972.

    The collections to be transferred consist of 633 coins and 1,326 artefacts which include bricks; building blocks; lead ingots; pottery; elephant tusks; cannons, cannon balls; amber and pitch as well as rare objects owned by crew and passengers, including navigational instruments and ornaments. Culture and the Arts Minister John Day said the gift to Australia from the Government of the Netherlands would allow WA scientists to delve even further into the rich history of the Dutch explorers off the WA coast.

    “Having all of these precious artefacts in Australia will allow greater access to the complete collections of these important shipwrecks by maritime historians, scholars and researchers,” Mr Day said.

    “It will allow thorough research and analysis to be undertaken and ensure the collections are accessible to the Australian public to enable everyone to learn even more about their history and heritage.

    “Staff at the Western Australian Museum are looking forward to working with the Netherlands research workers and Museum curators in developing a better understanding of this unique collection.”

    The share of artefacts from these four shipwrecks held by Australia is currently on display at the Western Australian Museum - Shipwreck Galleries and the Western Australian Museum in Geraldton. Arrangements for the transfer of the Netherlands Government’s collection, as well as details of where the collection is to be housed, will be finalised later this year.


  • Island's largest maritime museum opens doors

    By Eric Chao

    Located between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea, Taiwan has been shaped by its relation with the ocean, though today its focus is turned toward the land.

    With its rich collection of marine artifacts, the newly inaugurated Evergreen Maritime Museum aims to revive this ancient link by educating the people of Taiwan about the sea and ships. Taiwan Journal reporter Eric Chao recounts a visit to the museum.

    Being an island, the sea was always important to the people of Taiwan, and still is. The nation's largest marine museum, which opened its doors Oct. 7, 2008 in Taipei, celebrates this relationship.

    The Evergreen Maritime Museum is the brainchild of tycoon Chang Yung-fa, chairman and founder of the Taipei-based Evergreen Group, one of the largest container shipping companies in the world, and owner of Eva Air, the second major airline in Taiwan.

    The inauguration of the museum coincided with the 40th anniversary of the company.


  • Maritime museum dusts off fleet of model ships

    By Phil Hammond

    For more than 200 years, ships have been integral to Australia's history. And the record of those ships, in a collection of 300 models, is housed adjacent to Brisbane's Goodwill Bridge at the Queensland Maritime Museum.

    Warships from the 19th-century British Navy, like HMS Victory, and James Cook's converted 18th-century coal transporter, HMS Endeavour, are large, detailed scale models on permanent display in the museum's main hall.

    On two upper levels, until February 6, the museum has dusted off 100 lesser-known items in its collection for the fascinating Great Model Ship Expo.

    As preparations continue for southern Queensland's next government-funded maritime treasure hunt – locating the remains of the Centaur hospital ship torpedoed by a Japanese submarine off North Stradbroke Island during World War II, a model of the vessel is a poignant reminder of the tragedy.

  • Historic, rare shipwreck items on display in NY's Met Museum of Art

    From KBTX News


    Hundreds of items from the world’s oldest-known seafaring ship – believed to be from around 1,300 B.C. – discovered off the coast of Turkey and excavated by members of Texas A&M University’s Institute of Nautical Archeology are on display in a first-of-its kind showing at New York City’s legendary Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    The exhibit, “Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C . ,” displays priceless items that represent a time capsule of Bronze Age art and culture and are on view in the United States for the first time, says George Bass, Texas A&M professor emeritus of nautical archeology who helped catalog and archive many of the artifacts.

    The more than 350 items retrieved from the wreck – often referred to as the Uluburun, because it was in that region of southern Turkey where it was found in about 140 feet of water – show the intricate art work of some of the world’s earliest civilizations. The ship was carrying a full cargo, and Bass says it’s believed the items came from Africa, Syria , Cyprus , Greece , northern Europe and other areas.

    “It (the shipwreck) was true globalization in its earliest form,” he explains.


  • An exhibit featuring artifacts from the Titanic docks in Montreal

    From The Canadian Press


    A travelling exhibit showcasing hundreds of salvaged artifacts from the Titanic has docked in Montreal.

    The show, which runs until April 2009, incorporates artifacts from the vessel and replicates sections of the ship.

    Viewers can admire the grand staircase, peer into first-and third-class quarters, walk down the halls and discover the personal stories of passengers on board the doomed ship.

    "The visitors become actors, part of the show," said Serge Grimaux, one of the promoters of the event.

    Grimaux and business partner Paul Matte bought and refurbished a former cinema in the downtown Eaton Centre to run a series of 'edutainment' exhibits, of which Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, is the first.

    The exhibit has been seen by more than 22 million visitors worldwide, but viewers will learn that the tragedy of the Titanic is partly a Canadian - and a Montreal - tale.

    The ocean liner sank on April 15, 1912, 722 kilometres off Newfoundland's coast.

    Because of the tragedy's proximity to Canadian shores, the passenger office of the Montreal Ocean Steamship Company picked up the ship's first distress signal and the city's papers scooped the world with news of the disaster.

    The city also has a large number of Titanic-related graves, and 30 Montrealers were on board the ill-fated luxury liner.

  • Liverpool to display newly-discovered Titanic relics

    Titanic objects

    From Liverpool Daily Post


    Intriguing items salvaged from the wreck of the Titanic are to go on public display in Liverpool for the first time.

    The objects, including pince-nez spectacles, a lady’s wrist watch, a third-class White Star Line cup, a ventilation grille, five tie-pins and a five-dollar bank-note will go on display at the Merseyside Maritime Museum on Friday.

    Exhibition curator Alan Scarth said this was the most exciting collection of items he had dealt with in 25 years in the job, and added the display gave him a “shiver down the spine”.

    He said: “These objects are very evocative of the most famous shipwreck of all time. The personal items are particularly moving because they represent the terrible human cost of the disaster.”



  • Titanic tragedy display at Liverpool Museum


    By Martin Thomas


    Fascinating objects salvaged from around the wreck of the liner Titanic, 2.5 miles down on the ocean floor are new attractions at the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

    The exhibits are a wrist watch, spectacles, a White Star Line cup, lead ventilation grill, a gold wristwatch, five tie pins and a five dollar banknote.

    When the RMS Titanic sank on 15 April 1912, with the loss of 1,500 lives, she broke up as she plunged down into the depths. The bow and stern sections of the wreck lie 1,970 ft apart surrounded by debris scattered far and wide.



  • Babylon receives praise in US media

    From Hurriyet Daily News


    More than 20,000 people have visited the ’Beyond Babylon’ exhibition at the New York Metropolitan Art Museum since it opened two weeks ago. The exhibition has received positive reactions in art circles in the country.

    An exhibition, "Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C.," on display at New York Metropolitan Art Museum, featuring the artifacts found in 1982 at the Uluburun site off the coast of Kaş, alongside artifacts from museums from the Near East and Turkey, has had 20,000 visitors in two weeks.

    The exhibition, sponsored by the Turkish-American Business Council, or TAIK, opened Nov. 18 with contributions from the Doğan, Doğuş, Koç and Sabancı groups.

    At a press conference held in Turkey before the opening of the exhibition, TAIK Chairman Haluk Dinçer said, "For our Council, there could be no more appropriate cultural and artistic activity than the Beyond Babylon exhibition because this priceless cultural legacy is directly related to trade and diplomacy in parallel with Turkey's own ongoing reforms at the moment."


  • Keyport museum's deep-sea vessel in shipshape form


    By Ed Friedrich


    The Trieste II was anchored in a parking lot, not in metal-eating saltwater.

    Yet salty air off Dogfish Bay and red duct tape were ravaging the deep submergence vessel. A fixture at the Naval Undersea Museum since the facility opened in 1991, the Trieste II was rusting away.

    A Port Orchard company, with $80,000 from the Navy, is reclaiming the historic vessel. A two-month renovation will wrap up in a couple weeks.

    “It’s gone places they don’t build equipment to go anymore,” said Pat Spicer, project leader for Q.E.D. Systems. “It’s as interesting as it gets, but it’s a huge, huge challenge.”

    Museum visitors aren’t likely to give the Trieste a second glance. It looks like a giant propane tank with little orange propellers, but its feats are impressive.

    Certified to operate 20,000 feet under the sea, it discovered and photographed debris from the submarine USS Thresher, which sank in the Atlantic Ocean with all hands on board on April 10, 1963.



  • British Museum say Treasure Act is having the right effect

    From Antiques Trade Gazette

    The British Museum have credited the Treasure Act – which ensures treasure hunters are compensated for finds – for the significant increase in reported objects.

    This year’s Treasure Annual Report, published on November 19, lists a total of 749 precious metal objects reported last year, compared with 665 in 2006.

    That amounts to a tenfold increase in the numbers of artefacts reported since the Act came into effect in 1996.

    James Robinson, the curator of medieval collections at the British Museum, said: “The way the system works now is a massive incentive for people to go out and find things.

    The number of items found seems to be getting bigger and bigger every year.”

    Under the Act, any gold, silver and groups of coins more than 300 years old have to be reported to the local coroner.

    “If the treasure is bought by the British Museum or a local museum, the proceeds are split, with half going to the finder and half to the landowner.”

    This year’s major discovery was an Iron Age gold and silver torc c.50BC to 200AD found near Newark. It was purchased by Newark Sherwood museum services for £350,000.

  • Plain sailing ?

    By Dominic Fontana

    That the Mary Rose sank during the battle in the Solent on July 19 1545 there is no doubt. But why did it sink ? It had sailed and fought successfully for 34 years without toppling over. There must be a reason. 

    Traditional thinking goes that it was blown over by a freak gust of wind, or that the crew were incompetent, and more recently it has been suggested that the crew were Spanish and could not understand English instructions.

    To me, these seem very unsatisfying reasons for loss of Tudor England's best ship.

    As I see it the scenario goes like this:

    There was a very large French invasion fleet of 230 ships assembled off the eastern end of the Isle of Wight, and the English fleet of just 60 were becalmed and at anchor within the Solent blocking French progress into Portsmouth Harbour, where they could have landed their army of around 30,000 men.

    This potential invasion was a very serious national crisis and the kingdom was at stake.



  • World's first underwater museum planned for Egypt

    From Mideast


    Mention underwater archeological treasures and most people will think of shipwrecks full of chests of gold from far corners of the earth.

    However, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), together with the Egyptian government, is now planning to show the world that underwater archeology can be much more, by building the world's first underwater museum to show the rich cultural and historical heritage that can be found under the Bay of Alexandria in northern Egypt.

    The museum will be built by the government of Egypt, while UNESCO has established an International Scientific Advisory Committee to help lay the groundwork. The committee is expected to start preparatory work this month.

    The decision by the Egyptian government comes amid growing international awareness of the need to protect archeological sites located underwater.

    UNESCO has established the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, which is expected to become operational by the end of 2008 after its ratification by 20 states.



  • Mary Rose sunk by French cannonball

    Mary Rose

    By Jasper Copping


    Now, academics believe the vessel, the pride of Henry VIII's fleet, was actually sunk by a French warship – a fact covered up by the Tudors to save face.

    The Mary Rose, which was raised from the seabed in 1982 and remains on public display in Portsmouth, was sunk in 1545, as Henry watched from the shore, during the Battle of The Solent, a clash between the English fleet and a French invasion force.

    Traditionally, historians have blamed the sinking, not on the intervention of the French, but on a recklessly sharp turn and the failure to close gun ports, allowing water to flood in.

    To exacerbate the situation, the craft, already overladen with soldiers on the top decks, was also struck by a strong gust of wind.

    But new research, carried out by academics at the University of Portsmouth, suggests the ship was fatally holed by a cannonball fired from a much smaller French galley.



  • Artifacts from oldest known shipwreck to go on display at Met


    From Today's Zaman

    Artifacts discovered in the wreckage of the world's oldest-known seafaring ship, discovered in 1982 near Uluburun on the southern coast of Turkey, are traveling to New York City this month for a special exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    Artifacts from the Uluburun wreck will be featured in an extensive collection titled "Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C.," set to go on public display on Nov. 18.

    In addition to pieces from Uluburun, the show will feature nearly 350 objects coming from places such as royal palaces, temples and tombs, highlighting a sophisticated network of interaction among kings, diplomats and merchants in the Near East at the time.

    It will begin with the Middle Bronze Age, in which a rising elite class sought valuable objects in foreign lands along with the objects from Babylon in Mesopotamia.

    It will continue with the palatial centers of the Late Bronze Age -- including the sites of Qatna and Ugarit in Syria, featuring Aegean-style wall paintings, royal archives and an intact royal tomb.