Nautical Archaeology Thread

A discovery from December 2019.

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The Herschel was scuttled in 1907 but its exact location had become a mystery.(Supplied: WA Museum)

'A 50-metre-long English steamship, the Herschel, has been located 25 kilometres east of Albany in WA. The iron shop was scuttled in 1907 after transporting immigrants to Australia and hauling coal. The ship's location was not on official records and its rediscovery has provided a valuable insight for WA's maritime history.'


 
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Ok, it's not archaeology, but it's pretty impressive that it retained its waterproof integrity for that long.

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'A Sony Action Cam sat at the bottom of the ocean in Bondi Beach since 2013 but will now be returned to the travellers who lost it. Now the camera is being praised for its durability, with many wanting to know the brand and saying the tale is a great advertisement for Sony.

'Jan Kadlec posted about his find on the Bondi Local Loop Facebook page yesterday and within two hours had tracked down the men in the photos he shared. “Does anyone recognise these (likely German/ Austrian/ Swiss) gentlemen?,” he wrote. “Just found their waterproof camera that seems to have been on the sea bottom at Bondi since 29/10/2013."


 
One to watch for further developments.

'A shipwreck has been accidentally discovered in Italy with the possibility of exploring tons of history. It is said that the ship could be a Galleon, a large, multi-decked sailing ships that were built in the 16th century.

'Citing the statement by Superintendency, Fox News is reporting that it is anticipated to be a discovery of what is described as a "sensational" shipwreck. The place of wreckage is located near Portofino off the coast of Northern Italy. At the location, pro divers Gabriele Succi and Edoardo Sbaraini of "Rasta Divers," observed "wooden remains on a seabed at a depth of 164 feet."

'Divers reportedly approached the authorities about their discovery which was followed by exploration trips to the site. Succi and Sbraini joined the team of divers from Superintendency of Archeology, Fine Arts and Landscape, and Italy's Underwater Carabinieri in their quest for historical treasure.

'Even though the exploration work on the site continues, the officials have confirmed two galleons of the 16th century named Santo Spirito and Santa Maria di Loreto drowned in the year 1579. If it is confirmed to be galleon, the discovery will prove to be a great victory for the divers who have been looking for the merchant ship since the 1970s, clarifies the statement as translated by the abovementioned publication. It is said that wreckage is of "great interest" for divers for "the visible hull portion can be traced back to a wreck of the early modern age, of which very few examples are known today in the Mediterranean."

'Meanwhile, mayor of the municipality of Camogli, Francisco Olivari posted pictures from the location of the wreckage on its official Facebook account giving a glance of the significantly important site.

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The archaeologists have also investigated the ancient breakwater that protected the island’s central port. (Greek Ministry of Culture)


 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I know it's a bit quiet but loading tweets from 2017?
Klaas just rt'd it, I wasn't following him back then. Plus it had a nice internal diagram that most people won't have seen before.
 
Klaas just rt'd it, I wasn't following him back then. Plus it had a nice internal diagram that most people won't have seen before.
There was a nice cut-away diagram in the 1953 edition of The New Book of Knowledge encyclopaedia. Sadly, my parents' set succumbed to creepy crawlies otherwise I'd post the diagram. It was quite a popular publication so perhaps somebody else has it.
 
Update on the Norwegian Viking longship excavation.


'Norway has begun work to excavate the first Viking ship to be unearthed in the country in more than a century, with experts hoping it will shed light on the era of the Nordic seafarers.

'Ground-penetrating radar detected the ancient vessel, buried about 50cm below ground in a mound covering a burial site, in 2018 in the south east near the Swedish border. 'Initial observations suggested the remains were in very bad shape, forcing the authorities to launch excavations quickly before the ship was completely degraded. Only three well-preserved Viking ships have been found in Norway, the last excavation dating back to 1904. All three are now on display in a museum near Oslo.

"With so few ships discovered, a new Viking ship will have a great impact on understanding the ships themselves, but also provide valuable information to understand the historical era as a whole," said archaeologist Knut Paasche of the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research. Viking warriors and merchants who sailed the seas between the eighth and eleventh centuries often buried kings and dignitaries with ships hoisted ashore. "The Gjellestad ship is a discovery of outstanding national and international importance," said Culture Minister Sveinung Rotevatn.

'The excavation is expected to last five months.'


 
A new perspective on the 1942 Raid on Darwin.

'The Bombing of Darwin history books have been rewritten overnight after propellers of an American destroyer were found on the bed of the harbour.

'It was previously believed USS Peary started steaming out of the harbour when the attack was underway, on February 19, 1942. But that view changed after divers found two 3-metre bronze propellers and drive shafts "some kilometres" from where the ship came to rest, on the bed of Darwin Harbour. Historians now believe the ship's stern was disabled on the first Japanese strike, leaving the Peary vulnerable to a further four attacks. NT Heritage Division Director Michael Wells said the propellers caused some confusion, but they were clearly from the Peary.'


 
For anyone escaping to Greece over the summer, there are a couple of good videos on the linked site.

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'From Monday, August 3, to Friday, October 2, 2020, divers accompanied by instructors will be able to visit the famous shipwreck of amphorae from the 5th century BC off the islet of Peristera near Alonissos Island.

'A fisherman was the first to encounter the ancient shipwreck near the western rocky shore of Peristera in 1985, at a depth of 28 meters (92 feet): a large merchant ship, possibly one from Athens, sank there around 425 BC.'


 
Not one for the average sports diver.

The scenes were photographed by Dive Newquay who took a group to the remains of the U-102 that lies nine nautical miles off the coast of Cornwall. The wreck lies near to two other U-boats and is believed to have been taken out by a deep-trap minefield laid by HMS Apollo during World War II. (Credit: SWNS)

The scenes were photographed by Dive Newquay who took a group to the remains of the U-102 that lies nine nautical miles off the coast of Cornwall. The wreck lies near to two other U-boats and is believed to have been taken out by a deep-trap minefield laid by HMS Apollo during World War II. (Credit: SWNS)

'A German U-boat that sank off the British coast during World War II has been captured on camera in remarkable images.

'The pictures were taken by diving contractor Dive Newquay, which took a group of divers to see the remains of U-1021, British news agency SWNS reports. The vessel lies 9 nautical miles off the coast of Cornwall. "The U1021 lies about nine nautical miles from Newquay Harbour and sits in 55m [180 feet] of water," a Dive Newquay spokesperson told the news outlet. "Dives of this depth are considered technical, which require special planning and different breathing gasses."


 
Some interesting historical perspectives being cast into doubt.

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'About 1,300 years ago, a 25-meter-long ship sank just a few dozen meters from the coast of Israel. Most likely, nobody perished in the incident. But its plentiful cargo included 103 amphorae filled with all forms of agricultural products, numerous daily objects used by the crew and many other unique features, such as several Greek and Arabic inscriptions. They were swallowed by the sea and the sand, which preserved their secrets for centuries. The shipwreck has been excavated by the University of Haifa’s Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies since 2016. It has offered archaeologists unique insights into the life of the region at the time of the transition between Byzantine and Islamic rule, trade routes and ship construction.

'The size and richness of the cargo seem to contradict the notion, currently popular among scholars, that during the transition between Byzantine and Islamic rule between the seventh and eighth centuries, commerce in the Eastern Mediterranean was limited. Inscriptions found by the archaeologists have provided a glimpse of the fascinating complexity of the period, with both Greek and Arabic letters, as well as Christian and Muslim religious symbols, making their way to the ship – whether carved in the wood of the vessel or on the amphorae.

'Moreover, the ship also offers important insights in terms of ship construction techniques. “Ships were built using a method called ‘shell-first’ construction, which was based on strakes, giving the hull its shape and integrity,” Cvikel told the Post. “The main characteristic of this method is the use of mortise-and-tenon joints to connect hull planks. During the fifth to sixth centuries CE, ‘skeleton-first’ construction, in which strakes were fastened to the preconstructed keel and frames, was used. “This process of ‘transition in ship construction’ has been one of the main topics in the history of shipbuilding for about 70 years, and some issues have remained unanswered. Therefore, each shipwreck of this period holds a vast amount of information that can shed further light onto the process.”


 
Photos and video in the link.

'Archaeologists and historians have launched an investigation into a deadly naval drama which unfolded more than a century ago off the coast of Yorkshire.

'For the past 103 years, a German submarine (UC47) from the First World War has lain largely forgotten at the bottom of the North Sea 22 miles off Flamborough Head. Sunk by the royal navy in November 1917, she symbolises a crucial turning point in that epic conflict’s war at sea.'


 
Photos and video in the link.

'Archaeologists and historians have launched an investigation into a deadly naval drama which unfolded more than a century ago off the coast of Yorkshire.

'For the past 103 years, a German submarine (UC47) from the First World War has lain largely forgotten at the bottom of the North Sea 22 miles off Flamborough Head. Sunk by the royal navy in November 1917, she symbolises a crucial turning point in that epic conflict’s war at sea.'


Very interesting that, read all the way through, there’s also an article on the discovery of the USS Greyfish, lost in February 1944.
 
Very interesting that, read all the way through, there’s also an article on the discovery of the USS Greyfish, lost in February 1944.
There was a regular feature in the BSAC house magazine 'Dive' c.1995-7 IIRC regarding the WW1 RN hardhat diver who penetrated several U. Boat wrecks recovering int.

A couple novel horrors we're opening a conning tower hatch and have a dead crewman float up out of it. Think there was one with evidence of another crewman shot and otherwise feeling his way around drowned crew etc.

Worth a look for those unaware of this aspect of the new warfare at sea.
 
There was a regular feature in the BSAC house magazine 'Dive' c.1995-7 IIRC regarding the WW1 RN hardhat diver who penetrated several U. Boat wrecks recovering int.

A couple novel horrors we're opening a conning tower hatch and have a dead crewman float up out of it. Think there was one with evidence of another crewman shot and otherwise feeling his way around drowned crew etc.

Worth a look for those unaware of this aspect of the new warfare at sea.
The expediency of wartime, but all war graves now. May they rest in peace.
 

stevers

Old-Salt

Something similar (abridged?) on Divernet. According to the article, Dusty Miller claimed to have entered UC-47 successfully and I'm not convinced 50m was beyond the capabilities of the divers of the time. Contradicts some of the claims made by the academic in the Independent article.

Edit to add, Miller also reported entering UB-30 (sunk off Whitby) at 50m depth.
 
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Something similar (abridged?) on Divernet. According to the article, Dusty Miller claimed to have entered UC-47 successfully and I'm not convinced 50m was beyond the capabilities of the divers of the time. Contradicts some of the claims made by the academic in the Independent article.

Edit to add, Miller also reported entering UB-30 (sunk off Whitby) at 50m depth.
Dusty Miller. That's the guy - incredible stories.
There was the one about the WW2 RN sub sunk in the Med. Crew escaped at depth using the canvas tube exit method, only one survivor picked up who'd swigged a bottle of rum - they identified the wreck finding the rum bottle inside IIRC.
 
Could be some fruitful pickings in NZ.

'Dusky Sound, in Fiordland, is home to some of New Zealand’s most important shipwrecks, and now a team of divers and historians have been given the chance to examine some of the wrecks for the first time.

'One of the wrecks to be surveyed for the first time includes what remains of the sightseeing ship Waikare, which sank 110 years ago.

'The ship took hundreds of people to a remote corner of Fiordland National Park in the early 1900s.
“It’s not ‘til you're actually down there on the seabed that you really understand how big the ship was,” maritime archaeologist Matt Carter said.

'In another first, the team were also able to survey the sea floor of Captain Cook’s Resolution mooring spot in 1773, a spot which Cook visited on two separate occasions.

'Divers also scoured the sea floor of New Zealand’s first known non-Māori shop wreckage from 1795, named the Endeavour - the same name as Captain Cook’s famous vessel. Mr Carter said the vessel was to travel to Sydney, then India, via the Dusky Sound. However, it was “a very unseaworthy vessel".

“No one’s ever dived it before as a maritime archaeologist, so we can bring our professional attributes to it and describe it in a lot more detail than what's already there,” Mr Carter said. The team took away several pieces during their survey. However, many of their findings have been left untouched.'


 

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