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Nautical Archaeology Thread

Given that it's the Black Sea, I wonder about the chances of finding a well-preserved wreck associated with the goods? Hopefully the resources to continue the search will be made available.

archaeology-chiroza-glass-bourgas-1-604x272.jpg


'Part of the largest sunken glass treasure on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast has been found off Bourgas, according to a media statement by Bourgas municipality.

'The statement said that for years, archaeologists had known about finds of such artefacts by divers, but not the specific location of the treasure.

'With the support of Bourgas municipality, research was carried out on shore and underwater in the area of Chengene Skele bay, near Cape Chiroza, leading to interesting discoveries, the statement said.

'The finds include dozens of parts of glass vessels of exceptional quality, which were displayed at a news conference on October 1 at Bourgas’s Ethnographic Museum.

'Most are wine glasses. Archaeologists do not want to speculate, but suggest that they were made in the 17th century, probably somewhere in Italy.

'The archaeologists theorise that the glass treasure had been on board a ship that struck a reef and sank near Cape Chiroza. They believe that if the underwater research continues, the ship itself and more of its cargo may be found.'


 
It mightn't be archaeology, but it is good news.

'The government has today announced the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust is one of 445 organisations across England to receive a share of a £103m from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and Heritage Stimulus Fund.

'It is thought the £698,600 awarded to the trust, which is based in the historic dockyards, will be used to upskill many of its volunteers, allowing them to carrying out essential maintenance work that is usually contracted out at a cost.

'This will enable the trust to maintain its portfolio of historically important buildings and boats and keep its International Boat Training College running.'


 
One for anyone around the Pompey area.

'HMS Invincible was wrecked in 1758 after hitting a sandbank in the Solent where she remained for more than two centuries - until Arthur discovered her in May 1979.

'While out on a routine fishing voyage three miles from Southsea beach, Arthur’s net snagged on a seabed obstruction. When eventually freed it came up with a piece of old timber.

'But instead of cursing his luck and throwing it back he trusted his ‘feeling’ about it, noted the spot, and returned with John Broomhead, a diving friend. Incredibly, the timber turned out to be part of Invincible.

‘Invincible had laid on the seabed for 240 years buried by sand. Other fishermen would have had their net caught on an obstruction and thought nothing of it but Arthur felt it was something special when he came across it.’

'Now around 2,000 artefacts discovered at the site - including parts of the ship's hull, tobacco pipes and ceramic hair curlers - were due to go on display to the public this year at Chatham Dockyard as part of a National Museum of the Royal Navy’s travelling exhibition.

'An exhibition on October 28 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard will also showcase Arthur and John’s story of discovery on Invincible - complete with a large picture of Arthur.'


 
The Amber Room, or at least more theories on it, break surface.

amber.jpg

Crates on board the shipwreck may hold the lost furnishings of the Amber Room, which was looted from a Russian palace by invading German soldiers in 1941.
(Image: © Baltictech/Tomasz Stachura)

'The wreck of a German steamship sunk at the end of World War II has been found by divers, -- and the crates on board the submerged vessel could hold a prize treasure: the precious furnishings of the lost 18th century Amber Room, which German soldiers looted from a Russian royal palace.

'The shipwreck was found north of the Polish seaside town of Ustka, at a depth of 290 feet (88 meters), after more than a year of searching for it on the floor of the Baltic Sea, said Tomasz Stachura, who led the discovery. Stachura is one of the founders of the Baltictech dive team. By a curious coincidence, the wrecked ship has the same name — Karlsruhe— as a WWII German warship found off Norway last month, which was sunk in 1940. Both ships were named after a city in Germany.

'The 196-foot-long (60 m) steamer SS Karlsruhe took part in the massive German evacuation of East Prussia in April 1945, dubbed Operation Hannibal by the Nazi leadership, which took place as the Soviet Red Army advanced westward.

'On April 12, the Karlsruhe became the last German ship to leave Königsberg — now Kaliningrad in Russia; other parts of East Prussia became parts of Lithuania and Poland after the war. The steamer headed west, but it was sunk by Soviet warplanes the next day.

'Some historians have long-suspected that the many crates loaded onto the ship held what's left of the famous Amber Room, an ornately decorated chamber of a Russian palace looted by the Germans and then lost during WWII, Stachura told Live Science in an email.

"The truth is that if the Germans were to take something valuable from Königsberg, it was the Karlsruhe that was their last option," he said.

'The ship had left Königsberg on the evening April 12 with more than 1,000 refugees and 360 tons (326 metric tons) of cargo on board; but it was hit by a Soviet warplane's torpedo dropped on the morning of April 13, and only 113 people survived.

'Stachura said the wreck is relatively intact, and that they've seen military vehicles and several crates on board; but the divers can't tell whether any of the crates hold the looted remains of the lost Amber Room.

"Diving at a depth of 88 m [290 feet] is very difficult," he said. "We have focused only on the inventory, video shooting and photographic documentation."

'And he can't say yet just when its mysterious cargo could be recovered: "The possible examination of the load will have to be discussed with the Maritime Office in Gdynia, Poland, and they will make the final decision," he said'


 
Illustrating the problem caused by bottom-trawling nets.


An iron cannon broken into pieces by a trawler’s fishing gear. Photograph: Seascape Artifact Exhibits Inc

'A 17th-century English shipwreck, the world’s earliest vessel linked to the transatlantic slave trade, is facing complete destruction by 21st-century fishing trawlers.

'The 1680s Royal African Company trader – seen as a burial ground of slaves who perished on its final voyage – lies on the seabed about 40 miles south of Land’s End. It is being “pounded into oblivion” by “bulldozers of the deep”, claimed a leading British marine archaeologist. Any submerged evidence offering insights into untold horrors that the slaves had endured on board such ships will be lost for ever, warned Dr Sean Kingsley. He has been alarmed by underwater footage filmed for a new documentary series about the transatlantic slave trade. It reveals extensive damage to a wreck that was once “a beast of a ship”, carrying 48 cannon, perhaps 600 tons in capacity and manned by a crew of 70.

'He said: “Fifty years ago, this wreck must have been a thing of wonder. Today, what’s left is tragic. Trawlers dragging nets for fish and scallops have bulldozed everything. Cannon have been dragged 300 metres away. If trawlers can throw two-ton guns around like matchsticks, then the wooden hull and small finds have no chance. Archaeologists call deep-sea wrecks time-capsules. This wreck looks like a war zone.'

'The footage was filmed for 'Enslaved', a documentary about the transatlantic trade, which begins tonight on BBC Two. Kingsley, who has explored more than 350 shipwrecks, is adviser to the documentary. As the founding editor of Wreckwatch, the world’s only magazine dedicated to the sunken past, he will publish the new evidence in the next issue. The wreck lies 110 metres down, and the 'Enslaved' team became the first to visit it.'


 
Curious that a ship stated to be transporting slaves from west Africa to the West Indies should sink off Land's End. It can't have been easy to have got so far off course, especially as it would have been fighting against the prevailing winds and currents.

Unless it didn't have slaves aboard and was either carrying sugar to Britain or sailing to pick up slaves.
 
Curious that a ship stated to be transporting slaves from west Africa to the West Indies should sink off Land's End. It can't have been easy to have got so far off course, especially as it would have been fighting against the prevailing winds and currents.

Unless it didn't have slaves aboard and was either carrying sugar to Britain or sailing to pick up slaves.

Well, a/ it is the Gruanaid and b/ they don't appear to have been able to name the wreck, so no chance of a manifest to tell what it was carrying at the time it sank.
 
Curious that a ship stated to be transporting slaves from west Africa to the West Indies should sink off Land's End. It can't have been easy to have got so far off course, especially as it would have been fighting against the prevailing winds and currents.

Unless it didn't have slaves aboard and was either carrying sugar to Britain or sailing to pick up slaves.
Slave ships traded goods for slaves, and those goods were manufactured in Europe. The route therefore would have to go from Europe to Africa, to the Caribbean and Brazil, and then back to Europe.
 
Slave ships traded goods for slaves, and those goods were manufactured in Europe. The route therefore would have to go from Europe to Africa, to the Caribbean and Brazil, and then back to Europe.
I'd worked that out. Europe to Africa carrying goods. Africa to W Indies carrying slaves. W Indies to Europe carrying sugar.

No reason for African slaves to be within 2000 miles of Land's End.
 
Not nautical archaeology as such, but an interesting hypothesis as to why some of it exists.

'The Spanish Crown had a monopoly on the trade route between Manila and Mexico for more than 250 years. The ships that sailed this route were “the richest ships in all the oceans”, but much of the wealth sank at sea and remain undiscovered. This column uses a newly constructed dataset of all of the ships that travelled the route to show how monopoly rents that allowed widespread bribe-taking would have led to overloading and late ship departure, thereby increasing the probability of shipwreck. Not only were late and overloaded ships more likely to experience shipwrecks or to return to port, but the effect is stronger for galleons carrying more valuable, higher-rent cargo. This sheds new light on the costs of rent-seeking in European colonial empires.'

Leaving aside any modern political posturing, an interesting read nonetheless - Shipwrecked by rents | VOX, CEPR Policy Portal
 
Not nautical archaeology as such, but an interesting hypothesis as to why some of it exists.

'The Spanish Crown had a monopoly on the trade route between Manila and Mexico for more than 250 years. The ships that sailed this route were “the richest ships in all the oceans”, but much of the wealth sank at sea and remain undiscovered. This column uses a newly constructed dataset of all of the ships that travelled the route to show how monopoly rents that allowed widespread bribe-taking would have led to overloading and late ship departure, thereby increasing the probability of shipwreck. Not only were late and overloaded ships more likely to experience shipwrecks or to return to port, but the effect is stronger for galleons carrying more valuable, higher-rent cargo. This sheds new light on the costs of rent-seeking in European colonial empires.'

Leaving aside any modern political posturing, an interesting read nonetheless - Shipwrecked by rents | VOX, CEPR Policy Portal
They failed to include the mandatory phrase "the psychological hedonism of the classical liberals" and, although they managed to name-check Adam Smith (without explaining the relevance), they omitted Galbraith.

The text was interesting but bordering on stating the obvious but the graphs were contrived - the data points appear totally random yet straight lines appear to have been drawn with some confidence. The data is also missing.
 
A further update on the HMS Invincible (1744) exhibition at Pompey.

'After an emergency excavation by archaeologists and divers from Bournemouth University and the Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust, the finds from the wreck of HMS Invincible are at last on display after over 200 years underwater.

'Visitors to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard will be transported to the seabed in a brand-new interactive exhibition open now for October half term. Diving Deep: HMS Invincible 1744 explores the fascinating discovery and underwater excavation of 18th century battleship, HMS Invincible which sank in February 1758 when she hit a sandbank in the East Solent.

'The year-long exhibition tells the story of Invincible; her capture, the contribution she made to the Royal Navy and ship design and her subsequent sinking and rediscovery by a local fisherman, Arthur Mack, nearly 200 years later. It will also showcase some of the objects and findings from the HMS Invincible archaeological excavation, probably the most important of its kind in UK waters for nearly 40 years.

'HMS Invincible was a game changer in the way ships were built and influenced the design of one of the world’s most famous and enduring warships, HMS Victory. The 74-gun L’Invincible was originally built for the French navy in 1744 and captured by the Royal Navy in 1747. Her design was so important that by 1805, two thirds of the Royal Navy fleet were modelled on this ship, as were 16 of Nelson’s 27 ships at the Battle of Trafalgar.

'She is probably the best preserved 18th century warship in the UK, and excavation over the last three years has been a race against time and tides. The ship was rediscovered in 1979 by a local fisherman Arthur Mack, and designated as a Historic Wreck in 1980. It became crucial to recover items from the ship when it was discovered that the bank the ship sits on was migrating away. Due to the work of the team, the excavation is now complete and Historic England has been able to remove the site from its Heritage At Risk Register.'



 
Wine vessels, but where's the remains of the floaty thing they probably came off?

'As Morski writes on the 31st of October, 2020, on Saturday, an action was carried out to save an entire late antiquity-period amphora from the seabed close to the Paklinski islands near Hvar. In addition to the amphora, two other complete late antiquity wine vessels were found during the dive, marking yet another incredible Hvar archaeological discovery.

'The amphora was found by Dr. Ivan Cvitkovic and Dr. Ante Zuljevic from the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries during field research on foreign species along the seabed as part of the BENTHIC NIS project, which is otherwise funded by the Croatian Science Foundation.

'The wine amphorae are dated to the period between the 3rd and 5th centuries, and the inside is coated with resin because the pottery is porous and liquid would leak through the walls of the vessel.

'The action was organised by Tea Katunaric Kirjakov, an underwater archaeologist and lecturer at the Academy of Arts, University of Split, with the assistance of Kantharos d.o.o from Hvar, specialising in archaeological research, surveillance, photographic and photogrammetric documentation.

''The team from the Institute has been monitoring [the area] for many years and they noticed that there are antiquity vessels down there. With the erosion of Posidonia, the discovery of an ancient amphora came to light. Upon examining the terrain, we found two more ancient wine vessels which were completely preserved. One is a table jug and the other is for straining wine. We also found a number of fragments of amphorae around.

'Our goal was to check whether there is a complete amphora or shipwreck remains, however in this survey of the terrain, we haven't yet been able to specify such a thing. It will be necessary to undertake another action and look at the deeper parts of the seabed to see whether the amphorae have rolled there,'' Tea Katunaric Kirjakov told Morski.'


 
An assumption debunked.

'When Øyvind Ødegård set out last June to scour the seafloor near Svalbard—a vast, ice-covered Norwegian archipelago halfway between continental Norway and the North Pole—he had a dream.

'A marine archaeologist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Ødegård has worked for decades to protect Norway’s underwater cultural heritage—the shipwrecks and other artifacts that lie, for most archaeologists, literally out of sight and out of mind. His dream was to discover, in these Arctic waters, wrecks that might rival those of the Franklin Expedition, found in Canada’s high Arctic in 2014 and 2016. Those ships, the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, were so well preserved that after 170 years, divers found individual hairs entangled in combs.

'Ødegård had reason to dream big: from the 1600s onward, thousands of European whaling vessels ventured to Svalbard to exploit its bowhead whale population, and at least 600 never left. Instead, they were entombed in crushing sea ice or sunk by rival fleets. Finding them could cast new light on an underexplored part of European history. “Most European Arctic history from this period happened on ships, not land,” says Ødegård. “The only physical remains that can tell us a story about these lives will come from wrecks.”

'Ødegård set off aboard the Arctic University of Norway’s (UiT) R/V Helmer Hanssen last summer, with the aim of finding Dutch ships sunk by the French in the 17th century. Using historical reports made to France’s King Louis XIV, Ødegård and his team pinpointed promising spots. But when they deployed underwater drones for a closer look, they not only failed to find Franklin-esque wrecks—they found nothing at all.

'The absence suggested an awful possibility: the wrecks—which no one had attempted to find in the past—had been there, but had vanished. The suspected culprit? Shipworms, one of the world’s most voracious destroyers of underwater heritage. Not a worm at all, shipworms are tunneling, tube-shaped mollusks that thrive on cellulose. A sizable infestation can destroy a sunken ship in just a few years, exposing to the elements the trove of historical treasures contained inside, from human remains to archaeological artifacts.

'Shipworms have long been a recognized archaeological threat, but before 2016 no one realized they could endanger the abundant but unexplored wreckage sprawled across the Arctic seafloor, where it was assumed to be far too cold for them to thrive.'


 
A sizable infestation can destroy a sunken ship in just a few years, exposing to the elements the trove of historical treasures contained inside, from human remains to archaeological artifacts.
...but they failed to find any shipworm-resistant artefacts either.

Might it just be that they were looking in the wrong place?

Back in those days the Earth was flat. The ships might have fallen off the edge.
 
And the only people who will profit, culturally or financially, will be the lawyers.

'For centuries, sunken Spanish galleons laden with gold, silver and emeralds have guarded their priceless treasures at the bottom of the oceans. Now Spain’s modern day armada is to launch a new vessel that will help in efforts to find the lost loot which Madrid claims as part of its cultural heritage. Researchers have traced 710 shipwrecks off Cuba, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the US Atlantic coast.

'About half of these were travelling from the empire in Latin America to Spain when they sank, laden with treasures, because of bad weather, running aground on reefs, or pirate attacks. '


 
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