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Nautical Archaeology Thread

Something a little different.

Ancient ruins visible in shallow waters, Aegina Kolona beach.
Ancient ruins visible in shallow waters, Aegina Kolona beach. Credit Paula Tsoni/Greek Reporter

'Most Greek and foreign travelers would associate the island of Aegina, just one hour from Athens by boat, with its sandy beaches; with its pistachio orchards; and equally with the majestic ancient temple of the local deity Aphaia, or with the monastery of the St Nektarios, whose story will soon feature on the silver screen starring Mickey Rourke.

'Very few visitors frequent the island and its 13000 inhabitants. Regina has an ancient military harbor. Α unique construction anywhere in the Mediterranean, it has always remained open to bathers to enjoy and to explore despite it being the focal area of significant ongoing research by an international team of archaeologists.

'Besides the unmissable landmark of Kolona, at the foot of the Acropolis of Aegina, lie the semi-submerged ruins of one of the most important military harbors of ancient Greece, referred to by 2nd century AD historian Pausanias as the secret harbor -“kryptos limin”, in classical Greek.'


 
Another Viking longship identified.

The radar data showed that the Viking ship was about 62ft long and was buried up to 4.6ft below the surface of the ground, according to the research team

'The radar data showed that the Viking ship was about 62ft long and was buried up to 4.6ft below the surface of the ground, according to the research team

'A Viking ship burial, feast hall and cult house have been found by archaeologists in Norway without having to dig into the soil - only using ground penetrating radar.

'The discovery was made by experts from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) at Gjellestad in southeastern Norway.

'Gjellestad is home to the Jell Mound, one of the largest Iron Age funerary mounds in Scandinavia and this new discovery adds to the prominence of the site, suggesting it was used for from as early as the 5th century AD through to about 1050 AD.'


 

rampant

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Previously classified documents on the loss of the USS Thresher released

 
Another wreck (tentatively) identified.

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Chuck Meide, director of the Lighthouse Archeological Maritime Program in St. Augustine, takes measurements of the shipwreck that surfaced near Crescent Beach Saturday. COLLEEN MICHELE JONES AP

'Researchers believe a shipwreck that surfaced near Crescent Beach is likely the remnants of a cargo vessel called the Caroline Eddy that was run aground by a hurricane in the late 19th century.

'According to Chuck Meide, director of the St. Augustine Lighthouse Archeological Maritime Program, analysis of the bones of the ship a, along with initial research his team has done, make it a “strong candidate” for identification as a merchant ship that sank not far from the area in 1880.

“We believe it could very well be the Caroline Eddy,” Meide told The Record at the site of the shipwreck, which is just of Matanzas Inlet near the Summer House condominium complex on State Road A1A.

“And this is definitely the hull of the ship. There is no keel under here which would be the center of the ship, but it could just be that the ship is broken up.”


 
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Yes, but the big question is whether they'll find an American submarine nearby?

'German divers searching the Baltic Sea for discarded fishing nets have stumbled upon a rare Enigma cipher machine used by the Nazi military during World War Two which they believe was thrown overboard from a scuttled submarine.'

 
Scientific research for the betterment of civilisation or, given the 'Blue Heritage' tag, rampant nationalism and the chance for a territorial claim?

'Ancient history lies beneath the blue waves of the Aegean and the coasts of Izmir host many pieces of it. The latest piece to see daylight was the remains of a historical warship, thought to be from the 18th century, discovered on the seafloor off the coast of Foça, a district of Izmir in western Turkey.

'The sunken ship, which is thought to be 250 years old, has been added to the growing inventory created for the ongoing research at Dokuz Eylül University's (DEÜ) Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology. The research is supported by the Presidency of Strategy and Budget and is called the "Inventory of Turkish Sunken-Ships Project: Blue Heritage (TUBEP)."

'The wreckage was found by the research vessel, Koca Piri Reis, using a remote-controlled underwater robot with sonar technology. The vessel takes its name after the famous 15-century Ottoman admiral and cartographer Piri Reis. He is best known for his world map, which is the oldest Turkish atlas showing the New World.

'"The ship contains 20 bronze and iron cannons, a large number of round shots and kitchenware, we have also located and identified pieces of the ship's main hull. The ship's dimensions are around 25 meters by 7 meters, but it is currently scattered over a 250 square-meter area. It was probably sunk in a conflict in the area toward the end of the 18th century."


 
I read a book on the wreck of the Amsterdam many years ago, and more recently saw an op ed lamenting the Dutch decision to send money on building a replica rather than preserving the real thing, so this is good news.

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'Underwater museums are growing in popularity, but one museum is making an underwater attraction accessible to visitors without the use of diving gear. A new museum project conceived by architecture studio ZJA is set to house the shipwreck of the historic 18th-century Amsterdam, currently sunk off the coast of England.

'The museum, called Docking the Amsterdam, will be built around a glass tank containing the wreck, and probably displayed in Amsterdam where the shipyard was originally located. The glass tank will allow visitors to view it from all angles while it remains underwater.

'Built in the 18th century by the Dutch East India Company (VOC), the ship was beached in 1749 close to the town of Hastings in the UK after becoming unsteerable. The ship was quickly covered in large amounts of sand and the ship and cargo were unusable. With time, surf, and sand, the wreck has eroded, but the hull and contents, however, remain largely intact.

'The VOC foundation is responsible for salvaging the wreck from its current unsafe site and creating a research facility for archaeologists to explore the site. They hope the new museum — complete with exhibition spaces — will educate visitors about Dutch maritime history, including its involvement in the slave trade and the consequences of slavery to this day.'


 
Can't say I'd heard of this one before.

'The mystery of a shipwreck off the coast of Ireland has finally been solved 250 years after it sank.

'The skeletal remains of the large vessel known as the 'Butter Boat' become visible as low tides shift. The County Sligo landmark and a popular tourist attraction has drawn curiosity for years - but it's true origin was never fully known. It had been thought to be part of the fabled Spanish Armada in the 16th century. But, thanks to new archaeological and archival research by Ireland's National Monuments Service, that theory was ruled out and the tragic identity of the ship has now been uncovered.

'Samples from timbers off the shipwreck place the construction of the vessel firmly in the first half of the 18th century, some time after 1712. They also indicated the timber was probably sourced from the English Midlands, possibly Yorkshire. Further research into 18th century historical accounts led to the vessel being identified as the Greyhound, a coastal trading ship out of Whitby port in Yorkshire in England, owned by a Mrs Allely. Twenty people died when it sank on the night of December 12 1770.

'The Greyhound was caught in a storm off the coast of Mayo and, unable to seek safe harbour in Broadhaven Bay, it was driven to anchor in a perilous position beneath the towering cliffs off Erris Head. The crew was forced to abandon ship but in a tragic oversight, a cabin boy was left on board. On learning of the plight of the cabin boy, some crew members, the crew of a passing ship, Mary from Galway, and local volunteers from Broadhaven Bay attempted to rescue the boy and the stricken ship.

'While the rescue team did manage to board the Greyhound and move the vessel away from the cliffs, the ship was driven further out to sea by the force of the storm with some of the volunteer crew and the cabin boy still on board. Later that night, she was wrecked at Streedagh Strand, 100 kilometres to the east, with the loss of 20 lives. Just one man - a Mr Williams "from Erris" - survived the wrecking.'


 
One worth watching for developments!

'We know that many sunken ships, trucks, and even ammunition has been dumped in Mjøsa, Norway's largest lake. This year saw the start of a large research project to discover what is hiding in the deep.


'Today, Mjøsa is dominated by leisure boats and the Skibladner, the World’s oldest paddle steamer still in use. But from before the time of the Vikings, Mjøsa has been an important waterway for both goods and people. Before the car and the modern roads, boats were the most efficient way to travel if you lived close to the lake. There is a lot of history connected to the area around Mjøsa. Many clues to the past lie at the bottom of the lake. These clues are what researchers from NTNU in Gjøvik and Trondheim are going to unveil.

'During WWII a whole Norwegian military convoy was lost in the lake. Managing director at Mjøsmuseet, Arne Julsrud Berg, tells us that during the German invasion of Norway a Norwegian military convoy was on its way to resupply Norwegian forces further north. As the bridge had been blown up earlier in the campaign, the Norwegians decided to try crossing the frozen fjord by driving on the ice.

'Even more exciting is perhaps the possibility to discover far older wrecks. We know that Mjøsa was teeming with activity during the Viking age and medieval period. It is not farfetched to suspect that one or several of these ships lies hidden beneath the waves. The researchers have some clues to guide them, however. In the early 80s, when the Mjøs-bridge was being built, a diver reported that he had seen a large rowboat approximately 20 meters long. Few rowboats of that size has been built in Norway since the medieval period.'


 
Apparently some good can come from ivory.

The Diamond Shipwreck


'On Friday March 7, 1533, the Bom Jesus set sail from Lisbon bound for India. Sailing towards the Cape of Good Hope, she came to grief on the coast of Namibia. None of the 300 souls on board survived.

'The final resting place of the Portuguese ‘nau’ remained unknown until April 2008, when a geologist found an engraved copper ingot of the type used in the 16th century spice trade. Archaeologists were alerted and a dig commenced; the grave of the missing vessel had finally been discovered.

'The Bom Jesus was one of only two intact 16th century sub-Saharan wrecks to be excavated. All others had been plundered. She was carrying hundreds of artefacts, quantities of gold and, strangely for a Portuguese vessel during the ‘golden age’, coins bearing the likenesses of Spain’s Ferdinand and Isabella.

'A hundred elephant tusks had been stored under tonnes of copper and lead. The metals were a godsend to the archaeologists; they isolated and protected the ivory from the ravages of the sea. DNA samples, extracted from the tusks, proved to be the nautical equivalent of an aircraft’s black box. They presented a tantalising snapshot of African elephant populations 500 years ago.

'The cause of the vessel’s demise, however, remains a mystery, but the Atlantic seaboard of Namibia is notorious for shipwrecks, both ancient and modern.

'A stretch of it is known as the Skeleton Coast; wrecks, commandeered by cormorants, are strewn along its 400km length. Some of the hulks are so spectacular they should have preservation orders.'


 
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Previously classified documents on the loss of the USS Thresher released

Wish they'd release more details about Scorpion and K-129
 
So apparently some good can come from ivory.

The Diamond Shipwreck


'On Friday March 7, 1533, the Bom Jesus set sail from Lisbon bound for India. Sailing towards the Cape of Good Hope, she came to grief on the coast of Namibia. None of the 300 souls on board survived.

'The final resting place of the Portuguese ‘nau’ remained unknown until April 2008, when a geologist found an engraved copper ingot of the type used in the 16th century spice trade. Archaeologists were alerted and a dig commenced; the grave of the missing vessel had finally been discovered.

'The Bom Jesus was one of only two intact 16th century sub-Saharan wrecks to be excavated. All others had been plundered. She was carrying hundreds of artefacts, quantities of gold and, strangely for a Portuguese vessel during the ‘golden age’, coins bearing the likenesses of Spain’s Ferdinand and Isabella.

'A hundred elephant tusks had been stored under tonnes of copper and lead. The metals were a godsend to the archaeologists; they isolated and protected the ivory from the ravages of the sea. DNA samples, extracted from the tusks, proved to be the nautical equivalent of an aircraft’s black box. They presented a tantalising snapshot of African elephant populations 500 years ago.

'The cause of the vessel’s demise, however, remains a mystery, but the Atlantic seaboard of Namibia is notorious for shipwrecks, both ancient and modern.

'A stretch of it is known as the Skeleton Coast; wrecks, commandeered by cormorants, are strewn along its 400km length. Some of the hulks are so spectacular they should have preservation orders.'


When they excavated this vessel, was in the Sand dunes or out at sea, wasn’t to clear which?
 

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