In July 2010, amid the gargantuan rebuilding effort at the site of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, construction workers halted the backhoes when they uncovered something unexpected just south of where the Twin Towers once stood.
At 22 feet (6.7 meters) below today’s street level, in a pit that would become an underground security and parking complex, excavators found the mangled skeleton of a long-forgotten wooden ship.
Now, a new report finds that tree rings in those waterlogged ribs show the vessel was likely built in 1773, or soon after, in a small shipyard near Philadelphia. What’s more, the ship was perhaps made from the same kind of white oak trees used to build parts of Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed, according to the study published this month in the journal Tree-Ring Research. Read more.
The excavation of an underwater wreck could be “similar in scope” to the Mary Rose warship, archaeologists have said.
Divers have recovered a series of objects from the ship called The London, which exploded off the coast of Southend in 1665.
The haul so far includes pewter spoons, coins and navigational dividers.
A project spokesman said: “The artefacts we can recover may be similar in scope to those… from the Mary Rose, but 120 years later in date.”
The Mary Rose saw 34 years of service before it sank while leading an attack on a French invasion fleet in 1545. Around 19,000 artefacts were found on board after it was raised from the seabed of the Solent in 1982. Read more.
Polish archaeologists have recovered one of the world’s oldest intact bottles of mineral water from a shipwreck lying on the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
Still corked, the perfectly preserved stoneware bottle was produced between 1806 and 1830 by Selters, one of the oldest mineral waters in Europe.
The 12-inch bottle was found during archaeological work on a shipwreck lying at a depth of about 40 feet in the Gdańsk Bay not far from the Polish coast.
Little is known about the wreck. Archaeologists called it F-33-31 or “Głazik,” meaning boulders in Polish. Indeed, its cargo of large stones suggests the vessel was probably used for transporting construction materials along the Baltic coast. Read more.
On the second day of a brutal naval battle in 1564, a cursed warship went up in a ball of flames, consigning 800 to 900 Swedish and German sailors and a fortune in gold and silver coins to the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Legend has it that a specter rose from the inferno to guard the pride of the Swedish navy—named the Mars for the Roman god of war—against ever being discovered.
Treasure hunters, archaeologists, and history aficionados have sought the Mars over the years. But they were unsuccessful until the late spring of 2011, when a group of divers located one of maritime archaeology’s greatest finds in 246 feet (75 meters) of water.
"It’s a missing link," said Johan Rönnby, a professor of maritime archaeology at Södertörn University in Sweden, who is studying the 197-foot-long (60 meter) wreck. Naval historians know a lot about 17th-century ships, but very little about warships from the 16th century, he said. Read more.
A debris field at the bottom of Lake Michigan may be the remains of the long-lost Griffin, a vessel commanded by a 17th-century French explorer, said a shipwreck hunter who has sought the wreckage for decades.
Steve Libert told The Associated Press that his crew found the debris this month about 120 feet (36 meters) from the spot where they removed a wooden slab a year ago that was protruding from the lake bottom. Libert believes that timber was the bowsprit of Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle’s ship, although scientists who joined the 2013 expedition say the slab more likely was an abandoned fishing net stake.
"This is definitely the Griffin—I’m 99.9 percent sure it is," Libert said. "This is the real deal." Read more.
The U.S. Navy, in partnership with the Indonesian Navy, is planning to dive later this month to the sunken USS Houston, a World War II-era shipwreck, according to Navy officials.
The mission’s purpose is to assess the vessel’s condition and allow salvage and rescue divers to train at a real shipwreck site. U.S. and Indonesian Navy divers will share best practices and techniques during the training exercises on board the rescue and salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS-50).
The outings are part of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2014, annual military training exercises conducted by the U.S. Navy and allied nations in Southeast Asia that aim to address shared maritime security concerns and strengthen relationships and operations among navies, officials said. Read more.
Marine archeologists with the American Museum of Natural History are planning to explore the ancient Greek Antikythera wreck in the Agean Sea, using an exosuit developed by Nuytco Research—originally for use in helping workers in New York’s water treatment facilities. The iron-man looking exosuit allows a diver to descend to 1000 feet for hours at a time without need for decompressing upon returning to the surface.
The Antikythera was discovered by divers in 1900—attempts to explore the wreck resulted in recovery of many artifacts, mostly famously, one that is known as the Antikythera mechanism—now referred to as the world’s oldest computer. But it also led to injury and death due to the extreme depth (120 meters). Subsequent attempts more recently have led to more discoveries, but time constraints have prevented a thorough study of the wreck. Read more.
Archaeologists will embark on an emergency excavation of one of Britain’s most important shipwrecks on Sunday after discovering it is deteriorating at alarming speed because of the warmer waters caused by climate change.
The once-mighty 17th-century vessel, named the London, has lain in the muddy silt of the Thames estuary off the Essex coast near Southend-on-Sea for 350 years.
Built in 1656, she was in a convoy that transported Charles II from the Netherlands to restore him to his throne after Oliver Cromwell’s death in 1658. One of the most illustrious ships of her day, her remains are now a time capsule of the 17th century. Read more.