The oldest known shipwreck in the Indian Ocean has been sitting on the seafloor off the southern coast of Sri Lanka for some 2,000 years. In just a couple of weeks, scuba-diving archaeologists will embark on a months-long excavation at the site, looking for clues about trade between Rome and Asia during antiquity.
The wreck lies 110 feet (33 meters) below the ocean’s surface, just off the fishing village of Godavaya, where German archaeologists in the 1990s found a harbor that was an important port along the maritime Silk Road during the second century A.D.
The sunken ship, discovered only a decade ago, doesn’t look like your stereotypical skeletal hull. Instead, what archaeologists are dealing with is a concreted mound of corroded metal bars and a scattering of other ancient cargo, including glass ingots and pottery, that have tumbled around on the seafloor for hundreds of years amid strong currents and perhaps even the occasional tsunami. Read more.
More cannon have been found on an Elizabethan wreck that sank off Alderney in the 16th Century.
The Alderney Maritime Trust and staff from Bournemouth University dived the site in October, the first time work had been carried out since 2008.
During the dive three cannon and “substantial ship timbers” were found and photographed.
Mike Harrison, coordinator trustee, said more work on the site was going to go ahead next summer.
He said: “Things move very slowly with marine archaeology, the work we’ve done in the last few years… has been conserving objects.”
The unnamed ship sunk in November 1592 and was discovered by local fishermen Bertie Costeril and Fred Shaw in 1977. Read more.
BEAUFORT, N.C. — The final week of the expedition at the wreck of Blackbeard’s flagship,Queen Anne’s Revenge (QAR), is pulling out the big guns. Literally. Five cannons, four weighing 2,000 pounds and one nearly 3,000 pounds, will be lifted from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean Monday, Oct. 28, weather permitting. All the cast iron cannons fired six pound cannon balls, and will bring to 20 the cannons raised from the site. This will be the biggest ‘catch’ of cannons recovered at one time.
"We think the largest of the four cannons may be of Swedish origin since the only other recovered gun this size was made in Sweden," Project Director Billy Ray Morris observes. Read more.
They are working hard at an underwater grave of an 18th century shipwreck. It is a delicate operation, requiring patient and methodical movement by a team of divers to extract a precious assembly of historic artifacts. It is colloquially named “The Pile”, a concretion of objects that consists of a large anchor lying over seven cannon, other artifacts, and a natural encrustation that has built up over nearly 300 years. This is the wreckage site of the famous pirate Blackbeard’s flagship Queen Anne’s Revenge (QAR), just off the coast near Beaufort, North Carolina.
"The immense amount of iron concentrated in this area has provided a host of nutrients for sea life, which in turn has supplemented the amount of encrustation surrounding the artifacts, essentially turning eight separate iron objects into one giant mass," reports Kimberly Kenyon, Conservator with the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resource’s Queen Anne’s Revenge (QAR) Project. Read more.
BOSTON - Fog was swallowing his ship’s bow, the winds were picking up and undersea explorer Barry Clifford figured he needed to leave within an hour to beat the weather back to port.
It was time enough, he decided, for a final dive of the season over the wreck of the treasure-laden pirate ship, Whydah, off Cape Cod.
That Sept. 1 dive at a spot Mr. Clifford had never explored before uncovered proof that a staggering amount of undiscovered riches - as many as 400,000 coins - might be found there.
Instead of packing up for the year, Mr. Clifford is planning another trip to the Whydah, the only authenticated pirate ship wreck in U.S. waters. Read more.
Whatever its name, legacy or place in history, the 19th century schooner has a final resting spot – on the bottom of Lake Erie about 20 miles off the Dunkirk shoreline.
A nine-year legal battle over who owns the shipwreck – some believe it’s the War of 1812 battleship Caledonia – and whether it should be raised and restored or treated as a burial site and left right where it is appears to be over.
And the winners are the historic preservationists who argued that the two-masted ship belongs to the state and is best left as an archaeological site in the lake. Read more.
A 19th-century steamer that sank beneath the waves after a violent crash off the New Jersey coast has now been found.
The Robert J. Walker, a pre-Civil-War-era ship that surveyed the Gulf Coast, wrecked in 1860 after being struck by a commercial ship.
Divers discovered the shipwreck site in the 1970s, but the ship’s identity has been shrouded in mystery until now. Scientists used the wreck’s location and unique features to make the positive identification.
"Before this identification was made, the wreck was just an anonymous symbol on navigation charts," Rear Adm. Gerd Glang, director of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Coast Survey, said in a statement. "Now, we can truly honor the 20 members of the crew and their final resting place. It will mark a profound sacrifice by the men who served during a remarkable time in our history." Read more.
Explorers who removed a wooden slab from Lake Michigan this summer are taking an unusual step to determine whether it could have come from the Griffin, a long-lost vessel from the 17th century.
The nearly 20-foot-long timber will undergo a CT scan Saturday at Otsego Memorial Hospital in Gaylord.
The scan will produce images of the beam’s interior, including tree rings. An expert with Cornell University in New York hopes to analyze the ring patterns and estimate the timber’s age and when it was cut down.
The Griffin was commanded by French explorer La Salle and disappeared in 1679.
Expedition leader Steve Libert says if the wooden beam dates from that period, it probably came from the Griffin. State officials say they’re not convinced it’s from a ship. (source)